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There are three different options for how your current location is formatted on the Location Status screen in TerraFlex:

                   Decimal Degrees                                 Decimal Minutes                           Degrees, Minutes, Seconds


You can choose your preferred format by tapping on the POSITION heading to cycle through the different options:

Join us for an informative webinar to learn how the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) surveyors and Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) managers successfully paired Trimble GNSS receivers with the ProStar PointMan mobile app to collect survey-grade utility locations and export the data into their Bentley MicroStation projects for precise, industry grade asset locations in utility, construction and survey specific workflows.


CDOT, along with many other DOT agencies, employs a specific utility coding system to manage its various utility assets as well as for easy standardized stylization.


  • Learn about the combined PointMan and Trimble solution workflows
  • Gain more insight into the utility, survey, and construction markets through a real customer example with CDOT
  • Hear directly from a CDOT Utility and Railroad program manager on why Trimble and ProStar have the best solution for their needs



Tuesday 9 June, 2:00 PM MDT



Rob Martindale, PLS, Program Manager, CDOT Utilities and Railroads, CDOT

Ben Skogen CPM, PointMan Product Manager, ProStar Geocorp

Stephanie Michaud P.Eng, Strategic Marketing Manager, Geospatial Field Solutions, Trimble Inc


Register for the webinar here.

As you know, Trimble Positions Desktop add-in stores projects and sessions in a database that we keep "behind the scenes" as much as possible. When you first installed the software, you would have used the Desktop Configuration application to create a new database configuration. This is typically a Jet (.mdb) or SQLite (if you installed the drivers) database, but can generally be any ODBC database connection that you've defined. This database has a schema (set of tables) that does get updated periodically as we develop new functionality that requires it. In previous versions of the software when we made a schema change, we required you to use the Desktop Configuration application to first update the schema by clicking the Test configuration link.



As a result of this requirement, we had recommended a "best practice" to be running the Desktop Configuration application after every upgrade just to validate and update the schema if necessary.


Starting at Trimble Positions Desktop add-in, this is no longer strictly necessary. The add-in itself will now self-update the database schema if required by that new version. You will be notified of the schema upgrade requirement the first time you run ArcGIS Desktop with the new version of the add-in loaded. You do have the option to not proceed with the schema upgrade if you would prefer to make a backup copy of the database first. This may be useful in situations where you anticipate a need to rollback to a previous version.



As a reminder, your project data will not be affected during these schema upgrades.

The Template Library stores all the templates you have created within your Trimble Connect project, enabling you to quickly add existing templates to a new map workspace. 

You can select multiple templates from the library to add to a new workspace at the same time. Hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click on the templates from the list. Once you’ve selected them, click the Use button to link those templates to the workspace, or choose the Duplicate option if you want to make copies of the original templates.


You can bookmark your favorite map workspaces from Trimble Connect directly in your browser. When you need to open a map workspace click the bookmark and you’ll be taken straight there, you don’t load them through the Trimble Connect application first!


The TDC150 is a fully integrated, high-performance, easy-to-use handheld GNSS field computer for GIS data collection and management. With flexible accuracy options, this fully rugged, versatile device is ready for all of your field data projects.

In the webinar Trimble Mapping & GIS expert, Dan Colbert, discusses:

  • The key features/benefits of this device and how they can help you be more productive in the field
  • Choosing the right accuracy option to suit your workflow
  • How to maximize handheld-only use even when accurate positioning is required with a virtual pole system


Watch a recording of the webinar on demand here.

The Trimble License Manager is where you can assign licenses to your field users for applications like Catalyst, Penmap, SiteVision, and TerraFlex. Before assigning licenses to your field users, you need to add them to the License Manager.


Accessing the License Manager:

The Trimble License Manager can be accessed via the link Once there you can sign in using your Trimble ID.

Screen shot of Trimble License Manager


Adding Users to the License Manager:

To add users to the License Manager click on the Users tab on the left. If you only need to add one or two users, click the Create User button and enter the user's email address and name.


