Creating A New ArcGIS Web Map for High-Accuracy Field Data Collection
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How to Create A New ArcGIS Web Map for High-Accuracy Field Data Collection

Esri’s ArcGIS® Field Maps (Field Maps) is a mobile app designed for phones and tablets that streamlines field data collection directly into ArcGIS. Mobile field staff can use Field Maps for a variety of tasks such as collecting new GIS data, updating existing information from the field, exploring their current maps to make better decisions in the field and office, and sharing secured map views with colleagues and other stakeholders.

This article is intended for beginners using Field Maps for the first time to collect assets with high-accuracy locations. In this article, we will show you how to create a new feature layer in ArcGIS Online, review the GNSS attribute fields in the layer you just created, and create a web map that uses your new feature layer during field data collection in Field Maps.

Let’s get started …

Creating Your New Feature Layer

First, you will need to create your web map in ArcGIS Online.

1. Sign in to your ArcGIS Online account.

Esri’s ArcGIS® Field Maps (Field Maps) is a mobile app designed for phones and tablets that streamlines field data collection directly into ArcGIS. Mobile field staff can use Field Maps for a variety of tasks such as collecting new GIS data, updating existing information from the field, exploring their current maps to make better decisions in the field and office, and sharing secured map views with colleagues and other stakeholders.

01 ArcGIS Online Login

2. ArcGIS Online will take you to your organization’s home page. From here, select “Content” in the main navigation tab. Then select “My Content” from the sub-menu that appears. This will take you to the most recently used project folder in your organization. Any existing content to which you have access, including items such as web maps, web scenes, and feature layers, will be shown in this folder. In our example screenshot below, the most recent previously used project folder, “Asset Inspections,” contains a web map item called “Tangible Asset Inventory-GASB34.”

TIP: To create a new folder for your project select the “Create new folder icon” which looks like this:

02 ArcGIS Online Content

3. Next, you will create a new item. The type of item you want to create is an editable feature layer with predefined fields. To do this you will use one of the Esri curated templates that are available in ArcGIS Online. Select “New item” to access the different options for creating a new feature layer.

03 ArcGIS Online New Item

4. Since you are starting from scratch and need to collect assets for the first time, select the “Feature layer” option. This will create an empty feature layer to store all your new assets that you will collect.

04 ArcGIS Online New Item Feature

ArcGIS Online will now give you four options to create your new feature layer:

  • Define your own layer
  • Select an existing feature layer
  • Use a template
  • Use a layer from ArcGIS Server

5. Select the “Use a template” option. This will allow you to access the list of templates within ArcGIS Online that already contain predefined industry-specific layers and attribute fields. This will be helpful moving forward, so you don’t need to define all of these manually for your map.

05 ArcGIS Online Create Feature Template

Next you will choose your ArcGIS Online feature layer template. You can filter the available templates in ArcGIS Online by industry type (e.g., electric utilities, forestry, transportation) or you can enter a search term to find templates that are relevant to your project requirements.

6. In this example, we are going to use Esri’s “Proposed Water Design” feature layer template. To find this template, you can either type into the search bar “Water Design,” or you can filter by the “Water Utilities” industry on the left. We are choosing the “Proposed Water Design” template because it includes predefined attribute fields that support high-accuracy GNSS locations and metadata from an Arrow GNSS receiver.

TIP: To determine if a template is suitable for your application, expand the Show details menu to see the layers, fields and tables contained in each template. Doing this will let you see if GNSS attributes are preconfigured in a template and allow you to choose templates that include these values when high-accuracy data collection is required or desired.

06 ArcGIS Online Proposed Water Design Temp

7. The “Proposed Water Design” template contains point and line layers (e.g., Proposed Water Hydrants, Proposed Water Mains). You can expand the layers by clicking the arrow next to it. A list of “Field” details will drop down so you can review the various attribute fields that are preconfigured for each layer. You will be required to enter information in these fields while collecting GNSS positions.

