Tracking surveys

Learn where, when, and who is capturing data with your survey.

Where are people capturing data?

A user's response can include location data, providing either the location the survey response was sent to or a user-defined location.

By default, the Survey123 field app tries to capture the location of your device. If your device provides a location, it will be used as the default location if your survey has a geopoint question. Typically, a user can overwrite that location by providing a location on a geopoint question. Sometimes you may want the end user to not be able to change their location and to always use the location that the device provides. If this is the case, add a read-only geopoint question to your survey. The map control will still appear, but the user will not be able to move the location. Alternatively, you may want to hide the map control. To do this, create a survey with no map question. The Survey123 field app will still capture the location for you if it's provided by the device.

A default location of 0,0 is captured in the Survey123 web app unless the survey author has enabled the capturing of a device location with a map question using a point. Geotrace and geoshape questions do not capture a device's location in the Survey123 field app or web app. Instead, a location used for your survey must be either input by the user or provided through calculations or a default geometry.

When is data captured?

When editor tracking of a feature layer is enabled, ArcGIS will keep track of when the data is received. Although the field is hidden in the Survey123 website, you will be able to see that field if you load the survey data (the feature layer) into ArcGIS Pro or Map Viewer in your browser. Be aware that the CreationDate field will not tell you when the data was captured. This field tells you when the data was saved into the ArcGIS feature layer.

If you want to know when the data was captured, you will need to add a new type of question to your survey spreadsheet. This question will not be visible to the end user. The XLSForm specification describes it as part of the metadata section of your survey and it is called start.

You can add this question anywhere in your survey. Again, the question will not appear in your form, but the Survey123 field app will capture the time when the user started the survey, and that information will be persisted when submitted. If you use the question type end, you'll also capture when the user finished the survey. Having both can be useful if you want to measure how much time it took to fill out the form.

When using the start and end type of questions, your feature layer will immediately become time-aware. Load your survey data into Map Viewer in your browser, and a slider bar at the bottom of the viewer allows you to animate data over time.

Who is capturing data?

When editor tracking of a feature layer is enabled, you'll always know who is submitting forms.

Editor tracking automatically stores the username used to sign in to the Survey123 field app as a new attribute in survey entries. You can view this information on the Data tab in the Survey123 website. In the table of results, click the Plus button and select the editor tracking fields to display. The Creator field shows you who submitted a particular record.

If someone in your organization were to edit the data submitted after the fact, the Editor field would reflect the name of that person as well. You'll know who captured the data in the field and who, if anyone, edited the data once submitted. The EditDate field also appears automatically and references the time when the data was edited.

If you want to capture the email address of the person who submitted the data, you can also add a question of type email to your form as described in XLSForm essentials.