Bulk Importing Users to License Manager:

If you need to add a larger set of users then there are two methods for bulk importing users - from a CSV file or from a Trimble Connect project.

Screen shot of Trimble License Manager


Import from CSV File:

To import users from a CSV file, click Import Users and select From a file. Add their First Name, Last Name, and Email Address separated by a comma on each line.

Screen shot of Trimble License Manager


Import from a Trimble Connect Project:

If you are using an application that utilizes Trimble Connect projects like SiteVision or TerraFlex you can import users you have already added to your Trimble Connect project. Click Import Users and select From Trimble Connect. Then select the region and project you want to import users from.

Screen shot of Trimble License Manager

How to start a 30 day TerraFlex Trial for Trimble Connect

Sign up, Sign in, Get TerraFlex


Sign into Trimble Connect

TerraFlex uses Trimble Connect to set up and organize your data collection projects, and to share data with other people in your organization.  Once you create a Project and add a Map Workspace, you’ll Publish templates for use with TerraFlex.


Download TerraFlex to your mobile device for data collection.

The TerraFlex trial begins once you sign in to TerraFlex.

Download TerraFlex and Sign in

A TerraFlex trial lasts for 30 days and allows a user to collect up to 200 forms during those 30 days.  Once you finish the trial, you can purchase a subscription to continue working on the TerraFlex project you were using during the (30 day / 200 form) trial period.

Felicity Boag

Tip of the Week

Posted by Felicity Boag May 7, 2020

How to Create a Trimble ID for TerraFlex

Go to Trimble Connect is the cloud platform for creating and managing your TerraFlex data collection projects.

Click on “Sign in” on the Trimble Connect landing page.

Trimble Connect Sign in

Click on “Create new Trimble ID” now fill out the Create your account form.  Click on Create a new account.  Once you click on Create new account, you will be sent an email.  Click the link in the email to activate the Trimble Connect account.

 Create New Trimble IDCreate your accountemail to activate the account

Trimble Corrections Hub is an automated corrections service that is bundled with Trimble Catalyst. Thanks the efforts of the Trimble Positioning Services team, the availability of corrections through the Hub (or TCH) now covers the entire continental United States, further improving the availability of high precision positioning 'out of the box' when using the Trimble Catalyst service. As of the day of publishing this blog post (May 2020), TCH now supports accuracy down to 10cm (RMS) in even more places, with RTX Fast coverage available in more than 3.5 million square miles in North America. 


This expanded coverage means that even more Catalyst users can benefit from the TCH 'zero-config corrections' workflow. The latest coverage maps are available on the Catalyst webpage.



North America Trimble RTX Fast Coverage Map

RTX Fast coverage has expanded to cover most of North America.
Catalyst subscribers are provided access to RTX through the Catalyst service and depending

on the level of subscription, delivers precision down to 10cm in real time.

This blog post discusses the basic concept of elevation, and the various ways that it can be expressed - particularly as it relates to GNSS receivers. We will cover terminology including ellipsoids, HAE, mean sea level, MSL height, geoids, geoid height, and orthometric height. After reading this article you should understand what these terms mean, and how to best interpret the data from your Trimble GNSS receiver so that you can be confident in the data you base your decision making on.

A common support request received by our Global Services team is to provide an explanation as to why the elevation output from a GNSS receiver doesn’t match what the user expects to see - sometimes with differences of tens of meters in elevation between an observed GNSS elevation and the elevation of a reference coordinate compared to the published coordinates recorded for historic reference monuments such as those available through the National Geodetic Survey for users in the USA.

The answer is normally that a user is comparing apples with oranges. Both elevation coordinates are usually correct - but are measured against different points and frames of reference. To understand what we mean, we need to understand how GNSS receivers normally work, and what frame of reference they are using. .


Ellipsoidal Height (Height Above Ellipsoid, or HAE)

Elevation is the vertical difference between two points. GNSS elevation refers to the height you are measuring with your GNSS receiver, relative to a known reference surface.

However because the earth’s surface is highly irregular (e.g. due to geology), and ever changing (e.g. due to tectonic motion) making accurate calculations from this surface at a global scale is very difficult. So to simplify the calculation of elevations, geodesists use geometrical approximations of the earth’s surface to base the calculations on.