07 ArcGIS Online Proposed Water Design layers

8. To add GNSS metadata fields to your layer, you will need to toggle on the “Add GPS metadata fields” button. We also strongly encourage you to toggle on the “Enable Z-values” option at the same time; this enables you to collect high-accuracy Z-values (for 3D positions) from the Arrow GNSS receiver. If left unchecked, all the features collected in this layer will be 2D (XY coordinates only). Note that Z-Values cannot be toggled on after the feature is created.

08 ArcGIS Online Add GPS metadata Z values

Note: The altitude values from the Arrow GNSS receiver are used by Field Maps in a few different ways. It’s important to understand these differences so the proper altitude reference, usually orthometric height, is available to the user in the field and also at the office.

  • Z-Values – These are elevations that are stored in the geometry of the feature along with the XY coordinates and are the source of the coordinates of the map. These elevations are not displayed to the user in Field Maps. They are stored in meters by default and their values cannot be changed. Enabling Z-values allows for further analysis and 3D modelling of elevation data in ArcGIS.
  • ESRIGNSS_Altitude – This GNSS metadata field is automatically populated by Field Maps. It contains the raw ellipsoidal or GNSS height value, in meters.
  • Attribute Table – These are elevations that can be stored in an additional field in the attribute table. This is not automatically populated by Field Maps; however, you can use the new field calculation tool in Field Maps to populate a designated field in a feature attribute table. This will make the orthometric visible to the field user and also in ArcGIS Pro. This can also be very useful to display you elevation in a different unit than in meters; in feet for example. In a few steps from now we will show you how to configure Field Maps to store orthometric heights, using an Arcade expression.

Side note: ESRIGNSS_Latitude and ESRIGNSS_Longitude values will store the latitude and longitude values as received (untransformed) from the GNSS receiver. If you have created a datum transformation in your location profile in Field Maps, the latitude and longitude values stored in the point geometry will be transformed and different than the above attribute fields.

9. Once you click “Next,” ArcGIS Online will ask you to give your new item a title. In this example, we’re going to call our new layer “Proposed Water Design.” You might want to create a new project folder to store your feature layer and any additional similar feature layers related to the project (e.g., categorized by year, project location). Note that ArcGIS Online will also ask you what tags you want to associate with this feature layer. Since you’ve chosen an ArcGIS Online template, some tags will be automatically assigned to the layer; Esri does this with the intent of making your new feature layer easily searchable in your organization.

09 ArcGIS Online Save New Feature Layer

10. Finally, click “Save” and give yourself a high-five! ArcGIS Online will entertain you with a spinning blue circle while it creates your feature layer.

10 ArcGIS Online Creating Feature Layer

The layer will be added to your ArcGIS Online project folder. You can add this feature layer, and any others that you have created, to a web map, which can then be used in ArcGIS Field Maps. Before you take your new layer to the field, though, let’s take a quick look at your new point layer: “Proposed Water Design.”

Reviewing the Attribute Fields in Your New Feature Layer

11. From your “My Content” tab and project folder, select the layer you just created. For us, we’ve selected the “Proposed Water Design.” This pulls up the item’s page. Let’s review the attribute fields in the layer we just created. To do this, you’ll first select the “Data” tab from the sub-navigation menu in the top right.

11 ArcGIS Online Item Data Overview

12. The default view will probably be a table view. To view fields instead, change the view in the top-right corner by toggling type from “Table” to “Fields.” You will now see the layers attribute fields from both the “Proposed Water Design” template’s default inclusions (e.g., “Project Name,” “Project ID,” “Expected Service Date”) followed by the GNSS metadata fields we added by toggling on the “Add GPS metadata fields” option. The GNSS metadata fields will follow the template’s default fields, and you can identify them because their “Field Name” will each start with the term “esrignss_.” These are the attribute fields that ArcGIS Field Maps and ArcGIS Online will use to collect and store the GNSS metadata from your Arrow receiver.

