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Tip of the Week #19 - Trimble Positions & TerraFlex Desktop add-ins: Photo handling in TerraFlex workflows

By Matthew Morris posted 10-19-2020 01:00


When creating TerraFlex cloud projects through one of the add-ins for ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap), there are two photo handling workflows to be aware of.

Store Photos as Attachments (multiple photos per feature)

If a feature class has been enabled with attachments (available with a Standard or Advanced license of ArcGIS Desktop), then any templates published from it through the add-ins will always include a “Photos” field. This is a non-required, image-type field in the TerraFlex template that allows for multiple images to be added. This is why “Photos” is a reserved attribute name that should not be used in feature classes that will be included in TerraFlex projects.


When forms are downloaded from these projects, photos will be downloaded and stored as attachments per feature. Photo attachments are named with a unique string (guid) and are updated (not duplicated) if an existing form is edited in TerraFlex and re-downloaded.



In the TerraFlex Offline workflow only, features sent to TerraFlex through a task can include existing photo attachments and these will be available in the forms.


Project Type Availability: TerraFlex on Connect, TerraFlex on InSphere, TerraFlex Offline


Store Photo URL to an Attribute (single photo per feature)

As an alternative, a TerraFlex photo URL can be stored in a feature attribute. This may be best suited for customers who do not want to download photos to the geodatabase as attachments to the feature class, or perhaps who do not have the ability to use attachments because of ArcGIS Desktop licensing constraints. TerraFlex photo URLs will always be valid as long as the organization’s TerraFlex subscription is active.


In this case, the user can designate a particular text (string) attribute to be used for the photo URL. The same field name must be used across all feature classes where this functionality is desired. At the time of publishing, the add-in will look for an attribute with this name and if found, it will be created as an image-type field in the TerraFlex template, with the ability to store single photos only.


This workflow option is not exposed in the add-in Project Wizard and the user must make a small configuration change in the add-in system.config file in order to enable it. Please see the steps below:

  1. Determine what text field will be used for the photo URL. The text field should have a length of at least 200 characters.
  2. Locate the system.config file for the add-in:
    Trimble Positions Desktop add-in:
    TerraFlex Desktop add-in:
  3. Open the system.config file in a text editor and look for the following line:
    This is the attribute name that will be used for storing the photo URL. The default is “PhotoReferences” but you can change it to anything other than one of the system or reserved attribute names.
  4. Save the system.config file when done.
  5. Publish the projects as desired.


When forms are downloaded from these projects, the photo URL will be stored to the feature attribute as set above.


Project Type Availability: TerraFlex on Connect, TerraFlex on InSphere