The approximated geometric shape used to represent the earth’s surface is a type of “vertical datum” called an ellipsoid (which is another word for a three-dimensional ellipse). Elevation at the surface of the ellipsoid is zero. Elevations measured above the ellipsoid surface are reported as positive elevations, and elevations measured below the ellipsoid surface are reported as negative elevations.

Ellipsoid surfaces can be defined very accurately using mathematical formulae, and so provide a very convenient way for mapping and surveying devices (like Trimble GNSS receivers) to create highly accurate digital measurements of the physical world.

Question: I thought the earth was a globe. Why do we use an ellipsoid, and not a sphere to represent the earth?
Answer: The earth is not perfectly round - and is in fact slightly wider (by about 42.7km) than it is tall. Ellipsoids allow a more accurate approximation of the earth’s surface.

Using a highly accurate mathematical model of the earth’s ellipsoid (the most common of which is referred to as the WGS84 ellipsoid), elevations relative to the ellipsoid based on a current GNSS position can be very accurately measured. Elevations using this method of measurement are referred to as heights above ellipsoid (HAE), or ellipsoidal height. HAE values can be either positive (for elevations above the ellipsoid surface) or negative (for elevations below the ellipsoid surface). HAE is the default value output by most GNSS receivers, and depending on the type and accuracy of your receiver, HAE can be computed to very precise values.

But there is a problem with HAE values - they are not very practical in real-world terms. Most practical use of GNSS is done relative to real-world features. And in the real-world the earth’s surface is not a perfect ellipsoid. The earth’s surface has mountains, valleys, and oceans and lakes (which also have mountains and valleys and other surface deformations). For most practical purposes the most intuitive elevation reference surface is “sea level.”
For example, it is not uncommon for a GNSS receiver to report an elevation (while standing on the beach) of +10 metres HAE. For the measured elevation to make sense it needs to be transformed to a different reference datum.

Geoid illustration

Mean Sea Level Height (MSL)

The most common vertical reference used in everyday language to represent altitude or elevation is the idea of mean sea level or MSL. For example, Denver, CO, is often referred to as the Mile High City. By an amazing stroke of good luck, the 13th step on the west side of the State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet above mean sea level – one mile high.

Fun fact: Because the earth is dynamic (due to tectonics), and due to improving technology for measuring elevations, measured elevations change over time, based on redefinition of where sea level is and better surveying technology. Because of this, there are actually three separate 5,280 feet markers on the Capitol steps. The original, one from 1969, and another one from 2003.


Your GNSS receiver usually outputs a global MSL in the standard NMEA receiver output. Global MSL on a traditional GNSS receiver is generally based on a relatively coarse (and therefore imprecise) 10-minute by 10-minute grid, which is used to determine the offset between the reference ellipsoid and MSL at any given location on the earth. This relatively low resolution calculation can make the reported MSL elevations output by GNSS receivers off by several meters or more. This is fine for some applications, but for others (e.g. high accuracy mapping of underground assets) that’s a problem as local deformations and changes are not sufficiently accounted for.



Geoid illustration

A geoid is a highly accurate model of the local gravitational forces in a specific region of the world. Gravity force is affected by the density and structure of the earth’s surface. This means that in denser, and higher areas of the world the measured gravitational force is different to that of low-lying, less dense areas. This change in local gravity has an effect on the observed sea level at any given location.

Geoids measure the effects of variances in the local gravity on MSL using a sophisticated geometric representation of the actual physical shape of the earth. Each location or region in the world has its own local geoid(s), and these get updated from time to time; as measuring techniques change, or as the land deforms, local geoids are updated and re-released.

The current vertical datum in the United States is called NAVD88 (North American Vertical Datum of 1988) which incorporates the latest geoid model (see below; GEOID18). This will be changing in the next couple years.

Elevations, computed against localised vertical datums are computed using a highly accurate reference height (usually the ellipsoidal height calculated by your GNSS receiver), and this is referenced against the geoid model for the local area.

