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Introducing ArcGIS Field Maps

Esri has been busy creating multiple ArcGIS applications that can be used in the field. Many companies have been adopting these field apps, however, they are finding that deploying these apps to complete a workflow can be overwhelming as it requires downloading each app, connecting, re-linking and in some cases, downloading copies of data multiple times. As a solution, ArcGIS Field Maps was created. This new app consolidates the functionality of ArcGIS Collector, ArcGIS Explorer, ArcGIS Tracker, ArcGIS Navigator and ArcGIS Workforce all in one app. In this article, I will be describing the web app component. Stay tuned for the mobile section coming soon.

ArcGIS Field Maps is a new application that was released on November 2, 2020. It comprises of a mobile app and a web app. ArcGIS Fields Maps is a revolutionary field app for iOS and Android devices that lets you explore the maps you create with ArcGIS Online, collect and update your authoritative data and record your movements, all in a single geolocated application. Now you have a single app solution for map exploration, high precision data collection, location tracking, job management and navigation.

As this is a new app, it will be released in phases. Phase 2 that started on December 8 saw the web app come out of Beta. The recently released ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app component currently includes the capabilities of:

In the last phase (date to be determined), the mobile app will also include functionality from Navigator and Workforce. Here are several benefits of ArcGIS Field Maps:  

  1. Single app to deploy + learn 
  2. Sign-in once 
  3. Eliminate duplication of offline content 
  4. Smaller aggregate app footprint/download 
  5. Consistency across apps 

Bonus: Just think of all the space this will free up on your phone! 

Web App 

Let’s discuss the web app as it will be a starting point to creating your web maps to use in the mobile app. I am super excited to discuss the web app because I think it’s very well designed  to  make it easy for you to  prepare your web maps for the field.   

You can access the web app through the App Launcher gallery in ArcGIS Online:

In ArcGIS Field Maps, you will be able to work with different web maps. You can also hide certain web maps if you do not want them listed in your mobile app.   

In this example, we will work with my cottage web map. Clicking on the web map will open the Overview tab: 

We already have lots of information provided here. We know that the offline status is not enabled and that this item is not shared. What is great about ArcGIS Field Maps is if I change this directly in the web app, I do not have to open ArcGIS Online to make these changes.   

If I click on the Sharing tab, I can easily share my web map and data with a group:  


I added my web map to my Field Maps group so that my colleagues out in the field can access it. What I also like is that the app will ask me to update sharing for my hosted feature layers that are included in my web map.  

Now that we’ve updated the sharing, let’s look at the Offline tab to see why I cannot enable these parameters for my web map. 

The Offline tab alerts me that one of my editable layers needs to updated for offline mode.

By expanding Editable layers, I see the following:

My cottages hosted feature layer does not have sync enabled which is preventing me from taking this web map offline. Again, what I love about ArcGIS Field Maps is that I can activate the sync directly in the web app. I do not have to open ArcGIS Online and browse to the hosted feature layer’s item details; I can do it directly by clicking on Enable sync as shown above.

From the image above you can see that you can create map areas. This is where you can package your data for specific areas of a web map to make it easier and faster to download maps for offline use in the mobile app.

You can adjust how attachments and features are delivered when data is synchronized through “Features and attachment delivery”.

You can also add a tile package (vtpk, tpk or tpkx) directly to the web app which will then be available to download as an offline area.

Content Tab

The fun stuff happens in the Content tab. This is where you can configure your smart forms catering your pop-ups to make data collection more intuitive for your field worker. Here is what the Content table looks like:

If I click on the cottages layer, it brings up the Templates and Form tabs:

By clicking the Templates tab, I can start formatting the properties of our data. I can change the display name to something that better describes the data – like changing it from “New Features” to “Cottage” and I can also add a description. Under default value, I can set defaults for certain fields. Again, as you would have noticed, I do not have to go through ArcGIS Online and the hosted feature layers’ item details to make changes. I can easily make these changes in the web app.

My template now includes default values and a new description. Default values make data collection easier and improve data integrity.

The Form tab is where you can customize your forms for data collection in the field. If you have a configured pop-up saved to the layer, you can click convert pop-up to bring in the customization that you have already completed.

You can start by creating groups. Groups help to put together fields that logically work together. In this example, I created a group for water access information:

Once my group is created, I add all the dock and boat field information into the group. Now, my questions are sequenced logically making my form look more organized. However, not all cottages have water access. If a cottage is not found on the water, do I really want my field workers to have to respond to or even look at these questions? This is where my smart form comes in. I have a cottage location question with a domain drop down. One of the domain values is “Lake Front”. If this is selected, I would want my group of water access questions to be displayed. Therefore, we need to set conditional visibility on that group of questions. This is something I can accomplish with Arcade and by clicking on Add expression. My expression is very simple:

It simply says that when my field worker chooses “Lake Front” for the cottage location question, the water information group questions will appear. If another selection is made, the questions will remain hidden.   

I would like the main takeaway of this blog to be how valuable consolidating workflows into one easy-to-use application will be as well as how excited I am for clients to start implementing ArcGIS Fields Maps. I think it’s a great app. (second favourite, after my first love - ArcGIS Survey123). 

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here

About the Author

Céline Doré is a Senior Support Consultant for Esri Canada’s Desktop Support team. She has over 15 years of experience working with ArcGIS for Desktop and extensions, ArcGIS Online and apps. She enjoys working with clients to help them answer their questions. Céline has a bachelor’s degree in geography from Lakehead University and a GIS Application Specialist diploma from Fleming College. When not in the office, you can find her reading, working on a garden or baking.

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