Tutorial: Creating a mobile editing project

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With ArcGIS Server, you can create workflow driven Mobile applications focused on the collection and inspection of GIS data. You can create mobile projects using the ArcGIS Server Manager and deploy applications, projects and data to mobile devices to complete their field work. This example illustrates how to create an end-to-end field editing project focused on the inspection and collection of road signs in an urban area.

There are a number of steps that you will need to accomplish prior to creating your field project. They include:

  1. Establishing a multi-user field editing data model using ArcSDE
  2. Authoring your mobile map using ArcGIS Desktop
  3. Publishing your mobile map using ArcGIS Server Manager
  4. Deploying the mobile application and project to your mobile device

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to create your mobile editing project and use the ArcGIS Mobile application on your Windows Mobile device. The tutorial steps include:

  1. Creating your mobile editing project using ArcGIS Server Manager
  2. Pulling the mobile project using the ArcGIS Mobile Application
  3. Synchronize data from the server
  4. Collecting new GIS data using the ArcGIS Mobile Application
  5. Updating existing GIS data using the ArcGIS Mobile Application
  6. Synchronizing updates to the server

Establishing a multi-user field editing Data Model using ArcSDE

The first step is to make the data that will be edited in the field available through an ArcSDE geodatabase. This example uses ArcSDE for SQL Server Express because it works with the free Microsoft SQL Server Express database and is available with the Workgroup level of ArcGIS Server.

Once you have your data available through ArcSDE, you need to create a map from the data and symbolize it appropriately. You'll publish this map document to ArcGIS Server so that it will be available to users of your mobile application. This document explains each part of the workflow.

Installing ArcSDE

Creating a mobile editing application requires that the data that will be updated in the field be stored inside an ArcSDE geodatabase. You can use your discression as to what transactional model you want to use for editing of data in the geodatabase (both versioned and non-versioned models are fully supported).

If you do not have ArcSDE already installed, an easy way to set up a small deployment is to use the ArcSDE included with ArcGIS Server Workgroup, which uses the Microsoft SQL Server Express database.

The first thing you need to do is install ArcSDE for SQL Server Express. The ArcSDE CD or DVD comes with ArcGIS Server and contains an Install Guide that can help you through the installation and post installation process.

Note: If you want to work through this tutorial and you already have ArcGIS Server Enterprise, you do not need to install SQL Server Express. The steps below are for the Workgroup level of ArcGIS Server and will not work with ArcGIS Server Enterprise. You can find information about administering Enterprise geodatabases in the ArcGIS Desktop Help book Administering ArcSDE geodatabases.

Creating the geodatabase

Once you've installed ArcSDE for SQL Server Express, follow these steps to create a geodatabase:

  1. Start ArcCatalog and find the Database Servers node. A database server is a machine containing a SQL Server Express database and ArcSDE for SQL Server Express. This is where you'll add and manage your geodatabase.
  2. Double-click Add Database Server and type the SQL Server Express instance to which you want to connect. In most cases, this will take the form of <database server name>\sqlexpress. You'll see the server appear in the list.

    Tip: If you have any difficulties connecting to the database server, see Troubleshooting connections to the database server.

  3. The ArcGIS Server SOC account needs permission to read data from the database server. Right-click the database server you just added and click Permissions.
  4. Click Add User and add the SOC account.
  5. Now you can add a new geodatabase. In the list of Database Servers, right-click your server and click New Geodatabase.
  6. Type the name Westerville for your geodatabase, andset a location and initial size. Don't worry about setting the initial size too low; the geodatabase will grow as it needs to until it reaches SQL Server Express's 4 GB limit.
  7. You've already given the SOC account permissions to use the database server, but now you need to define the permissions the SOC account will have for this specific geodatabase. Right-click your new geodatabase and click Administration > Permissions.
  8. Click the SOC account, give it read and write permissions, then click OK.

    Tip: If you don't see the SOC account in the list, make sure you completed steps 3 - 4.