The geoid can be thought of as the detailed 3D surface of the earth. The shape of the geoid is the shape that the ocean surface would take under the influence of the gravity and rotation of the earth alone, assuming all other influences (such as winds and tides) were absent. The geoid surface is extended through the continents. Because of the massive size of our planet, it is difficult to visually distinguish the variance in surface gravity, and so digital renderings of the geoid tend to exaggerate the differences (by a factor of up to x10,000 or more) so that they can be visually seen. Below is an example of the visual representation of the Geoid showing the undulations and variations in the surface of the earth’s gravitational field. Here, geoid undulation is rendered in false color, with shaded relief and a vertical exaggeration scale factor of x10,000.



Image credit: By International Centre for Global Earth Models (ICGEM) - / Ince, E. S., Barthelmes, F., Reißland, S., Elger, K., Förste, C., Flechtner, F., Schuh, H. (2019): ICGEM – 15 years of successful collection and distribution of global gravitational models, associated services and future plans. - Earth System Science Data, 11, pp. 647-674,DOI:, CC BY 4.0,


Geoid models

A geoid model is a grid of numeric values representing the geoid in a given region. It is similar to the MSL grid found in a GNSS receiver, but is defined with much higher resolution, is far more accurate, but is only applicable to a specific geographic region. Geoid models allow accurate conversion between ellipsoid height (HAE) and a mean sea level height based on a specific, local vertical datum. The geoid model can be interpolated to calculate an offset value called the “geoid height” or “geoid undulation" at the specific location being measured/calculated. This is the number we must use to convert between a global height referenced to a reference ellipsoid and a local height. This elevation is called orthometric height and is a much more usable and relevant height reference for most applications.

Fun fact: The etymological root of the word “orthometric” is the Greek prefix “ortho”, meaning “straight”, “upright”, “right” or “correct”.


Calculating orthometric height

Orthometric height is a relatively simple calculation:


H = h - N

H = Orthometric Height, the elevation value that is defined in terms of the local target vertical datum
h = Ellipsoidal Height, the elevation above or below the reference ellipsoid of the GNSS receiver
N = Geoid Height / Undulation, the difference between the geoid and ellipsoid in the current location

Geoid illustration


Orthometric height is the type of elevation data that surveyors, engineers, and other field workers need to work practically and accurately.

Depending on your field application or workflow, your software may calculate orthometric heights for you. Trimble Mobile Manager allows you to specify the latest geoid for your region, and the geoid file will be automatically downloaded to the app. Using the undulation information in the geoid file, the orthometric height is calculated directly in the app, and output alongside the ellipsoidal height.

For more information on using geoids and calculating orthometric heights in Trimble Mobile Manager, check out our 4 part series of blog posts: Orthometric Heights with Trimble GNSS & Esri Collector.



Banner image credit: 

In the previous post in this series, we outlined the field side configuration for Trimble Mobile Manager (TMM) and Esri Collector to take advantage of the newest features in TMM. In this final post in the series, we bring it all together with the data collection in the field.


Collecting Data

With configuration complete, you are ready for data collection in Esri Collector with orthmetric heights, directly with the field with your Trimble or Spectra Precision GNSS receiver. 

  1. Select the desired web map in Esri Collector and proceed with data collection activities. This will immediately initiate the connection to the GNSS receiver as specified in the Location provider. The GNSS banner at the top will display the current accuracy, as well as the accuracy required (if configured).
  2. To view GNSS details, click the banner to open the GPS details screen. This will display a detailed list of current GNSS properties, including battery level for external receivers. Information presented is nearly identical between native receiver connections and location sharing (mock location) connections.
  3. To collect data, click the + button, select the feature subtype or template (if required), and fill out the attribute information. For point geometry layers, a position is already captured while for line and polygon geometry layers, controls are presented for vertex and streaming options. When you are complete, click the check mark in the upper right corner of the screen. You will see a feature detail view in the bottom half of the screen (which can be dragged up for full screen) and this will show the popup info configured in the web map, including the Arcade expressions for HAE and MSL.

