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For my research, I need to ask respondents to indicate on a map where they think crime happens. I think of this as a digital solution to physically dropping pins on a map. Is there an online software to allow this?

This is work I am doing as a student for my PhD. The work is carried out with police, that cannot be induced to use not immediately user-friendly software. The software needs to be able to record in one answer, multiple points/polygons with attribute data (e.g. a short description of the type of crime they refer to). If it could be integrated together with a Survey even better, but not essential.

I can have access to Survey123, but it doesn't allow to record multiple points/polygons in the same answer (or multiple types of data input in the same question, for that matter). I have access to ArcGIS Online mapping, but I can't give access to the same file to all respondents. The reason why they can't see the previous respondent's answers is that they all need to provide their own response, and I need to limit any crossover between colleagues (also because I'd want to analyse inter-departmental differences).

My solution in the past has been asking as open questions, where crime happened, allowing for respondents to list names of streets/places in a text box. From that, I'd then manually have to enter/highlight in ArcGIS Desktop the answer by searching the place/street and drawing points/polygons myself. I would want to avoid doing this rather lengthy process again, as I have 200+ respondents.

Other options that I have explored, from reading old threads about this topic (specifically this one was the closest: Map-based online questionnair/survey) seem unsuitable. Specifically, CrowdMap seems to have changed over time or been re-developed behind a price barrier (which I cannot justify). CrowdSpot seemed also to have developed the same idea around their project, but once again they offer commercial solutions ( which I would prefer avoiding since I couldn't justify the price).

Off top of my head, I can think of only these details, but I am happy to be more specific once more questions come in. I can't predict what details I need to provide until I know know what the limitations of the proposed software are.

marked as duplicate by PolyGeo Jan 22 at 9:21

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    I think you need to give us more information, because there are numerous pieces of software that can do this. What kind of environment are you working in, does it need to be freeware, are you looking to use mobile devices, what software will the data be load in to for analysis? – Pete Jan 17 at 13:36
  • Thanks, Pete; there are many things I didn't add for the sake of brevity, but you are right. It does need to be freeware, I expect my respondents to be answering from desktop computers. I am hoping to analyse the data in ArcGis (as it is the program I know best), so any format compatible with that it would be fine. Alternatively, if the software could collect data in tables, or directly .csv/txt/gpx files that would work too. Let me know if you need any more details. – Dario Jan 17 at 13:55
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    Are you asking respondents to simply identify a location or are you going to need a form for them to fill out and have attribute data. If you're just having them drop a point I would just use google earth and the kml/kmz can be imported into ArcGIS. – Pete Jan 17 at 14:18
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    Please edit your post to expand the question, the more that is included the better we are able to help you with your question. – Pete Jan 17 at 14:24
  • Hi Pete, thank you. I hope I have provided more detail, as requested. If you have any more specific questions, it'd be helpful for me to know what information I need to provide, as I am fairly new to all of these software. – Dario Jan 17 at 21:00

There are many online solutions available now for mobile version and web versions, some of them are with Offline mode as well i.e. your login to your mobile device/web, and then fill the information in the form that you have to design before starting the work, and then later on, someone goes into the field mark the location on the map and fill the attributes associated with it.

If internet services are not available on the field, while collecting the data, then they can later b synced to online service on availability of internet.

KoboToolBox is one of amazing online free utility available for collection of geospatial data. They provide both mobile app and web version. It's totally free, no cost for any features


  • Thanks; I just looked it up, and tried out some of its functionalities. It works, users taking surveys can respond by pinpointing/drawing on each question's map. However their input is limited to one point/polygon per answer; that, unless I provide them many (potentially hundreds) of answers, in a good mix between polygons/points it won't work to collect multiple answers on the same map. – Dario Jan 17 at 13:58
  • You say you are doing this for research, are you a student or doing it for an organization? If you are analyzing the data in ArcGIS you may want to check what is included in your license agreement. You could have the options of using ArcGIS Online and enable user data editing, use Collector or Survey123. – Pete Jan 17 at 14:23
  • There is another similar product that is totally open source and it's ODK Collect, that you can use, i am not sure if that provides same functionalities that you require i.e. adding multiple points against single entry. – Ahsan Mukhtar Jan 18 at 11:22

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