  9. Use ArcCatalog to copy and paste the feature classes from the tutorial file geodatabase into your new SQL Server geodatabase. The tutorial data is located at <webserver_machine>\Inetpub\wwwroot\ArcGIS\Manager\Help\mobile_tutorial and is called WestervilleTutorial.gdb. Navigate to the tutorial gdb, select all of the feature classes contained in the geodatabase, right click and click Copy. Then navigate to the new Westerville geodatabase you created using SQL Server, right-click then click Paste.
  10. Important: To edit geodatabase data inside of a mobile application, the final step is to add a Global ID column to the feature classes that you want to be editable. To do this, right-click the Road Signs feature class in ArcCatalog and click Add Global IDs... from the context menu. A dialog will appear explaining what adding a Global ID column will do. Click yes to continue and create the Global ID column.

Authoring your mobile map

The map that you use in your mobile editing project can and will contain editable and non-editable layers. Follow these steps to create your mobile map:

  1. Start ArcMap and create a new map document. This map document will be published as a map service in a future step. Click the Add Data button on the Standard Toolbar and navigate to the Westerville geodatabase that you created inside your ArcSDE geodatabase. Add the road signs, streets, buildings and parcels feature classes as new layers in the map document.
  2. The next step is to set the symbology for each layer. The tutorial data contains layer files for each of the layers that you have added to the map. To complete the tutorial steps, you will need to import the symbology from those layer files.

  3. Double-click the Road Signs layer in the Table of Contents in ArcMap and click the Symbology tab.
  4. On the symbology tab, click on Import... and click Open to navigate to the layer files and import the symbology.
  5. For the Road Signs layer, choose the field Type as the primary field used by the unique value renderer.
  6. Click Ok on the Layer Properties dialog box to set the new rendering scheme for the layer.
  7. The Road Signs layer uses a unique value renderer to identify each of the feature types that can be collected in the ArcGIS Mobile application. The legend item for each value in the renderer is the name assigned to the feature type. Once you have successfully changed the symbology for the Road Signs layer, alter the symbology for the remaining layers following the above steps.

    There are a number of factors to consider when authoring your mobile map. Consider the field workflows, which map layers are critical to the field worker, how environmental conditions impact visibility of the map in the field, and so on. For a more detailied discussion, please refer to the topic "Design and create mobile maps" located in the "Mobile GIS" book contained within the ArcGIS Desktop help system.

Publishing the map service

Once your map document is complete, you can publish it as a map service. When you publish a map service, you make it available on your ArcGIS Server so that many users can access it at once.

Choosing pooled or non-pooled

You can use either pooled or non-pooled map services when designing for mobile editing applications. Mobile applications are stateless. Each post of edits to the server starts a new edit session, stores updates inside of that edit session and then closes the session. If, however, you would also like to leverage the same map service to support web editing applications you need to carefully consider whether or not to publish a pooled or non-pooled service. Refer to the Creating a Web editing application" tutorial for more information on this topic.

Setting the required permissions

Before publishing your services, be sure to read and follow the guidelines presented in Preparing resources for publishing as services. These will help you ensure that the server has permissions to read and access all of the data for your map. Specifically, the SOC account needs to have read permissions to your map document and any data in the map document. It also needs to have write permissions to any data that you will be editing. If you have the components of ArcGIS Server distributed among multiple machines, all of the above data must be referenced using UNC paths or ArcSDE connections so that all machines can read it.

Publishing the service

Follow these steps to publish a map service that you can use with the ArcGIS Mobile application:

  1. Log in to ArcGIS Server Manager and click Publish a map, globe, or other GIS resource as a service.

    Tip: There are two wizards in Manager that you can use to publish services. This link takes you to the Publish GIS Resource wizard, which is the simplest way to create a service. It asks you the minimum amount of information needed to create a service.

    The other way to create services is the Add New Service wizard. This wizard is the completely manual way of publishing a service; it prompts you for all of the service parameters.

