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With ArcGIS Collector it is now relatively easy to go out and capture the data you need using your iPhone, iPad or Android device. With the help of the GPS on the device, Collector can help you quickly find a feature near you or help you navigate to it. You can then record new or updated information and take a photograph. You can also capture the location of new features. The new data and photographs are all automatically updated to your on line account so it can be easily accessed by you or other permitted users at any time. This means you can monitor the progress of data collection by a field worker.

To get things up and running you will need a working knowledge of ArcGIS desktop, particularly Geodatabases and domains. However the process of publishing data to the cloud (ArcGIS On Line) and accessing it from your mobile device is straight forward.

This article takes you through the steps of setting up a Collector map that can be used by an asset inspector to capture road defects.

You will need access to certain services and software to do this and fortunately free trials are available. This means you can work through the following steps and give ArcGIS collector a test run. You will also need an appropriate tablet or smartphone running iOS or Android.

Getting the software and services

ArcGIS desktop

You will need a standard or advanced licence of ArcGIS desktop. If you do not have this then you can download a free 60 day trial. To get the free trial you will need an ESRI Global account. You can get an account for free at the 60 day trial download site. Be warned that you will need to download a very large installation file.

Collector for ArcGIS

This is free software and is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

ArcGIS Online Subscription

ArcGIS for Desktop now includes an ArcGIS Online Subscription. This subscription includes one named user (one username and password) and 100 service credits which will be enough to get you started. Your ArcGIS desktop licence will need to be under maintenance and the subscription is renewed when you renew your maintenance.

You can also get a free 30 day trial.

Use ArcGIS to create a defects feature class

This section requires ArcGIS Desktop standard. If you don’t have a licenced copy up and running on your computer then you will to download, install and licence it. This is the link you need .

In this section you will go through the steps required to create a map layer that can be used by ArcGIS collector. To do this you will create the feature class structure that will be used to store the defect points and the descriptive data for these defects. Domains are created and assigned to the data fields so that they can be used as pick lists in collector.

Start ArcCatalog and navigate to a suitable folder.

Inside the folder create a File Geodatabase called Defects.

Open the properties for the Defects Geodatabase and click the Domains tab.

Create a domain for the road defect type with the following details

  • Name: RoadDefectType
  • Description: Types of road defects
  • Field Type: Text
  • Domain Type: Coded Values
  • Assign the following Code and Description
    Code Description
    BLS Bleeding Seal
    COR Corrugations
    CRA Cracking
    DEL Delamination
    EDG Edge Break
    DIG Failure / Digout
    POT Pothole
    RUT Rutting / Depression
    SHV Shoving
    SPA Spalling

Click Apply

The domain should appear as follows

Create a domain for the inspector name with the following details

  • Name: Inspectors
  • Description: Names of authorised Inspectors
  • Field Type: Text
  • Domain Type: Coded Values
  • Assign the following Code and Description
Code Description
RM Rupert Murdoch
NK Nicole Kidman
PH Paul Hogan
RC Russell Crowe
Click Apply

The domain should appear as follows

Click OK to close the Database Properties window.

Right click on the Defects geodatabase in ArcCatalog and select New>Feature Class

In the New Feature Class window enter Road_Defects for the name and select Point Features as the feature type and then click Next

In the next window navigate to and select Project Coordinate Systems>World>WGS 1984 Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere) and then click Next.

Accept the default tolerance and click Next.

Accept the default configuration key word and then click Next.

In the next window add the following fields:

Field Name Data Type Domain Length
Inspector Text Inspectors 5
DefectType Text RoadDefectType 5
InspectDate Date
Comment Text 50

The New Feature Class window should look like the following

Click Finish to create the feature class. Road_Defects will appear in the catalog tree in ArcCatalog.

Right click on Road_Defects and choose Manage>Create Attachments from the menu that appears. Your new feature class will now accept and store photographs captured in the field.

Publish the Road Defect service from ArcMap

At this point you will need an ArcGIS Online subscription so if you don’t have one then now is a good time to sign up for a free trial.

You can get free trial at this address: .

You will need a username and password to continue through the next steps.

Start ArcMap with a new blank map.

Choose “Sign In …” from the file menu. The ArcGIS “Sign In” window appears.

Enter your user name and password and click the “Sign In” button. If you signed in successfully then the “Sign in” option on the file menu will change to a “Sign Out” option.

Add the new Road_Defects feature class to the map. So far there is no data in the feature class so there will not be much to see.

Set an appropriate symbol for road defect points.

Choose “Share As” from the File menu and then choose “Share As” from the sub menu that appears.