  4. For online workflows, feature edits are made directly on the hosted feature layer while for offline workflows, feature edits are made in a local geodatabase that must be explicitly synchronized.

  5. Whenever you re-open a previously used web map, the last used Location provider will be used and a receiver connection will be attempted. If the receiver connection is not available, you will be alerted.


Note: If you need to make changes to the GNSS configuration in TMM during data collection, best practice is to close Esri Collector completely, make the changes in TMM, verify expected results in TMM, and restart data collection in Esri Collector.

In the previous post in this series, we outlined the office configuration side for ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap for users of Esri Collector and the latest release of Trimble Mobile Manager (TMM). In this post, we describe the field side configuration of the workflow.


Configuration in the Field

You can proceed with field device configuration by installing Trimble Mobile Manager version (or higher) and Esri Collector for ArcGIS version 2020.1.0 build 2913 (or higher) from the Google Play store or other means.


Configuring Trimble Mobile Manager

  1. Open Trimble Mobile Manager (TMM) and login with a valid Trimble Identity. You can create a new (free) Trimble Identity if you do not already have one by following in the link in middle of the sign-in screen. You will only need to sign-in once every 30 days.

    Note: If you are creating a new Trimble Identity, for consistency you may want to use the same email address associated with your ArcGIS Online account.

  2. Once you are logged in to TMM, tap the three-line menu button to open the list of screens you can navigate to and select GNSS Configuration. Here, you will configure your real-time correction source and the transformation settings for the output of your receiver.
    1. Set the GNSS correction source. To use 'on-board' GNSS corrections such as SBAS, RTX (device subscription required), or in the case of Catalyst, Trimble Corrections Hub, select Auto. To use an Internet-based source (single base or VRS), select Custom local and provide the connection details in Protocol, Server URL, Port, Mount point name (if NTRIP), Username (if required), and Password (if required).

      One of the most important settings to make for custom local correction sources is the GNSS source reference frame. This information will be provided by your real-time network provider. When you open this list, you will see a list of current, common global and local datums used by correction sources around the world. You will also see an Auto item at the top of the list; picking this option will use your current location to select the most current local datum for your region. When picking a datum, or when using the Auto option, you are indicating that the reference epoch should be used (e.g., NAD83 (2011) epoch 2010.00); this is typical for most correction sources. However, in tectonically active areas like California, correction sources may use a different, intermediate epoch. Use the Customize epoch switch and the Epoch entry box to specify this.
    2. Set the GNSS output (see screen capture above). The first selection you will need to make is that of reference frame Detection mode. Use Same as source to pass the positions directly to the data collection application without applying any transformation. Use Auto to auto-detect and transform positions into the most current local datum for your region. Or finally to self-select the local datum you want to use, use Select from list and pick the specific, global or local output reference frame (reference epochs only) that you want to use.

      Based on the selections made in the GNSS source reference frame and Epoch, and the GNSS output Detection mode and Frame, TMM will apply the optimum set of static and time-dependent datum transformations to adjust every position passed to the data collection application.

    3. Set the Geoid (see screen capture above). This is where the selection is made for calculating MSL from HAE. By default, a coarse, global geoid (EGM96) is provided. To select a more accurate, local geoid, open the list and select the desired one for your region (there may be multiple available). TMM will download the geoid grid file (GGF) for the selected geoid from a Trimble cloud service if it is not already on your device. An Internet connection is required for this step. It is also possible to side-load GGF files by copying them into the GeoData folder in Android shared storage.

  3. With the GNSS settings made, it is now important to verify your configuration. This involves two steps: selecting the position source (receiver) and connecting to the position source.
    1. Use the three-line menu button to open the list of screens and select Position Source. Using the GNSS receiver type list, select Trimble Catalyst, Trimble R Series (e.g., R1/R2/R10), Spectra Precision Series (e.g., SP60/SP80/SP85), or Integrated (e.g., TDC150). For Bluetooth receivers (Trimble R Series and Spectra Precision Series), use the Scan Bluetooth button to find and select your receiver.
    2. With the appropriate receiver selected, use the three-line menu button to open the list of screens and select Home. You should see your selected receiver indicated next to the words Connect to… under the GNSS icon. Use the Connect to switch on the screen to connect to your GNSS receiver. A summary of the connection information is displayed in the Status area while a more complete enumeration of GNSS status is displayed in the Status screen, accessible through the three-line menu button, or by a long tap on the Satellite icon on the Home screen.

