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Optimizing Public Surveys: Quality Control with Layer Views and Dashboards

The implementation of Quality Control on surveys enables people to create public surveys without the worry of incorrect or invalid entries.

Have you ever worried about the accuracy or appropriateness of survey entries submitted by the public through ArcGIS Survey123 or ArcGIS QuickCapture application? For example, your Survey123 is shared with the public for volunteers to collect data. This includes a picture option for capturing images of Invasive Species. Suppose a volunteer decides to take a picture of something irrelevant or incorrect and submits it. This record will now appear on your dashboard publicly until you notice and delete it. Fortunately, with the implementation of layer views, such occurrences can be avoided because you can now edit the survey's contents for all incoming entries.

To achieve this, you will need to create:

  1. Three layer views, with two shared either exclusively with administrators or solely with yourself, and one shared publicly.
  2. One dashboard that can be shared either personally or with administrators, along with two Survey123 forms — the original one and another linked to the administrative layer view.

By using all of these layers, you can create an easy way for administration to quality control survey entries before they are shown to the public or their desired audience. 

Step 1: Add a Review field to your existing Survey123

To start, you will need ArcGIS Survey123 Connect survey and the excel sheet from the survey. For this demonstration, I will be using a simple survey that captures the first name and last name of an entrant, the name of an invasive species and a picture of the invasive species. Additionally, you will need to create an extra hidden question to ensure that you have content for the layer views to filter properly.

  1. In this case, you will use an integer question named “Reviewed” where 1 = not reviewed/administration, 2 = yes/public, and 3 = no/delete.
  2. Now set the default value as 1 (make sure this question is hidden). Then save the document and publish the survey.

Screenshots of the reviewed question to add to your survey with a default of 1

Step 2: Create three-layer views

Once this is published to ArcGIS Online, it will create a hosted feature layer with any survey results that come in. You will now attach this to the three-layer views, where each one will be filtered for a different number in the reviewed field.

  1. One for “Administration/not reviewed”, one for the “public/yes” and one for the “delete/no”.
  2. You can create a layer view by selecting Create View Layer > View Layer on the hosted feature layers details page.
  3. Once opened Select “next”, then select the layer with the review field, select “add filter”, select “add expression”, change the field to the Reviewed field, select “is” for the second value and then type a 1 as the third value.
  4. Now return to the “included layers section” by pressing the back arrow twice and select next. Name the view accordingly and select “create”.
  5. Repeat these steps for each number in the reviewed field changing the filter value accordingly.  

Video directions on how to create layer views with filters from a hosted feature service.

Note: Make sure to also enable editing in the layer settings of the administration view, the original layer and the delete view. Do not enable editing in the public view.

Screenshot of the editing settings that need to be applied.

Step 3: Create a Survey123 off the administration/not reviewed view layer

Next, you are going to create a Survey123 that is attached to our administration view which was filtering for surveys with the review field of 1, in my case I called it “Invasive Species Quality Control Form”.

Video directions on how to create a Suvey123 that is connected to a hosted feature service.

Before this survey is published it will need 1 extra question that will change the answer of the Reviewed field once submitted.

  1. Create a select one question labeling it whatever you like.
    • In my example I chose: “Is this record content okay to share with the public?”, with answers as Yes or No.
  2. Then make sure the Reviewed field question created earlier has a calculation in the calculation column such as this: if(${Review} = “yes”,2,3).
    • Where if the user selects yes in the question, it will change the reviewed field to a 2 for yes or a 3 for no/delete. 
  3. Next, make sure the new question has a field type of null as this is only for calculating/changing the Reviewed field. 
  4. Additionally, make sure to hide any questions that are auto generated or not necessary to quality control.
    • In my example I hid the user’s location, and the reviewed field.
  5. Lastly, make the review question required, save the document, and publish the survey.

Video directions on how to add a question that will change your review field once implemented.

Step 4: Create an Administration Dashboard

Note: before conducting this step make sure to have a couple test surveys/records in the original survey to make sure this works properly.

Now you can create your administration dashboard. For this, create a simple dashboard with a list element, an embedded element, a map element, and a details element. 

  1. First create a map element that points to the map created when publishing the Survey123 connected to your administration view.
    • Note: The feature layer that is on the map is named the same as the connected survey, but is the same feature layer as the administration view.
  2. Then create an embedded element that has this link:
  3. Then make sure the embedded content is “features” as it can only activate properly once connected to the map layer.

Screen shot on what options to have selected in the embedded element in the administration dashboard.

Next, create a details widget connected to the map layer and change the details options to only show the media and attachments. This will show you the picture associated with each record.

Screen shots that show how to implement the detail widget into your administration dashboard.

Now add a list item connected to the administration view survey and have it show the GlobalID of the layer and any other needed Identifying objects.

  • For example, I added the Creation date of each survey.
  • Additionally, change the actions option to filter the details and embedded content, as well as turning on flash, pan, and zoom for the map.

Video directions on how to implement the list element to your Administration dashboard and configure it with the rest of the elements.

Step 5: Quality control records 

Now with your administration dashboard you can select any record from the list element. You will have the ability to edit the record contents from the embedded element. Once the record is edited properly, simply answer the final question as yes, if you want it to go to the public view or as no, if you want to go to the delete view.

In my example, I have a user who submitted a record that is a glossy buckthorn, however, they selected the wrong species.  Simply select the correct species and select yes. This will change the record to the species selected and also change the review field which will push it to the public view or the delete view depending on the answer.

Video directions on how to use your Administration dashboard once created.

Step 6: Deleting all delete view records at once in ArcGIS Online

Lastly, if you have some entries in your delete view that you want to remove, you can easily delete all the records associated with it by using the rest end point of the feature.

  1. First go to the delete views detail page and scroll to the bottom. 
  2. Select the “view” button beside the URL title.
  3. Then select the first link in the layers list.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and select delete features.
  5. Now type 1=1 in the “Where:” section and then select Delete features. (Note: if you have a lot of records to delete, select “true” for the ASync value.)

Video directions on how to delete all records from a feature service using its Rest end point


Everything is done! Now, you have an easy-to-use dashboard that administrators can use to quality control survey entries. You can utilize the public view to share information with any public resource, such as a public dashboard. This provides you with the peace of mind, knowing that each record undergoes an extra set of eyes before being sent to the public. I hope this helps you create amazing surveys.

About the Author

Jordan is an Associate GIS Analyst at Esri Canada. He focuses on using his knowledge to create, analyze and map data with Esri technology in support of organizations and customers. Jordan has a diploma in Geographic Information Systems from Fleming College as well as a bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of New Brunswick. Before coming to Esri Canada, he activated his passion in GIS by pursuing the technology side of forestry. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, baking and learning new things about technology.

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