The ArcPad Team Blog

Unofficial stuff from the team behind the World's leading mobile GIS platform

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Enthused by the ESRI UC? Undertake ArcPad Training in Oz

If you werent able to make it to San Diego this year, but are enthused by all the news from the UC and the recent ArcPad 8.0 SP release, RIA Mobile GIS are offering Using ArcPad training courses around Australia just for you. For more info, go to

Saturday, July 18, 2009

US Census 2010 Address Canvassing Project

From the ESRI UC 2009 Plenary Session.

US Census Chief Geographer- Mr. Timothy Trainor - announced the successful completion of the US Census 2010 Address Canvassing Project - "by far the largest deployment of mobile GIS in the World ".
The Address Canvassing project utilised over 140,000 enumerators and canvassed 145 million addresses in every street of the U.S.A. - HUGE numbers!
As a testament to the strength of the project planning and execution , which included ArcPad and the ArcPad team over many years, Mr Trainor announced that the very tight schedule of 11 weeks had been not only met but better by 7 days.

Labels: , , ,

ArcPad Login Form


A common field data collection requirement is to automatically store the field worker's name in an attribute. This allows captured/edited features to be traced back to the field worker responsible for the captured/edited features. This sample applet demonstrates one approach to supporting this requirement.

The applet consists of a login form with the following behavior:
  • When ArcPad starts, the user is presented with a login form
  • The field user can select his/her name from the list of valid users
  • If the field user refuses to login, ArcPad will exit
  • The selected name is stored in an user property that can be retrieved from any script

To customize for your project:
  • Replace the included Logo.jpg with your own Logo.jpg file
  • Replace the included UserNames.dbf with your own UserNames.dbf file

To retrieve the selected user name in a script:

Dim selectedUser
selectedUser = Application.UserProperties("LoggedInEmployee")

For example, if your layer has an attribute called EMPLOYEE, you can use the following code in the OnLoad event of the layer's Edit Form:

Dim pForm
Set pForm = ThisEvent.Object

If (2 = pForm.Mode Or 3 = pForm.Mode) Then
   pForm.Fields("EMPLOYEE").Value = Application.UserProperties("LoggedInEmployee")

End If

Set pForm = Nothing

To deploy the applet:
Copy the applet files (Login.apa, Login.vbs, Logo.jpg, UserNames.dbf) to the ArcPad applets folder and start ArcPad.

Download this sample from ArcScripts at:

Friday, July 17, 2009

"I Love ArcPad 8"

Jack and Elvin share an "I love ArcPad 8" moment at the ESRI UC 2009

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Very Spatial Podcast LIVE

Watch Elvin being interviewed by Very Spatial crew.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Data and Synchronization with ArcGIS Server

ArcPad now has the ability to synchronize data directly with ArcGIS Server out of the box! No coding or development environment required, just a couple of wizards! On Friday 9th May 2009 we published an instructional blog to show this capability of ArcPad. This blog will talk in more depth about the benefits of providing this functionality.

  • Organizations that have already invested time, money and effort in deploying standalone ArcPad projects can now set up Server synchronization with little or minimal change to the original project and workflows.

  • Data synchronization methods can be “mashed up”

So, let’s go into these points in a bit more detail.

Migrating Existing Projects

We were aware that many users that have previously created ArcPad projects that may have, in many cases, extensive customization within the AXF from custom forms to automated calculations. So if you want to (or have) migrate your personal geodatabases to the ArcGIS Server environment you can take ArcPad with you!

Within the ArcPad Data Manager you have the provision to use previously created ArcPad AXF’s as a template to extract the data/schemas from the server environment. When you do this, all of the customizations that have been previously set up will deploy in the new AXF. If you want to create an AXF with datasets that have previously been in separate projects you can also link to several AXF’s as templates which is a very powerful benefit.

When you install the ArcPad Server Extension a folder called ArcPadPublications is installed in your \ArcGISServer\ (on your AGS machine). Once you have processed the mxd for Server an APO file is created next to the mxd (see pic). In ArcCatalog (as the previous blog entry shows) you can now set up a Map Service with ArcPad functionality (different to Mobile Data Access).

Once the map service is set up working in ArcPad is business as usual. Users are merely going to download data from the server (using the Add data from server) rather than have it stored on a card or the device*. Once data has been edited within ArcPad, users simply post the changes using the “Synchronize data with ArcGIS Server” tool (once again see blog below).

*This is the standard approach however the next topic will discuss some different methods of deploying data for ArcPad.

Synching “Mash Ups”

Most people refer to “mash ups” within the world of web pages and collating information from different locations. So why did I choose to use the buzz phrase? Well, ArcPad allows users to mix the variety of check in/out methods that are available to tailor a robust method to get data in and out of mobile, desktop and server environments easily.

Previously I mentioned how users can deploy an AXF through the server environment and that from ArcPad you can update the server through live synchronization. What if you were a user that had a device that had no network communication (such as 3G) or in a remote location with no coverage? Obviously in both scenarios no one can update to the server directly, so ArcPad allows the functionality to still check in the data using conventional methods i.e. connecting a device to a desktop computer (not the server) and running the standard check in process available. This means that field workers have a lot of flexibility in the way communicate between ArcPad and ArcGIS when they want to submit there data.

Apart from the ArcPad Data Manager, ArcPad installs its own Toolbox that can also help with distributing datasets. The check in/out processes can be written as part of a larger geoprocessing tool that organizations may have already built that process and analyze data. Now the model can process, analyse and distribute in one process.