      Note: For GNSS receivers with native support in Esri Collector (Trimble R1, R2, R10, R12, TDC150, and Spectra Precision SP60, SP80, SP85, and SP20), you MUST disconnect from the receiver in Trimble Mobile Manager at this point. If on the other hand you are using a receiver that Esri Collector does not yet support natively (Catalyst, Nomad 5 + EM100), or perhaps more importantly, you want to share the receiver connection between multiple applications (like Survey123) and will thus use the location sharing workflow, you MUST leave the receiver connected in Trimble Mobile Manager. In that case, you will also need to enable the Share location setting in Trimble Mobile Manager. This is found in the Application Settings screen. This also requires you set Trimble Mobile Manager as the mock location provider in your Android device’s Developer options. Check your device manufacturer's documentation for how to access this setting. At this time, the Share location workflow cannot be used with Esri Collector on a TDC150 or SP20 as it will always try to make a native receiver connection on those platforms.

Configuring Esri Collector

Open Esri Collector and sign-in using your credentials. Once signed in, you will see a list of web maps you have access to. It’s important first to configure the two Location settings in Esri Collector. These are both available in the Profile screen, accessible by clicking on the person icon in the upper right corner of the screen. The steps below are only a summary; for a complete description of Esri Collector functionality, refer to the Esri Collector documentation.

  1. In the Profile screen, locate the Location section. To connect to a receiver, click the Provider item to access the Location providers screen. (See Esri documentation here). If using a TDC150/SP20, TDC600, OR the location sharing workflow, use the Integrated provider option. Use the stacked-dots menu to access Details where you can set the Antenna height. Remember NOT to include the ARP/APC offset value as this is handled automatically; you need only to specify the height of your range pole.

    For Bluetooth receivers (Trimble R Series, Spectra Precision Series), click the + Add provider item to open the list of currently available Bluetooth devices. Devices that have been previously used or paired will appear at the top of the list. When you select the desired device, you will have the ability to set the Antenna height as described above.

    A newly created provider will not be current until you select it and it appears in the Current section at the top of the screen.

    Once your receiver antenna height is configured and set as the current Location provider, return to the Profile screen.
  2. To setup the appropriate coordinate system handling between the GNSS positions from Trimble Mobile Manager and Esri Collector, click the Profile item to access the Location profiles screen.The Default profile assumes that all GNSS positions received are in the “WGS84” reference frame and thus datum transformations will be applied if the coordinate system of the web map is anything other than that. (See Esri documentation here).

    If you want explicit control over coordinate systems and transformations used, tap Profile to open the Location profiles screen, then tap the + Add profile button to open the Add profile screen.
    1. Select the GNSS coordinate system. The setting made here should match what you specified as the GNSS output in Trimble Mobile Manager (step 2b above). Note: Trimble and Esri nomenclature is different but documentation is available to help match up the wording. What Trimble describes as a datum (or reference frame when includes epoch), is generally equivalent to what Esri describes as a geographic coordinate system.
    2. The second step is to select the Map coordinate system used by the web map(s) you intend to use. This may frequently be WGS 1984 Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere) but could very likely be a local coordinate system. The reason you have to explicitly select it (it is part of each web map after all) is that the Location profiles sit outside of the web maps and can be used between different web maps. Esri Collector will alert you if you end up using a web map that has a mismatched coordinate system with the currently selected location profile.
    3. If needed, select the specific (static) datum transformation that you want Esri Collector to use when transforming positions between the GNSS and the map. This requires you to set an Area for data collection so that a sorted list of available datum transformations (sorted based on accuracy) can be presented. Although you will typically select the first item in the list, you can select the one that you believe best fits your data and workflow. This will likely require field verification.

