My organization (a public transit system) will be conducting surveys on our existing infrastructure (bus stops).

My original plan was to send out the surveyors with a tablet with ArcGIS Collector and Survey123 installed, and a separate GPS unit. The surveyors would select the bus stop in Collector which would open and populate three questions in the Survey123 form, like the unique ID, using a url. The GPS unit will override the tablet's GPS capabilities using a bluetooth connection and the BluetoothGPS app.

The bump I have hit is with Collector.

Collector requires a constant online connection or an enterprise database set-up for offline use, neither of which are available. As of right now, the surveyors could complete the surveys without Collector, but it would be nice to have those pre-populated fields to cut down the rate of human error and save time and effort entering information in those fields for every stop. We have over 5,000 stops that need surveying.

What is an alternative to Collector in this workflow or is there a better workflow?

Note: At this time, I do not have the time or skill set to create a custom data collection app for this project.

  • What OS are your tablets running? Apparently Survey123 can use an external GPS to get a location, so you wouldn't need Collector to get the location: geonet.esri.com/thread/…
    – Dan C
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 18:40
  • Android Marshmellow 6.0.1 on a Samsung Ellipsis 8 HD. The issue isn't getting the coordinates, the issue is pre-filling some of Survey123's fields, which can be done using Collector and a URL to open Survey123. But since Collector is not an option, I'd like to find a different method to pre-populate those fields.
    – Tiffany
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 18:50
  • 1
    I just tested Collector for ArcGIS yesterday and was able to download my map for offline use on an iPad 3 and collect fire hydrdant locations. I used it with a Dual GPS receiver. No enterprise DB or constant connection was needed and was able to sync back to ArcGIS online once back in wifi connection.
    – danagerous
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 19:01
  • @danagerous I think you should write that as an answer.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 20:44
  • @danagerous did you use Survey123 or some other form with Collector while offline?
    – Tiffany
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 15:08

3 Answers 3


I tested Collector for ArcGIS recently and was able to download my map for offline use on an iPad 3 (iOS 9.3.x) and collect fire hydrant locations. I used it with a Dual GPS receiver. No enterprise DB or constant connection was needed and was able to sync back to ArcGIS online once the iPad was back on a wifi connection.

Do be careful which basemap you use within ArcGIS Online, as you may not be presented with the Offline option. I initially tried to use OSM as my basemap but was not presented with the offline option with advanced menu options until I chose an ESRI basemap.

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For alternatives, amigoCollect will do these easily (online and offline) and sync back to your Geodatabase using the AmigoCloud for ArcGIS extension. We have some transit agencies doing this right now for bus stops. Disclaimer: I wrote amigoCollect. Happy to help with any questions about it.


Collector does not require a constant connection. To use Collector for Offline use your layers will need to be sync enabled if they are features layers and export tiles enabled if they are cached map services. When you have layers that support offline use you will see a download option on the map card in Collector. Tap the download icon and you take the map data offline and when you are ready to sync the data back you will need the device to be connected back to the internet(wifi or cellular) and then the sync will push up changes and also pull down any changes. You can also connect a bluetooth barcode scanner to the device and use that to autopopulate fields. The doc link in the answer above should help you get up and running.

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