12 ArcGIS Online Data Fields

In total, there are 23 GNSS metadata fields, including “Receiver Name,” “Horizontal Accuracy (m),” “PDOP,” “Fix Type,” and “Number of Satellites,” to name just a few. All this GNSS metadata can be used for validating the quality of the GNSS positions. Now let’s add a new field to the attribute table in which we will use to store the orthometric height using an Arcade expression.

13. Select the “+ Add” button to add a new field to the Proposed Water Hydrants layer as shown below:

  • Field Name: Ortho_Height
  • Display Name: “Ortho Height
  • Type: Double
  • Default value (Optional): leave blank
  • Allow Null Values: check

Click “Add New Field”

13 ArcGIS Online Add Field

14. The new Ortho Field Height field will be added to the bottom of the list of fields.

14a ArcGIS Online Add Ortho Height Field

You can repeat the process of adding height fields to all the layers that you will be adding to you web map. In this example we will also be collecting Proposed Water Valves and Proposed Water Mains, so we will add the height attribute to each of these layers.

14b ArcGIS Online Add Ortho Height Field additional layers

Now, let’s create an editable web map that will be used in the field to collect data with Field Maps.

Creating a Web Map for ArcGIS Field Maps

15. While still viewing your “Proposed Water Design” item, return to the “Overview” tab from the sub-menu navigation in the top right. Next, select “Open in Map Viewer” from the right-hand menu options. ArcGIS Online will open your feature layer template in a web map viewer, which provides you tools to further edit the included form for field workers.

15 ArcGIS Online Open in Map Viewer

16. The “Map Viewer” opens with the default basemap visible. The “Proposed Water Design” layer does not contain any features, so the map is blank.

16 ArcGIS Online Map Viewer

17. From the left sidebar menu click on the “Layers” button. Then select the drop-down arrow next to “Proposed Water Design” to see the four individual layers.

17a ArcGIS Online Propsed Water Design layers

Now select “Legend” from the sidebar to see the layer symbology.

17b ArcGIS Online Legend Symbology

Select “Save” from the sidebar and give the map a name. We’ll call our “Proposed Water Design.”

17c ArcGIS Online Save New Proposed Water Design Map

Now let’s look at how to make the orthometric height values visible to the field user. We will show you two ways to do this using an attribute expression. First, we’ll configure the Field Maps pop-up feature and, second, we will use the new Field Maps field calculation tool to populate the orthometric height field we just created.

18. To display the orthometric height for the “Proposed Water Hydrant” layer in the pop-up, go to the “Pop-ups” sidebar menu and then select “Attribute expressions.”

18a ArcGIS Online Pop-ups Add expressions

Now, select “+ Add expression.”

18b ArcGIS Online Pop-ups + Add expression

19. In the expression builder give your script a name such as “Ortho Height.” The script shown here is first going to run some error checking on the feature and calculate the elevation in meters to three decimal places. Now select “Done.”

// change to false if feet desired
var useMeters = true;

var geom = Geometry($feature);

if(!IsEmpty(geom)){
  var elevation = geom.Z;
  if(useMeters){
      return elevation;
  }
  else {
    return Round(elevation * 3.2808,3);
  }
}
else {
  return null;
}

Back in the map viewer window, save the map. This is all that needs to be done to get the feature elevation to show up in the pop-up. When you click on a point on the map, you will be able to scroll down on the pop-up and see the elevation.

Next, we’re going to use the same script to populate the “Ortho Height” field that we created in the attribute table.

20. To configure the script to populate the ortho height field in the attribute table, open the Field Maps app in ArcGIS Online.

20 ArcGIS Online Field Maps App

21. Select the “Proposed Water Design” map from the list.

21 ArcGIS Online Field Maps App Select Map

22.When the “Form builder” sidebar opens, select one of the layers such as “Proposed Water Hydrants” and then select the “Convert pop-up” option.