    4. The final step is to name your location profile by entering a Profile name.

      Your newly created location profile will not be current until you select it and it appears in the Current section at the top of the screen.

      Note: With the availability of both static and time-dependent datum transformations in Trimble Mobile Manager, it is recommended that you do as much of the geodetic handling in TMM as possible. In particular, if you are working with Trimble RTX, you should set your local frame as the GNSS output reference frame in TMM as well as making it the GNSS coordinate system in Esri Collector’s Location profile. That will provide the most accurate transformation path between GNSS and the map.

  3. Optionally, use the Accuracy setting in the Collection area of the Profile screen to set an accuracy threshold for all collected features. (See Esri documentation here).

  4. With the appropriate selections for Location provider and Location profile, you can exit the Profile screen.


Continue to Part 4: Collecting Data...

In the previous post in this series, we summarized the new features in Trimble Mobile Manager 2.3 (TMM), and provided an overview of the workflow between Esri Collector and TMM. In this post, we describe the office side of the workflow in more detail.


Configuration in the Office

To take advantage of this new functionality, and record features with orthometric heights in the field, you will first need to make sure your ArcGIS web maps and feature layers are properly configured with Z-enabled geometries and Esri-standard GNSS metadata fields. Esri has a wealth of documentation available for this (try starting here), but the basic steps are:

  1. If you are starting with on-premise geodatabase infrastructure, use ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap to create point, line, and/or polygon feature classes that are Z-enabled and author a map document with the desired symbology.

    If you know of templates or existing feature layers in ArcGIS Online that are already Z-enabled and otherwise meet your needs, you can start with them. It is not currently possible to change an existing 2D feature layer into a 3D, or Z-enabled feature layer.
  2. For point feature classes in a geodatabase, use the Add GPS Metadata Fields geoprocessing (GP) tool in ArcGIS Pro, or a downloadable Python script for ArcMap, to add the Esri-standard GNSS metadata fields. (See Esri documentation here)

    The standard Esri Collector behavior for high accuracy workflows is to store the HAE value in the ESRIGNSS_ALTITUDE metadata field (for point feature classes) and the MSL value in the Z portion(s) of the feature geometry.

    If you are working with existing feature layers in ArcGIS Online, you can also use the same GP tool in ArcGIS Pro to add the GNSS metadata fields to them. If you are starting with templates, you will have the choice of adding all GNSS metadata fields when your new feature layer(s) are created.
  3. Esri Collector for ArcGIS uses web maps that contain editable feature layers. In order to create a web map, you can either publish your feature classes to a (web) feature layer and create the web map in ArcGIS Online, or you can publish the web map and (web) feature layer all from ArcGIS Pro. Regardless of how you create your (web) feature layers and the web map, you will need to make sure that the feature layers are editable by the desired field users, otherwise the web map will not be visible in Esri Collector. (See Esri documentation here)
  4. Both Esri Collector for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online use the web map Pop-up settings to control how feature attributes are displayed. Once you have a web map, you can edit these pop-up settings to display the MSL height values. (See Esri documentation here)
    You will want to use an Arcade expression to display the Z value of the feature geometry. Here are sample Arcade expressions to display a rounded numeric value for MSL and HAE:
    MSL Arcade expression (meters)
    Round(Geometry($feature).Z, 2)
    HAE Arcade expression (meters)
    Round($feature["ESRIGNSS_ALTITUDE"], 2)
    Technically, this can also be configured through ArcGIS Pro prior to publishing the web map if you choose that publishing route.

    Note: As ArcGIS Online moves to a newer map viewer (available now in beta), functionality of Arcade expressions in the existing map viewer may be limited.
    Note: Both MSL and HAE values will always be represented in meters in this version of Esri Collector. If you require different units, you can add the conversion to the Arcade expression above.
  5. With an Arcade expression-enabled web map containing editable, Z-enabled feature layers with GNSS metadata fields, you are ready to move to the field device(s).


Continue to Part 3: Configuration in the Field...