  2. On the first panel of the wizard, you're prompted for the resource that you want to publish. This is the Westerville map document you just created. If it's in a shared directory, you can browse to the map document. If it's not in a shared location, carefully type the path name of the map document.
  3. Type a name for your service: WestervilleTutorial.
  4. Click Next to move to the second panel of the wizard. Notice that the Mapping capability is enabled by default. Here you will need to check on Mobile Data Access. This will create a new web service endpoint that the ArcGIS Mobile application will connect to in order to synchronize data.
  5. The final panel of the wizard explains that the service will be created and gives its URL. Click Finish to publish the service and exit the wizard.

Deploying the Mobile Application

Now that you have created your field geodatabase and authored and published your mobile map service it is time to focus on the ArcGIS Mobile client application and the tutorial mobile project that you will create and deploy to your mobile device.

The ArcGIS Mobile application is contained within a .CAB file called ArcGISMobile.CAB and is located on the web server that you installed ArcGIS Server Manager application onto (\Inetpub\wwwroot\ArcGIS\Mobile\Software). A .CAB file is an installation file for your Windows Mobile device. There are a number of ways to get the .CAB file onto your device and install the application. The method used in this tutorial is for you to pull the .CAB file to the device using the web browser on the device itself.

To install the application, open Internet Explorer on your Windows Mobile device and navigate to http://<web_server>/arcgis/mobile.

On the web page, click the link titled Click to download the ArcGIS Mobile Application and start the installation on your device.

Note: You must first have established a network connection on your Windows Mobile device to the location of your web server. Please follow the device instructions for establishing a desktop passthrough connection using ActiveSync for Windows XP or Windows Mobile Device Center for Windows Vista. Your Windows Mobile device must also meet the system requirements for ArcGIS Server - it must be running Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC Edition or Windows Mobile 6 Professional and already contain the update for CompactFramework 2.0 SP2.

Creating the Mobile project

Once you have a running map service with mobile data access capabilities, you can now create your mobile editing application. You'll do this using Manager's wizard interface for creating a mobile project. The wizard will guide you through the process of defining a new mobile project. The project identifies mobile map resources and the tasks that will be used in the ArcGIS Mobile application. One of the most important steps in this process is identifying the mobile map service and configuring the properties of each map layer in the service.

These are the steps for creating the mobile project:

  1. In Manager, click the Applications tab and click Create Mobile Project. A wizard appears that helps you create the project.
  2. Type a name and description for your project. This name will appear in both the project web page and the project web service. Click Next to continue.
  3. The next step involves adding the mobile map service that you created earlier to your project as the primary data source. To do this, click Add Layer from the top of the Set Mobile Services page and then click Mobile Service from the dialog box that appears. This will display a map service discovery dialog box. Navigate to the WestervilleTutorial service that you created and click Add to add the service to the Mobile Project Map.
  4. Next, you can set properties for each map layer in the mobile service. This will define the behavior of the tasks in the ArcGIS Mobile application. Assuming that you followed the earlier step of adding the Global ID column to the Road Signs layer, that should be the only map layer that is checked as editable on the editing tab. For this step, select the Road Signs layer and click each tab in the Map Layer Properties to display its current behavior in the project. Do not change anything. The Road Signs layer should be viewable, searchable and editable in the project. It will also have default settings for GPS data collection in the GPS tab. The searchable property determines whether or not the layer will appear in the Search Features task. The editable property determines whether or not the layer will appear in the Collect Features task.
  5. For the other layers (Streets, Buildings, and Parcels), uncheck the searchable property as you will only want to be able to collect and search for road sign features in the tutorial project.
  6. The final step is to establish what tasks are to be used in the project. You can rename each task and provide a brief description. The tasks chosen will appear on the tasks page in the field project. Each task should contain a name and description that best suits both the task that needs to be accomplished in the field and the verbage used by the field worker.