22 ArcGIS Online Field Maps App Convert pop-up

23. Now select the “Ortho Height” field from the attribute list. From the form properties menu on the right sidebar select “+ Add expression.”

23 ArcGIS Online Field Maps App Add expression

24. In the new expression window, give it a name such as “Ortho Height” and select “Save.” Now enter the same script that was used in the pop-up expression builder. Select “OK.”

24 ArcGIS Online Field Maps App Save Expression

25. Now that the “Ortho Height” script has been added to the form in the expression builder, Field Maps will query the Z-value coming from the Arrow GNSS receiver and automatically run the script to populate the “Ortho Height” field. Select “Save” to continue.

25 ArcGIS Online Field Maps App Save Form

Repeat steps 22 to 25 for each layer if so desired (e.g. Valve, Water Mains and Lateral Mains).

Collecting High-Accuracy Data in ArcGIS Field Maps

On your mobile device, open Field Maps. You will now see the new web map you created. Just make sure to have your Eos Arrow GNSS receiver connected to the mobile device.

26. Tap the “Proposed Water Design” map, and you can begin collecting data.

26 ArcGIS Field Maps My Maps_frame

27. Field Maps shows you your real-time GPS accuracy from the Arrow receiver at the top-center of your map. In this case, our Arrow Gold® is connected to the RTK network and is getting centimeter accuracy. (Yes, you may celebrate!) To collect your first point, tap the blue icon in the bottom right corner of the map display.

27 ArcGIS Field Maps Eos Arrow GNSS Accuracy_frame

28. The list of layers in the “Proposed Water Design” you configured in ArcGIS Online will open. Let’s create a new hydrant (i.e., “Proposed Hydrant”). You will be prompted to fill out any required fields in the form, and you might notice that the “Ortho Height” field is automatically populated with the elevation value derived from the script. When the form is completed select “Submit.”

28 ArcGIS Field Maps Collect Feature_frame

29. After submitting the new hydrant, the feature attributes and GNSS metadata can be displayed in a pop-up window by selecting the point from the map. This enables the field user to review the GNSS coordinates (including the ortho height, horizontal accuracy, fix type, and more). The new hydrant feature is synced back to the web map in ArcGIS Online in real time if the device has an internet connection.

29 ArcGIS Field Maps New Feature Pop-up Values_frame

30. After the form is submitted from Field Maps, the new hydrant location, attributes, and metadata are synced back to our web map in ArcGIS Online. The sync will happen in real time if a mobile internet connection is available in the field, or as soon as the mobile device connects to WiFi or a cellular network.

You can see that in this example, the proposed hydrant location we collected in Field Maps shows in our web map. The pop-up displays the attribute data from the template (e.g., “Project ID,” “Project Name”). It also shows the GNSS metadata fields populated from the Arrow receiver (e.g., “Correction Age: 1.00,” “Fix Type: RTKFixed,” “Horizontal Accuracy (m): 0.01”).

Also, notice that the field we manually added with our Arcade script, “Ortho Height,” has been populated with the calculated elevation in meters.

30 ArcGIS Online Synced New Feature Pop-up Values

Key Takeaways of Creating an ArcGIS Web Map for High-Accuracy Data Collection

As you can see, using a feature layer template in ArcGIS Online streamlines the process of creating a data collection workflow from scratch, all in a matter of minutes. We’ve shown you how to collect and store important GNSS metadata for every feature collected by the Arrow GNSS receiver. Your field crews will be able to use the Field Maps mobile app to collect standardized, high-accuracy GIS data using their iOS or Android device of choice and an Eos GNSS receiver. We’ve also shown you how to use the Field Maps field calculation tool to compute the orthometric height from the GNSS elevations collected by the Arrow receiver. Starting a GIS for your organization’s field assets has never been simpler.

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