ArcGIS Field Maps

What's new in ArcGIS Field Maps (February 2023)

ArcGIS Field Maps is a powerful mobile app solution that streamlines field workflows for exploring maps, collecting and updating data, and sharing where mobile workers are and where they have gone, all within a single location-aware mobile app. 

The February 2023 update includes several new capabilities including:

Offline workflows

When preparing maps for offline use, map authors can choose to use the basemap defined by the web map or a tile package as the offline basemap. Using a tile package allows you to provision devices with larger and more detailed basemaps that can be reused across multiple maps.

With this update, map authors can now browse for and reference a tile package from their organization to be used as the offline basemap. Once referenced, downloading a map area will download the tile package if it isn’t already on the device. The downloaded tile package can be used across maps and map areas without having to be re-downloaded.

Map author experience

Using the Create Map Tile Package Tool  or Create Vector Tile Package Tool  within ArcGIS Pro, you can create a new tile package and then upload it to your organization using the Share Package tool. If you already have a downloaded .tpk or .vtpk file, you can simply add it as a new item to your organization.

Once the tile package is added to your organization, open the Field Maps Designer web app. On the Offline page, expand the “Basemap and tile package” section to locate the new option to browse and select an existing tile package within your organization. The tile package you select will be used as the offline basemap in Field Maps.

This new authoring experience for tile packages is available in ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise 11.1+.

Browse for a tile package item in your organization.
Browse and select a tile package item in your organization

Mobile worker experience

Using Field Maps on your iOS or Android device, the referenced tile package will immediately download to your device if it does not already exist. Once present on the device, it can be re-used with multiple maps and offline map areas.

Organizations with a distributed workforce, that may operate in a corridor, that perhaps cannot connect devices to manually provision tile packages, will benefit from this enhancement the most.

Referenced basemap item will download automatically
Referenced basemap item will download automatically

Form enhancements

There were several areas of focus for improving the way you work with forms in this release:

All form enhancements are available in ArcGIS Online and will be available in ArcGIS Enterprise 11.2+.

Saving and reading forms from a layer

Field Maps introduced new smart form capabilities into the ArcGIS system to improve the way mobile workers and web editors capture non-spatial data into web feature layers and tables. Until now, all of the form logic has been stored within the map. You now have more flexibility on where form information is stored.

When saving the form, you can save form information directly to the layer item itself.  If planning to use the same layer across multiple maps or apps, saving form information to the layer will provide a consistent form editing experience.

Save forms to a layer using Save to layer
Save forms to a layer using Save to layer

Dynamic behavior

Arcade expressions power the form capabilities in ArcGIS Field Maps. They’re used for calculating form values, adding conditional visibility, and now they can be used to determine if/when form inputs are required or edited.

The expression builder, used to author an Arcade expression for conditional visibility, can now be used to set when a form element is required and when it can be editable in the form.

Apply logic to determine when form elements are required and/or editable.
Apply logic to determine when form elements are required and/or editable

Form elements with dynamic behavior can be easily located on the form canvas as shown above. Also, using the expressions dialog, you can select an existing expression and share it with another form element.

New Arcade editor

When writing arcade expressions we’re upgrading to the new Arcade editor that was added into the November release of ArcGIS Online. With the new Arcade editor, you have much more space to write your expressions, and you can take advantage of profile variables, grouping of functions, and Intellisense!

Location sharing improvements

ArcGIS Field Maps includes the ability to record and share your location. This capability works in the background, when disconnected, and can be used independent of a map to improve operational awareness for a variety of different workflows.

With the February update, we’ve added 2 new configuration settings:

1. Configure the upload frequency of last known locations for non-managed devices using a new app link parameter named locationSharingUploadLKLFrequency. Organizations that need to support multi-agency response efforts, contractors, or simply do not utilize an MDM for application deployment can take advantage of this new app link setting. Generating a QR code using the app link scheme, mobile workers can use their camera to quickly configure the upload frequency from the default of 60 seconds to as frequent as 5 seconds.

2. Provide real-time operational awareness without recording or storing location history. Configurable via an app link and MDM configuration keyword named locationSharingLKLOnly, organizations can use location sharing to only store and record last known locations and not persist location history. Generating a QR code using the app link scheme, mobile workers can use their camera to quickly configure Field Maps to only record and share their last known location and not their location history.

Smart card reader support

iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.1 devices now support connected smart card readers. That means organizations using PKI authentication with PIV smart cards and CCID-compliant readers can now authenticate into their ArcGIS Enterprise portal and use Field Maps.

This capability is available in ArcGIS Online and all supported versions of ArcGIS Enterprise.

Field Maps Designer

With this update, you’ll find the Field Maps web app has a new name, Field Maps Designer. As we continue adding new capabilities to ArcGIS Field Maps, it’s important that you design great experiences for your mobile workforce. Use Field Maps Designer to author forms, create location alerts, manage offline map areas, and configure data capture capabilities.

The rename to Field Maps Designer is available in ArcGIS Online and will be available in ArcGIS Enterprise 11.2+.

Field Maps Designer
Field Maps Designer

What’s Next

We’re busy at work on the June 2023 release of ArcGIS Field Maps. The June update will include support for Windows 11 devices via the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA). It’s available for testing in our Early Adopter Program right now!

We’ll have modest updates to existing capabilities in June as well. Our goal is to provide a stable update with few changes as you are busy with Field Maps deployed during the field season.

We look forward to your ideas and questions. Please let us know how we are doing!


About the author

Jeff Shaner is a Senior Product Lead with the software products team at Esri. With 27 years experience, Jeff is focused on delivering apps that enable users to work more productively, safely, and effectively. In his spare time, you are likely to find Jeff on the golf course or hockey rink. 

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