We have discussed the ArcPad Photo Layer and
including stand-alone photographs in your data collection in a previous blog – now let’s
take a closer look at including feature-associated photographs in ArcPad.
There are many ways to include a photographic record of your assets as part of your data collection project. You can include a 'Photo Field' in your data that will contain the file name of the photograph associated to that particular record. You can also include a related table to contain the file names of multiple photographs associated to a single record. This blog will describe the workflows used to take the Photo Fields from your data into the field using an AXF file and to then incorporate these photographs from the field back into your project. This involves using the ArcPad Data Manager Toolbar in ArcGIS Desktop.
Incorporating Photographs into your
ArcGIS for Desktop Workflow
define photo options in the any of three wizards (Get Data for ArcPad,
Configure Project for Geoprocessing, or Author Project for ArcGIS Server), you
will minimize the number of steps required to ensure that photos taken in the
field, return to the desired location on your network.
following diagram demonstrates where photographs are located during a typical
workflow and how they are moved.
In order to
use this recommended workflow for incorporating photos into your project, you
must start by ensuring you have fields in your geodatabase to store a text
string that will represent the photo path, and a location (local or network)
where you intend to store and use your photos from. When photos are returned
from the field you will then be able to use ArcGIS Desktop hyperlink tools to
view your photos.
Stage 1 of
the diagram above, represents the completion of one of the 'check-out' wizards.
When you complete the wizard, the resultant AXF will know which fields can
accept photographs and will contain the Photo Path, ready for use at check in
In each of
the three wizards:
- Get Data
Project for Geoprocessing
Project for Server
have the opportunity to nominate:
Field(s) for each feature layer
- a folder
for pictures to be copied to during Check-In
define Photo Field(s) for a layer, only those fields will appear in the Fields
drop-down on the Picture Page of the Feature Properties dialog in ArcPad. This
can be useful to ensure your users only add photographs to the fields you
nominate. Take care to ensure your field length is long enough to store the
file name and full path.
define a folder for pictures to be copied to at check in, two key actions will
occur at check in:
Photographs will automatically be copied to that location
- Photo Path
will automatically be pre-pended with the defined location.
NOTE: If you
already have photos associated to features in your layer, a copy of these will
NOT automatically be added to the check-out folder. If you wish to take them
into the field, you can copy them manually to your check-out folder.
In the Field
In the field
you can use either an integrated camera or separate camera to the data
collection device to capture photographs associated to features. For ArcPad to
be able to display the photographs in the field, they must be located in the
same folder (on the same device) as the AXF. If a separate camera is used, you
will need to copy them to the AXF location. Some examples of how to get photos
in the same folder are:
- Use a Memory Card to copy photographs between devices
- Use a WiFi
or Bluetooth connection to automatically send files between devices
collect a photograph associated to a new or existing feature in your data using
the Picture Page on the Feature Properties Dialog. If you are using a custom
form, your Feature Properties dialog box may not show the Picture Page. Custom
input forms can optionally hide the default pages of the Feature Properties
dialog box, including the Picture page. You can add the Picture Page to your
forms using ArcPad Studio.
Page is used to display the photo, or digital image file, that is associated
with the selected feature. The file name of the digital image is stored in a
field associated with the selected feature. A feature can have multiple photos
associated with it, but each photo file name needs to be stored in a unique
The bulk of
the page is dedicated to the preview of the photo, which is referenced by the
file name stored in the field selected in the Field drop-down list. The preview is a
field in which to store the file name of the photograph associated with the
selected feature using the Field drop-down list. ArcPad automatically populates
the Field drop-down list with field names that appear to be suitable for
storing photo file names if a photo field(s) is/are not specified during check-out. To do this, ArcPad looks for any text field - in the
Shapefile data table or in the ArcPad AXF file - that has a name containing the
words photo, image, or picture. The text field also must to have a minimum
length of 20 characters.
Rotate Icons to rotate the image 90 degrees to the left or right. The rotated
image is stored in the image file. Processing image files requires considerable
free memory to perform the computations. You need to ensure that there is
sufficient free memory on your device for ArcPad to perform the image
Camera Icon to open the Camera tool to capture a new photograph, using the
camera specified on the Camera Tab of the ArcPad Options dialog box. The new
photograph will be stored on your device and displayed in the Picture Field.
The image file name for the new photograph will be stored in the field selected
in the Field drop-down list.
Folder Icon to navigate to and select an existing photo on your device to be
associated with your feature.
associated photo can be changed by either using the camera button to open the
Camera Tool for capturing a new photo or by using the Folder Icon to choose an
existing photo on your device.
Returning Data and Photographs to
your Desktop or Network
field data, you must still first copy the data (AXF and photographs) to a
temporary location on your desktop or network. If you have been capturing
photos on a separate device, and only entering the file name into the feature
attribute in ArcPad, you can copy the photos from your camera directly to the
temporary folder (In the diagram, this workflow is represented by the dotted
The Get Data
for ArcPad wizard will automatically copy any photos found in the temporary
ArcPad project folder, to the folder nominated during check in. If no folder
was nominated, no photos will be copied.
I hope you are encouraged to incorporate photographs into your ArcPad Projects. Photographs can be a very useful tool in field data capture and photo support is a key feature in out-of-the-box ArcPad.