Choose the “Publish as a Service” option and then click Next.

Choose “My Hosted Service” from the connection option. (This option will include you particular service name).

Enter “Road_Defects” as the service name and then click Continue. The Service Editor window will appear.

Click “Capabilities” in the list on the left

Check “Feature Access”

Uncheck “Tiled Mapping”

Click “Feature Access” in the list on the left

Check the “Create”, “Delete”, “Sync” and “Update” options.

Click the “Analyze” button at the top of the Service Editor window. This will dock a “Prepare” window at the bottom of the ArcMap window. You will most likely see 3 errors that need to be resolved and a warning as shown.

Double Click on the first error in the list. A text entry box will appear for the Tags (under Item Description) in the Service Editor window.

Enter an appropriate tag such as “Defect”.

Double click on the next item in the list and resolve that error in a similar way (ie enter a summary for the service).

Do this for each error. If you chose an inappropriate symbol then change this as well.

Click Analyze once more to confirm that the errors are resolved.

Click the Publish button and the service is created on ArcGIS Online.

Exit ArcMap.

Create a Map on ArcGIS Online

You will now logon to ArcGIS online and create a new map based on the service you just created.

Visit and sign in using you user name and password.

Click Map at the top of the page and you are taken to the map authoring page.

Click the “Add” drop down and select “Search for Layers”. You should see your “Road Defects” layer/service listed.

Click the “Add” button for the Road_Defects layer.

Click the “Done Adding Layers” button. You will see “Road Defects” listed in the Contents.

If you want to change the base map from the current Topographic map then you can do so by clicking the Basemap button.

Click Save and then Save again in the drop down menu that appears. The save popup window appears.

Set the title to Road Defects.

Set appropriate tags and Summary.

Click “Save Map”

Click Share and the Share popup window appears.

Check the box adjacent to your organisation name.

Click Done.

The “Update Sharing” popup window will appear because the layer in the map has not been shared.

Click the “Update Sharing” button. The layer is shared to your organisation.

That’s it you are now ready to use Collector for ArcGIS to collect data.

Using ArcGIS Collector to capture Road Defects

ArcGIS Collector is simple to use and capable. Using your iOS or Android smart phone or Tablet, download and install Collector for ArcGIS from the Apple App Store or Google Play. The follow in g example uses iOS on an iPhone.

Start Collector

Enter the URL for you organisation (e.g.

Click continue

Enter your user name and password (ArcGIS Online) and click “Sign In”. You should then see your Road Defects map, displayed as an optionthat you can select.

Click on the Road Defects map option to select it. Collector then displays your base map and zooms to your current location. Note that your current location is displayed with a dot and a larger circle.

Pan and zoom around as required.

Tap and hold your finger on the map. The location details are displayed (address and coordinates) together with the standard iOS “share” button.

Click the share button.

Tap “Collect here” from the menu that appears.

Tap “Road Defects” and the Road Defects attribute input form appears.

Tap Inspector and the pick list (the domain values you entered earlier) appears.

Tap a name of an inspector and then click Done.

Repeat for Defect Type.

Enter an Inspection Date and Comment.

Tap the camera button and follow the steps to take a photo or video.

Tap the Submit button to save your data to ArcGIS Online.

That’s it! You have now captured your first location and assigned attributes using collector. Now is a good time to play around with Collector and familiarise yourself with it. Add some more locations, you can use the + button to add a defect at your current location. You can edit data that you have already entered, move its location, copy a defect and attributes and get directions to an existing defect.

Review your data

You can now head back to your desktop computer and review the captured data in ArcMap.

Start ArcMap with a new empty map.

Select “ArcGIS Online” from the file menu. The ArcGIS Online window will appear.

Click the “Sign In” button and sign in to ArcGIS Online.

Click “My Maps and Data” in the ArcGIS Online window.

Click the Open button on the “Road Defects” map.

The map is opened and zoomed to an arbitrary location.

Right click on the Road_Defects layer in the table of contents and choose “zoom to layer:” from the menu that appears.

If necessary, zoom in to your new locations so that you can seem them clearly.

Use the identify tool to examine the attributes of these new defects and check that it has the same values that you added in the field. The identify window will also have an attachments button (if you captured a photo for the identified defect). This will let you view the photographs.

Close ArcMap when you have finished.

You are now at the end of this article and hopefully you can now appreciate how easy it is to set up ArcGIS collector to capture your own data to use in ArcMap. You have only scratched the surface of the capabilities of Collector and ArcGIS Online coupled with ArcMap. There is much more that you can quickly and easily achieve.