  7. Click the Collect Features task and type a more meaningful name for the action that will be performed in the project. For example, change the name from Collect Features to "Collect Road Signs".
  8. For each of the other tasks, feel free to change the name and description. For example, change Search Features to Search Road Sign Inventory.
  9. When you are finished renaming the tasks, click Finish to complete the wizard and create the new project. This will return you to the Mobile projects catalog. Here you can edit an existing project

Using the ArcGIS Mobile application

So far you have created a new multi-user geodatabase data model, authored a new map document designed for a mobile device, published that map as a map service with mobile data access capabilities, deployed and installed the ArcGIS Mobile application on your Windows Mobile device and designed a new mobile project for the ArcGIS Mobile application. The final steps of the tutorial involve using the ArcGIS Mobile application to:

  1. Pulling the project to your mobile device
  2. Synchronizing data from the web server to your device
  3. Collecting new data using a stylus or rocker
  4. Updating existing GIS features
  5. Synchronize updates back to the web server

Pulling the Mobile Project to your device

Before you start, you need to open the ArcGIS Mobile application on your Windows Mobile device. From the Start menu, click Programs. In the programs list you will find ArcGIS Mobile. Click on ArcGIS Mobile to start the application.

  1. The first step in using the application is to choose a mobile project to work on. Mobile projects are stored locally on the device on either in main memory or on a storage card. You can download projects from the web server you create new projects on. To do so, click Download Project... from the Choose Project page.
  2. Downloading a project is a two-step process. The first step is to locate the web server that contains mobile projects. Type the name of the web server that contains the WestervilleTutorial project that you created earlier.
  3. When you have entered the name, click Next to continue. Note that if you cannot connect to the web server, ensure that your device is properly connected to the internet. A quick method of testing your connection is to use Internet Explorer. If you cannot access the web server using Internet Explorer on the device then you will not be able to download the project either.
  4. A list of published mobile projects that have been created on the web server will appear after you click next. Pick the WestervilleTutorial project using your stylus or by pressing down on the rocker.
  5. Once you choose the WestervilleTutorial project, you will be prompted as to where you would like the mobile project to be stored - either on the main memory of the device or on a storage card. Once you pick the location, the project will be downloaded to your device. A new folder will be created at \My Documents\ArcGIS Mobile\ called WestervilleTutorial. Inside this folder is where the project file will be stored (WestervilleTutorial.amp).
  6. Once you have chosen the storage location for the WestervilleTutorial project that you download from your web server, you are returned to the Choose Project page where you can then click on the WestervilleTutorial project to open it.

Synchronize data from the web server

Now that you have downloaded and clicked the WestervilleTutorial project from the Choose Project page, you will be guided through the process of synchronizing data from the web server to your device.

  1. Click Yes to get data from the server. When you open a project for the first time it will create a folder structure on your device to store map data from the server. The application will then ask you to choose which layers you would like to get data for. Check each layer in the list and click Next.
  2. You will then be prompted to choose the extent of data you want to receive. Tap on Full Extent to receive all data from the server. This will start the synchronize request with the server. Once it is complete, you will be notified if it is successful or if there were errors fulfilling the request.
  3. If you then press the left soft key, Map, or choose the View Map task, you can display the map data that you just received from the server.

Collect new data using a stylus or rocker

After receiving data from the server using the Synchronize task, you are ready to collect new road sign locations using the Collect Features task. GIS feature collection using the ArcGIS Mobile application is accomplished using the Collect Features task and you will collect new signs within the Road Signs layer. The task itself will drive you through the collection process by first requiring you to choose a type of feature to collect, then prompting you to sketch or capture the location of the new feature and finally to assign attribute information to it. During the process of defining the mobile project, you should have renamed the Collect Features task to Collect Road Signs. When authoring the map, you set a unique value renderer for the Road Signs layer. Each value in the renderer is a feature type in the Collect Features task.

  1. Click Collect Road Signs from the list of tasks on the Tasks page.
  2. Choose the feature type Stop by scrolling down the list using the rocker or tapping Stop using the stylus. Once you pick the Stop feature type, you are ready to collect a new stop sign feature.
  3. Once you have chosen a feature type, the map page will appear so that you can locate the shape of the new stop sign. By default, the map page is in a mode where you can simply tap on the map with your stylus to create the location of the Stop sign. However, the map may not be centered at the proper location or it may be zoomed in too close or out too far. If you are at the right scale, you can simply use the directional pad on the rocker to move the cursor. When the cursor reaches the edge of the map display, it will automatically pan in that direction. Also, you can zoom in or zoom out on the map by pressing the right soft key menu and pressing Zoom In command or the Zoom Out command.

