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An overview of ArcPad

Release 9.2
Last modified November 9, 2006
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ArcPad is a mapping tool for working with your geographic information system (GIS) data in the field. The ArcPad extension for ArcMap lets you extract data from a geodatabase to use in the field with ArcPad.

With the ArcPad toolbar in ArcMap, you can use the Get Data For ArcPad wizard to extract data and maps onto a mobile device for use with ArcPad. The wizard also lets you check out layers from a geodatabase so that you can edit them in the field. With Check In Edits From ArcPad, you can update your geodatabase with the changes you made using ArcPad.

Learn more about the ArcPad toolbar

Learn more about the Get Data For ArcPad wizard

Using ArcPad

ArcPad software is mobile mapping and GIS technology. ArcPad provides database access, mapping, GIS, and global positioning system (GPS) integration to users out in the field by handheld and mobile devices. Data collection with ArcPad is fast, easy, and significantly improved with immediate data validation and availability. With ArcPad, you can:

Using ArcPad with ArcGIS

ArcPad is a lightweight mapping and editing tool that operates on a variety of Windows platforms, including Windows CE. ArcPad supports the direct editing of shapefiles only. It does not support the editing of geodatabases directly, nor does it support the editing of tabular data.

Using Get Data For ArcPad on the ArcPad toolbar in ArcMap, you can check out features from geodatabases and edit them in ArcPad. The Get Data For ArcPad wizard makes editing in ArcPad possible by creating a checkout folder that contains a shapefile for each layer you check out of the geodatabase, an associated Visual Basic Script file (.vbs), and an ArcPad Layer file (.apl). The checkout writes geodatabase features to the checked-out shapefiles using criteria that you specify in the wizard. You can then use ArcPad to update the features stored with the shapefiles.

The Visual Basic Script file is used by ArcPad to track changes to features in the shapefile. Each shapefile created receives an additional _CHGCODE field that stores a value that represents the type of change that was detected when a feature is edited. If a new feature is added, a value of 1 is stored in the field; when a feature's attribute is changed, a value of 2 is stored; and when a feature's shape is changed, a value of 3 is stored. The _CHGCODE field and these values are used to re-create edits in the geodatabase when you check in your updates.

Visual Basic Script file

The Visual Basic Script file (.vbs) also contains the code necessary to build custom feature properties, which are used to edit the attributes of features. When you edit features, fields that are designated as subtype fields have an associated coded value domain inside of the geodatabase layer. The ArcPad feature properties create a list of valid values for you to make a selection from.

ArcPad layer file

The ArcPad Layer file (.apl) that is created for each shapefile in the checkout folder stores a subset of the ArcGIS map layer properties (those that ArcPad supports). Those properties include the symbology used to display features, the scale at which features are visible, and labeling expressions for the layer.

Using the Feature Properties dialog box in ArcPad

ArcPad generates a Feature Properties dialog box for each layer that you check out in the Get Data For ArcPad wizard. The Feature Properties dialog box lets you edit the attributes of features. The size of the form is dependent on two things: the device that you are downloading to and the length of the fields in your feature classes. The Get Data For ArcPad wizard lets you pick from a list of recommended sizes for the Feature Properties dialog box based on the device type. You can also type your own value into this area of the Get Data For ArcPad wizard.

View an illustration

What ArcPad supports

ArcPad supports a subset of the layer properties and symbology supported by ArcMap. The layer properties and symbology supported by ArcPad are stored in ArcPad Layer files (.apl) associated with shapefiles. The Get Data For ArcPad wizard will only export symbology and properties that are supported by ArcPad. ArcPad supports the following symbols—single symbol, unique values, and graduated colors and symbols. For point layers, both simple TrueType font symbols and raster symbols are supported. The point symbol rotation angle and reference scale are also supported. However, composite or color symbols are not supported. The TrueType fonts must be loaded onto your mobile device. For line layers, the line color, style, thickness, and symbol reference scale are supported. For polygon layers, simple raster and bitmap fills are supported.

The Text String Label Field and reference scale are also supported for point, line, and polygon layers.

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