I am trying to design a Quickform in ArcPad 10.2 to enable efficient capture of biological survey information in the field on a Trimble Juno 3D.

I am currently investigating using the Form Creation Wizard applet guidance used. I need to be able to pick a large number of plant species within a 'Species' field in the Quickform for each shapefile (each shapefile representing different habitats that I may encounter on a site survey i.e. grassland, woodland, wetland etc.), however, it would appear that only a single Pick List value can be ascribed to each field, in this case my 'Species' field, for each shapefile.

Is there a way that a number of species can be entered into my 'Species' field for each shapefile? There are situations where the habitat may include up to 60 species (i.e. grassland or wetland), although this is quite rare in the type of survey work I currently undertake. Ideally, I would like to have a pick list containing all 7,800 or so plant species in the checklist of British and Irish flora so that I can select from this exhasitive list of all the plant species I could potentially record in each habitat during a site survey. However, I could make do with a much abbreviated list if this would be too onerous and impractical, as the vast majority of these species would be superfluous in most situations.

Also, do you need to be a computer programmer and familar with VBScript to use ArcPad Studio or does it have a WYSIWYG user interface so than non-programmers can use it?

Is there a better way of doing any of this? I would be very grateful for any help with the above as I have been trying to develop the required 'front end' user interface to run on a Trimble Juno 3D in the field and enable collection of spatially accurate biological data in the field for integration with QGIS back in the office. You would think that there would be an off the shelf solution, but alas it has taken many weeks of research and trial and error to try to develop this with many blind alleys experienced along the way.

1 Answer 1


Something to consider

Are your pick lists static, i.e. you do not need the ability to add to a list as you survey? If you need that capability then you you need to create a table behind the scenes that populate the combobox.

With an exhaustive list of 7,800 species this would be impractical to implement but you could come up with a set of comboboxes that gradually filter down a value that ultimate goes into a field in a shapefile.

Better approach

Consider building a geodatabase with related tables if you want a 1:M relationship and create an AXF database. This format can handle such relationships.

If you do not want to use geodatabases (if not why?) then you store multiple species in a single field by separating them with a character (e.g. ^) then back in the office do some sort of text splitting. But you will be limited to the string length. A better approach is to draw your polygon/point on the map, give that a unique ID then add multiple rows to a non-spatial table listing many species to one polygon ID. You will not be able to do this in quickforms, this is a ArcPad Studio approach.


All but the most basic data capture invariable ends up with some form of coding required. Your project sounds definitely like an ArcPad Studio development. I've always though of Quick forms as a last minute in the field data capture because you forgot something. Much better to design and test in the office. You will need to be able to program in VBScript. The help has many useful code samples and you can always post on the ArcPad ESRI forum for specific questions.

  • Thank you so much for the reply. I think I need a GIS professional to work on developing this. Something to consider I think the pick lists could be static. Better Approach I will need to investigate this. I've never used a geodatabase. ArcPad Studio I'm inclined to agree this is the best approach. I would need to commission a programmer to develop it for me. Cost could be prohibitive. Thanks for the feedback, it is most useful and provided plenty to think about.
    – user25509
    Jan 6, 2014 at 20:40
  • I'm based in the UK and have developed a couple of ArcPad data capture tools in the past. I don't know if you are UK based as you've not filled in your profile on SE! Anyway if you are interested check out the GeoData website and search for mobile GIS projects to get an idea of what I've done.
    – Hornbydd
    Jan 6, 2014 at 21:40

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