  4. Tap on the map to set the location of the new stop sign. You will see the current location appear as a red rectangle on the map. If you tap on the map again you can change the location that you just set.
  5. The method that you just used to set the location of the stop sign is "Collect Using Stylus". You can change the collection method from the Collect menu. Other options include Collect Using GPS and Collect Using XY Coordinate. Also, you can offset the location that you set by pressing the Menu soft key and clicking the Offset Location command from the menu.

  6. Press the left soft key to Accept the location you have specified. Note that you can change the collection method from the Menu soft key.
  7. The final step of the collection process is to set attributes for the new feature. Fields that contain business rules (domains) present a drop-down list of valid values for you to choose from. Date fields provide a date picker to choose the correct date from.

  8. Set the Status, Requires_Maintenance, and Date_Inspected field values to see how different field types display values for a feature.
  9. When you are done setting attribute values, press the Finish soft key to complete the collection workflow. This will return you to the Choose Feature Type page so that you can collect a second feature. To return to the Task menu, press the Back soft key.

Update existing features using the Search Signs task

Using the ArcGIS Mobile application you can create new features using your stylus or a GPS receiver or by entering XY coordinates with the Collect Features task. You can also update the attributes of existing features. In order to update existing features, you must first search for them using the Search Features task.

  1. Before you can update a feature, you must find it. When creating the mobile project, you named the Search Features task Search Signs. Tap on the Search Signs task in the Tasks menu to find features to update.
  2. The Search task guides you through the process of searching for features - just like the Collect Features task does. You can search for features in a feature type or you can search against all features in a layer. The layers that you can search against were set when you defined the project by checking or unchecking whether or not the layer was searchable.

  3. To search against all features in the Road Signs layer, check Group By Layer from the Menu soft key. This will sort the list of feature types based upon the layer they belong to instead of alphabetically. You can then click the bolded Road Signs entry in the list to search against all features in the signs layer.
  4. Next you can set search criteria. From the <All Text Fields> drop-down list, choose the Requires_Maintenance field so that you can search for all signs that require maintenance. For the value field, click Yes. Note that depending upon the field chosen that a different value control will appear. For a boolean field such as Requires_Maintenance, a drop-down list gives you the choice of yes or no.
  5. Press the Find soft key to perform the search for road signs that require maintenance.
  6. You can change the search area from the Menu soft key. Press the Menu soft key and choose Full Extent to change the search area. Note that the number of results you receive is dependent upon the search area that you specified.
  7. The search results are sorted based on the features' distance to you. You can perform different actions against features in the list. You can directly view the attributes of a feature in the list by tapping a feature in the list. You can also browse the list of features using the map. To do this, press Browse Features... from the Menu soft key.
  8. You can browse each feature by pressing the up or down arrow on the directional pad of the rocker. The information bar displays the feature type and the value of the primary display field of the feature. As you move between features, the map will pan to include the browsed feature on the display. Point features (like road signs) will be highlighted using a pin.

  9. Press down on the rocker to view all the features' attributes. This will open the View Attributes page. You can move up and down the page using the directional pad of the rocker. This can be useful if you need to view a lot of field values. Next, press the Edit soft key to open the Edit Attributes page.
  10. Here you can change one or more attribute values and then press the Finish soft key to complete your attribute update.

Synchronize updates with the server

In the previous two sections of this tutorial, you created a new feature and updated an existing feature. With updates complete, you can synchronize your changes back to the server. Using the ArcGIS Mobile application, you are in complete control of the synchronization process.

  1. From the Task page, tap on the Synchronize task.
  2. The first section of the page displays the current status of the features that are on your device. If you collected one feature and updated one feature, then this will be recorded by the status on this page. If you would like to see more detail regarding the updates on the device, you can click View Updates... from the Menu soft key. From the updates list, you can choose to Cancel Edits for a selected feature.

    To post updates back to the server, press the Menu soft key, tap the Synchronize menu, then click Post Updates. This will start the synchronization back to the server. When the synchronization is complete, the status page will be updated with the post results.