Finally, here are some other distributing data methods. If you don’t want to use server to synchronize data automatically (or if you don’t have the license), you can create deployable CAB or ZIP files. Depending on the environment you are deploying too will determine which you choose – CAB for windows mobile and ZIP for desktop/tablet environments. If you have the appropriate software, data can also be added to these files to make a single install such as applet files that might have some custom tool buttons to use for a project.

As you can see there are many methods that you can use to deploy data to devices through manual processes, but with minimal configuration of enterprise data and ArcPad projects you can rapidly get your existing work flows up and running within the ArcGIS Server environment without using a single line of code!

For more information on these topics please head to the Online ArcPad help documentation and see the ArcPad Data Manager section or even post a thread on the ArcPad forum on ArcScripts.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Indispensable GIS"

Check out the cover of the latest issue (July 09) of GIM International magazine.
When you want to illustrate "Indispensable GIS" you naturally select ArcPad ;)

Labels: , ,

ArcPad 8.0 SP1 - USB GPS Support

With the release of ArcPad 8.0 Service Pack 1, comes additional support for USB GPS Devices.

In response to users requests, ArcPad 8.0(SP1) now has improved detection of both Bluetooth Serial Port or generic USB GPS Serial Port devices using the NMEA, TSIP or SiRF protocols. This represents a significant advancement in GPS support for ArcPad Users.

SP1 now allows users to plug in USB GPS devices and, using the find GPS tool in the GPS Preferences drop down, search, locate and list these additional devices. After plugging a USB GPS device into a USB port on your PC, start ArcPad, go to GPS Preferences and verify your USB GPS appears in the drop down list.

For devices with a COMxxx name, it will appear at the top of the protocol list with "COMxxx: (Device's Friendly Name)". For devices without a COMxxx name, it will appear at the bottom of the protocol list with "(Device's Friendly Name)".Once the name has been selected, either the device's COM port number or the device's friendly name will be saved to ArcPadPrefs.apx file inside the My ArcPad folder in My Documents.

Whilst this is a major step forward, it's still a work in progress. ArcPad doesn't yet support the Garmin binary GPS format with work still progressing in this area.

ArcPad's Real-Time Use in Disaster earns award.

Victoria Police have released the following news story:

Fires see a technological world first
Friday, 10 July 2009 01:52

In a field of 100,000 Geographical Information System (GIS) users worldwide, Victoria Police will be internationally recognised as the first organisation to transmit critical information directly from a fire affected area to the command post. It may not mean much to a “lay” person but according to 30-year American fire mapping veteran, Tom Patterson, this is “a really big deal in the wildland fire service and the GIS world.” Equipped with handheld computers that had a digital camera and GPS built into them, police on the ground were able to send information about the progress of searches to a central point which was displayed on a map. Police at the command post could look at the map online and see the areas that had been searched in real time, enabling them to make fast tactical decisions. According to Acting Senior Sergeant Greg Barras from the Water Police there had been talk worldwide of the need for real-time information in natural disasters, but it wasn’t until the Victorian bushfires that Victoria Police proved it could be done. “We were police with no formal training in GIS but had a load of support with offers of assistance from all over the world. “Within days, Tom Patterson flew in from Redlands, California to help out. We had software companies sending us the technology, gratis.” Acting Senior Sergeant Barras, who will be leaving for the San Diego ceremony tomorrow to receive the special achievement award next Wednesday 15 July, said it was a great coup for the organisation. “We have been using similar technology for years, but the transmission of data from the fire front was world-first.”

ArcPad 8.0 Service Pack 1 is available for download

Just in time for ESRI's user conference this week in San Diego, ArcPad 8.0 Service Pack 1 and ArcGIS Server ArcPad extension 8.0 Service Pack 1 is availble for download at ESRI's support website:

The service pack addresses some specific issues from the ArcPad 8 release. It includes a number of bug fixes and new developer samples. For a complete list of issues that had been addressed in the service pack, please see the ArcPad 8.0 SP1 Readme file.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

ArcPad at ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit

ArcPad is being featured at the ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit because of it deployment during the devastating February bushfires that swept throught 220,000 hectares of Victoria, Australia .

A short sharp overview will be available:
5 Minute Lightning Talk
Monday, July 13, 04:30pm - 06:30pm
SDCC, Room 6A (across from Sail Area)
Presented by Sgt. Greg Barras, Victoria Police

Stg. Barras was Situation Unit Leader , tasked with overseeing the GIS field data collection following "Black Saturday". As well as the initial Missing Persons searches, GIS and Arcpad in particular were used for the coronial searches of 5,781 properties.

In depth sessions which will feature Sgt. Greg Barras, Steve Forbes, ACT Emergency Services Agency (Part of the MAPS team) and ESRI's Wildland Fire Specialist Tom Patterson include:

Wildland Fire Special Interest Group meeting
Tuesday, July 14, 12:00pm - 01:00pm
SDCC Room 17B

Demo Theater
Tuesday, July 14, 04:30pm - 05:00pm
Public Safety Showcase

Demo Theater
Wednesday, July 15, 05:00 - 06:00pm
Public Safety Showcase

Law Enforcement Special Interest Group meeting
Thursday, July 16, 12:00 - 01:00pm
SDCC Room 17B

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Magellan Professional Introduces GPSDifferential™ for ArcPad 8

Magellan® Professional Enriches MobileMapper™ 6 Offer With Post-Processing Extension For ArcPad 8.

Read the press release :

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Welcome Gareth

After some time with ESRI UK , Gareth Walters has decided to return to God's own country.

We are fortunate that Gareth has chosen to join the ArcPad team and bring his first hand ArcPad experience with Local Government and with customer support assistance through system design and software implementation to enhance our testing and user experience programs.

Welcome Gareth!

Labels: , , ,