Observations toolbox and survey (v 1.4) - updated 6/7/2022

This topic will be used to report updates to the Observations survey and toolbox. Follow the topic to receive announcements when new versions are released. For more information regarding the toolbox, survey, and Biodiversity Observation Data Standard, see this Solution.


NEWSFLASH: NatureServe  can now clone the (Observation, QC, and paged version) surveys and  related materials (dashboards, map, app) from the NatureServe AGOL  Organization to yours. See this solution for details. This saves tons of time and allows you to hit the ground running - collecting data in the field the same day!


Download/replace all files in the Observations.zip (v 1.4) file (updated 6/7/2022) to ensure you get all updated files. Following is a list of SOME of the changes:

Version 1.4

  • species query, Script 1 in Observations.atbx, documentation, Observations_EMPTY.gdb.zip - 6/7/2022
  • Spreadsheets, documentation, queries, zip files, toolbox updated - 5/25/2022
  • Documentation updated to include adding dropdown values for Survey & QC Status in conjunction with Batch edit tool on 6/8/2021.
  • Documentation & DIGITIZING_BASE_inserts.sql updated on 5/10/2021
  • Documentation updated on 3/29/2022

Survey (v 1.4)

  • Updated to Survey123 v 3.13.239
  • Available via web app
  • Increased performance and ease of updating data lists
  • Option to sketch or use vertex draw methods for lines and polygons
  • Detected & Dataset fields added to reflect Biotics
  • QC fields added for use with Dashboard
  • Removed Dataset and Reference sections as they are now accommodated within the Toolbox
  • Added fields: elevation (auto-calculated for automatically recorded point location, editable if point location manually edited), specimen collected?, family (hidden), egt_uid (hidden) (updated 5/25/2022) - see this solution if you had a previous version of the survey for details on which fields to add.
  • Changed Museum/Herbarium field to select_one dropdown list from open text (updated 6/7/2022)

Specimen Labels (Labels_Observations.docm)

  • updated 6/7/2022 - altered to include Scientific Name author and use new County/Municipality and State/Province fields.

Toolbox (v 1.4)

  • 1. Create GDBs and Files (updated 2/28/2022): improved attachment downloads to include spreadsheets so can easily crosswalk attachments (of any type) to survey response
  • 1. Create GDBs and Files (updated 5/25/2022): fixed bug when downloading attachments from zip files. Improved it to include spreadsheets for crosswalking attachments, as available when providing AGOL credentials. Also added calculation of county, state, and QRCode URL for records with specimen_collected = 'Yes'.
  • 1. Create GDBs and Files (updated 6/7/2022): changed to feature service which includes US Counties/States and Canadian Municipalities/Provinces
  • 3. Prep Data for Bulk Load Prep Toolbox (updated 5/25/2022): updated to export specimens_collected.csv containing records with specimen_collected = 'Yes', for use with Labels_Observations.docm to generate specimen labels.
  • Write an Observations_config.csv file to record inputs and minimize input prompts for user. (updated 3/19/2022)
  • Delete intermediate geodatabase created when downloading directly from ArcGIS Online (updated 3/30/2022)
  • Connect directly to Biotics to query for Visit/SF/EO IDs to:
    • identify updated Observations via parent/globalid
    • indicate IDs of resulting records created/modified in Biotics to provide link between Observation and Biotics record
  • Identify and generate SQL statements to add Visit record to an existing SF rather than create a new SF
  • Identify and populate Bulk Replace geodatabase with data which should replace an existing SF (spatial feature and/or tabular data) rather than create a new one
  • Populate destination table in Observations.gdb with Visit/SF/EO IDs & status (Included, Replaced, Modified)
  • Check Observations_MASTER.gdb for records with same globalid/parentglobalid as those in Observations.gdb. Deletes any such records in MASTER.gdb, assuming that edits have been made, to prevent duplication. Appends all observations to Observations_MASTER.gdb
  • Auto-generate SQL statements to populate following fields (until BX-4414 implemented)
    • SOURCE_FEATURES, where SOURCE_FEATURE_ID IS NOT NULL:
      • Data Sensitive, Data Sensitive Category, Data Sensitive Reasons
    • VISIT, where SOURCE_FEATURE_ID IS NOT NULL:
      • Detected
    • VISIT, where SOURCE_FEATURE_ID IS NOT NULL and ADD_VISIT is not NULL:
      • Visit Date, Visit Note, Visited By
    • EO, depending on...:
      • Data Sensitive, Data Sensitive Category, Data Sensitive Reasons, Condition of EO, Confidence Extent
      • 3/29/2022: Updated EO SQL statements to include SURVEY_DATE (always), LAST_OBS_DATE (if detected_ind = 'Yes'), FIRST_OBS_DATE (if EO_NEW and detected_ind = 'Yes')
    • EO_REFERENCE, where EO_ID IS NOT NULL AND UPDATE_EO IS NOT NULL:
      • Reference, Primary Reference, according to EO_REF_PRIM data

Download an empty zipped Observations_v14 geodatabase, should you wish to import data from other sources into the  geodatabase for use with the Observations toolbox, in order to Bulk  Create, Bulk Replace, Add Visits of SFs/EOs in Biotics. This can be done  using Append (ArcGIS Pro) (aka Esri's Simple Data Loader in ArcMap).



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