MobileMap: Photos

Overview of Photo Functionality

MobileMap supports various functionality with regards to photos. Capturing photos within MobileMap, as opposed to using the standard camera functionality of your device, enables the following functionality:

  • Auto-resize and rotation of photos

    • Modern mobile devices increasingly use high quality cameras that produce large photos. While this can be helpful, it can also produce image files that are much larger in size than is needed. This can result in data storage problems both on the mobile device and the destination storage location (e.g., network file server, OneDrive, InventoryManager, Spatial CMS). MobileMap allows you to choose the desired resolution for photos (Settings > Photos > Output Photo Size). When resizing photos, MobileMap will also rotate them appropriately. Without this, often times photos orientation is only encoded in the metadata (EXIF) and does not display as expected in every application.

  • Auto-naming of photos

    • MobileMap automatically names with the date and time of photo capture (e.g., 1_15_2021_14_45_59.jpg) to help with data management. By including the time down to the seconds, it helps reduce the chance that photos collected by other users will have conflicting file names.

    • MobileMap can optionally embed the name of the attribute field used to collect the photo into the photo file name if desired. This can be helpful when more than one attribute fields are used to collect photos (e.g., Photo_North vs Photo_South).

  • Organization of photo file locations

    • MobileMap will write all photos into a date-specific folder in the selected data directory, which is typically on a MicroSD Card. This allows users to easily identify the location of photos and copy them to a PC or network file location based on the date they were captured.

  • Support for upload (when enabled in InventoryManager or Spatial CMS)

    • For users that have an InventoryManager or Spatial CMS application, there is an option to enable direct upload from MobileMap to that web application. This must be enabled by a site administrator and will require MobileMap settings for the photo upload URL, username and password (not the same as the ArcGIS username and password used for uploading/downloading feature data, but only needs to be entered once in settings).

Photo Capture

MobileMap differs from some Esri apps in how it manages photos. MobileMap supports the capture of photos, but does not embed these photos into the data themselves. This helps decouple phots from spatial and attribute data and thus reduce the impacts that can result from the high volume of data produced by photos. With modern mobile devices, a data collection that includes many photos can easily result in a situation where greater than 90% of the data volume is in photos, even thought these photos may be less important than the geometry or attributes that were recorded in the field. MobileMap handles this by simply storing the photo file name as an attribute, and providing support for naming and managing the photo files separately from the spatial and attribute data collected with MobileMap.

To enable photo support in MobileMap, simply include one or more Text (String) fields in your data model that will be used to capture photos (and save the photo filenames). See for more information on defining the data model, including photo fields. It is possible to use more than one photo field in a feature layer (e.g., Photo_North, Photo_South, etc.). It is also possible to collect more than one photo per attribute field (e.g., collect 4 photos in the Photos attribute field).

To use a Text field for collecting photos, update the Photo Fields setting in MobileMap (Settings > Photos > Photo Fields) to include a comma separated list of ALL attribute fields that should be used to collect photos. Note that any field included in this list will be used for all layers. For example, if you include the field named ‘Photos’ then all layers that have that field will use the field for collecting photos.

When collecting or editing data in MobileMap, all photo fields will display a camera icon for collecting new photos and a pencil icon for editing (e.g., removing) photos. The text in the field will be read only.

In addition to collecting new photos, MobileMap can also support selection of existing photos. This can be useful when a previously taken photo is the best example for the current feature. This helps reduce the number of photos that must be taken and thus limits the file storage, upload time, etc. If this functionality is desired, check the Enable Selection of Existing Photos setting (Settings > Photos > Enable Selection of Existing Photos).

The typical process for collecting a photo is:

Collection of first photo

  1. Follow standard MobileMap workflows to create or edit a spatial feature, then scroll the attribute editor form to the desired photo field

  2. Tap the camera icon to open up the devices camera functionality within MobileMap

  3. Use the appropriate button to capture the photo (this will vary by device)

  4. Typically there is a need to confirm the photo

  5. Verify that a photo filename is displayed in the photo field

  6. To collect additional photos, repeat steps 2 through 5

Remove one or more photos

  1. Tap the pencil icon to open the photo deletion form

  2. Check the box next to one or more photos

  3. Tap done to complete the deletion. Note that this will delete the stored filename in this photo field but will not delete the photo file itself. This is because this photo may be associated with other features.


Photo Upload

If InventoryManager or your organization’s Spatial CMS application has been enabled for photo upload, a URL, username and password will have been established and saved into the MobileMap settings that are imported just following initialization of the database.

Once enabled, MobileMap will keep track of all photos that are captured from within MobileMap (but not photos that are captured using the default camera app outside of MobileMap). The list of photos is used to support upload of these photos to InventoryManager or your organization’s Spatial CMS.

To upload photos, select ‘Upload Photos’ from that Actions menu in MobileMap.  Select the photos you want to upload then tap ‘UPLOAD’.  You will see a progress bar advance and each filename will turn green when done.  If uploading just some of the photos, tap the refresh tool when done to see the list updated to show only those photos which photos have not been uploaded. 





Once photos have been uploaded, you should be able to log into InventoryManager or your organization’s Spatial CMS and review these photos. To verify that a photo has been uploaded, make sure that the photo’s associated feature has been uploaded (MobileMap > Actions > Upload Features), then search for or click on the feature in InventoryManager or your organization’s Spatial CMS. Typically there will be a photo panel on either side of the map, or in the tabbed tools interface in the upper left of the page. When a feature that contains photos is clicked, all photos for that feature will be displayed in the photos carousel within the photos panel. Use the left and right arrow buttons to navigate through the set of all photos for the selected feature.