(by Bern Szukalski & Kathryn Keranen)
ArcGIS QuickCapture is a field data collection app that allows you to capture data simply and quickly. It was designed to support field teams that need to collect data rapidly: from a moving vehicle, helicopter, bicycle, or ATV. But its simple, form-based interface makes it an excellent choice for any data collection activity.
You can capture both the location and attributes of assets or incidents as you travel. The project author crafts the form, and determines the arrangement of buttons, how they appear, and the information they collect. The app allows you to capture both photos and sensor information from a device.
The essential steps to use QuickCapture are:
- Create a feature layer to store what is captured.
- Configure the feature layer for the desired attributes.
- Create a new QuickCapture project.
- Use QuickCapture designer to change the look and feel.
- Open the project in the QuickCapture app.
- View the results.
A QuickCapture example
For this example, a simple QuickCapture form will be created to enable students to capture (photograph and locate) things they see around a school campus. The things to capture are:
- big trees
- small trees
Create a feature layer
To capture the desired QuickCapture data, a feature layer is used. A feature layer can be created in many ways; one way is to use ArcGIS Pro, but for this simple example we can do everything using ArcGIS Online.
Feature layers can be created from a template, from an existing layer, from a URL pointing to an existing service, or from scratch. For this example, the feature layer will be created from scratch.
To create the feature, layer follow these steps.
Step 1 – If you have not done so already, sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account. You must have sufficient privileges to create hosted feature layers.
Step 2 – In the Content tab, click Create, then choose Feature Layer.
Step 3 – In the From Template tab, choose Build a layer, then select Points.
Step 4 – Click Create.
Step 5 – Edit the name of the feature layer. Click Next when finished.
Step 6 – Set the extent for the feature layer, then click Next.
Step 7 – Add a title, tags, and summary for the new hosted feature layer item. Click Done when finished.
Tip – It’s a best practice to complete the item pages after the hosted feature layer has been created. Consider adding a better thumbnail, and a detailed description. You can also set Delete Protection in the Settings tab. See Protect your ArcGIS Online items for more information.
Configure the feature layer
In the steps that follow, the attribute fields will be configured to capture the desired information. In this example, a pre-determined list of values is needed to capture the features noted at the beginning of this article: trees, shrubs, rocks, signs, etc.
Step 1 – Open the Data tab for the feature layer item, and click Fields.
Step 2 – Click Add
Step 3 – Add the field.
Add a field name and display name. Ensure that the type is String. The length can be shortened to 25 characters. Disable Null values. Then Click Add New Field.
Step 4 – Select the newly added field by clicking the field name.
Step 5 – Create the list of attribute values. In the upper right, click Create List.
Step 6 – Enter Label (the displayed value) and Code (the stored value) pairs for the attributes.
The Code can be different than the Label, but for this example its simpler to keep both the same. Click add, or enter a carriage return, to add more pairs to the list.
When completed the list should like this:
Click Save when finished.
Step 7 – Symbolize the values.
Rather than display all the values as one color, they can be displayed uniquely. Open the Visualization tab.
Step 8 – Click the Change Style button to edit the layer style
Step 9 – From the dropdown, select the attribute you want to symbolize on, in this case Capture.
Step 10 – Change the symbols by clicking Options
Step 11 – Edit the symbols as desired.
When finished, click OK, then click Done.
Step 12 – Click Save Layer to save all of the changes you have made.
Create the QuickCapture project
Step 1 – If you have not already done so, sign in to your ArcGIS account. Open QuickCapture designer from the App Launcher, which is found next to the avatar button.
Note: The apps shown may differ from your apps.
Step 2 – Click New Project.
Step 3 – Choose the feature layer created in the sections above. In this example the layer is titled Campus Capture.
Then click Next.
Step 4 – Confirm the project information, make any desired edits, then click Create.
Design with QuickCapture designer
QuickCapture designer is used to modify the look and feel of the app. Designer can be used to change properties for an entire group, or for individual buttons, and is also used for a variety of other settings and options.
Step 1 – Click the group label to apply changes to the entire button group. When selected, the group will be outlined in orange.
Step 2 – In the group properties, set the number of columns to 2.
Next, properties will be set for the buttons.
Step 3 – Press the <shift> key and click to select all of the buttons. Selected buttons will be outined in orange.
Step 4 – With all buttons selected, open the Appearance tab and choose the large button size.
Step 5 – With all buttons selected, open the Data tab and enable photos. Ensure that a photo is required.
The project should look like this:
Step 6 – Save and share the project.
Click Save when finished, then click Share to make the project available to all members of your organization, or to a specific group with members. For this example, share the project to your organization.
Tip: When you click Save a dialog appears from which a QR Code to open the project can be captured. The QR code can also be obtained from the Sharing dialog, which also includes a link to the project. The QR code is handy if you have the device in hand, or the link can be emailed to members to open the project.
Open the project in the QuickCapture app
In this section, the project just designed will be opened and used on a mobile device. The pictured device is an iPhone X.
Step 1 – Install the QuickCapture mobile app from the Apple or Google Play app store onto your device.
Step 2 – Open the QuickCapture mobile app and sign in. Alternatively, you can open the link or QR code (from Step 6 above) to present the sign in page immediately.
Step 3 – If prompted, choose to allow QuickCapture to access your location. This enables the device location to be captured in the feature layer.
Step 4 – Open the project.
Tap Get Projects to view available projects. The project created above will be displayed (along with any others that are available).
Step 5 – Download the Campus Capture project.
Step 6 – Open the project.
After the project has downloaded, click the project icon to open it.
When collecting data, click the appropriate button to capture a feature. The camera will open enabling photo capture. When finished, the location and photo will be stored in the feature layer, along with the date and account name of the QuickCapture user.
View the QuickCapture results
To view the QuickCapture data, find the feature layer item in your contents and click the thumbnail to Open in Map Viewer.
You can also open the QuickCapture designer, hover over the project, and click View Results.
Open the Campus Capture map made using the Campus Capture project detailed in this blog article.
Attachment Viewer is a configurable app template that allows you to view photos and videos stored as feature attachments, making it well-suited for use with maps made using QuickCapture. See Browse attachments using Attachment Viewer for more information.
Open the Attachment Viewer configurable app template with the Campus Capture map.
Summary and considerations
ArcGIS QuickCapture is an easy-to-use field data collection app that enables users to capture data quickly. Its simple, form-based interface makes it an excellent choice for any data collection activity.
ArcGIS QuickCapture offers many more capabilities than covered in this article. You can capture data for multiple feature layers, and capture line and polygon feature types. QuickCapture designer lets you add images to buttons, specify horizontal accuracy, edit the project JSON, and more.
Currently ArcGIS QuickCapture requires a named user to open a project in the mobile app. Support for public QuickCapture projects is planned in early 2020.
For more information see the following:
- QuickCapture overview
- QuickCapture resources
- QuickCapture help
- Campus QuickCapture map
- Campus QuickCapture map in Attachment Viewer
This article was originally published on November 21, 2019, and has been updated.