I'm a computer scientist, and not really familiar with all the terms related to GIS, please forgive me.

I have been given an ArcMap project that consists, what I believe are raster layers, aligned tiff images that represent a park. To that project I have added several shape files (which I've read I'm supposed to put into a geodatabase, but that's another story).

When I export the ArcMap into an ArcPad project using "Get data for ArcPad", I export my shapefiles for background editing (AFX) and export all the tiffs as jpegs. I ensure it's a prebundled CAB for the device, and that I only wish to export the current extent.

Now, when I open that map in ArcPad 10 Desktop (or on a Trimble unit) ArcPad becomes unresponsive and crashes.

The exported project is only a few megabytes in total, nothing outlandish.

What am I doing incorrectly that ArcPad is crashing?


I'm not positive, but I think that your problem may be related to the fact that you're not using the geodatabase structure. With the advent of the Geodatabase, shapefiles have been relegated to being a "dumb" file in that they have limitations that feature classes (read: shapefile equivalent within a geodatabase) do not.

ArcPad, I believe, looks for the geodatabase structure to convert data from the desktop to mobile application. An .AXF is essentially the mobile version of a Geodatabase. By checking a shapefile out of a normal directory as opposed to a .gdb, ArcPad's data manager may not know what to do with the AXF to convert it back into desktop format.

I propose you create a very simple .gdb, add your shapefile to the new .gdb (where it will henceforth been shown as a 'feature class', and try the check-out process again. Rather than explain the whole process I suggest that you do some really light googling to quickly find out how -- post back if you need help.

As a CS, learning the proprietary formats of ESRI may well be a waste of time, but it's essential if you're going to be working with ArcPad in the future.

I spent a considerable amount of time developing an ArcPad application for field data collection only to find out it wasn't a robust enough system to achieve my desired outcome.

  • Hi, I have a geodatabase that contains my feature classes, and the checkin/out process was a lot easier, but I couldn't get my forms that I made with ArcPad Studio to transfer, so data entry was a bit cumbersone. If I could figure that out, I'll go back to the geo database. :) – jlindenbaum May 10 '12 at 15:53
  • When you created forms for the shapefile, the forms were associated with THAT shapefile. If i'm not mistaken, custom forms are stored in .apl files where are integrated in the .axf -- You'll (unfortunately) have to re-do the custom forms with the feature class. You'll only need to do this once and they'll stick around after each check-out, check-in. – Roy May 10 '12 at 16:11
  • Fantastic, I'll give that a shot - thanks a tonne, you've been a great help so far. – jlindenbaum May 10 '12 at 16:19
  • I'm missing something, I can't create a layer definition in ArcPad Studio from anything other than a shapefile. So, I can't pick a feature class (either an imported shape or a newly created feature) to create a form for in ArcPad Studio. – jlindenbaum May 10 '12 at 16:44
  • What you want to do is open the axf in ArcPad Studio. Within that you should already have a layer definition (one less thing to worry about!). You'll just follow through the file tree until you see something like FORMS (or the like). What they do is set up generic forms automatically, but you can go in and make whatever changes you'd like. – Roy May 10 '12 at 16:48

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