When a user starts filling out a form, the geolocation of that user is automatically captured as metadata. This capture occurs when a form is initiated (not when it is submitted). Some caveats:
- This is a permission-based. When the app launches for the very first time, a popup window will appear when you first initiate a form, requesting permission to capture location data. If the user denies this, then the geolocation will not be captured.
- This only works with the native mobile apps. It does not work with laptops or desktops running the web version of the mobile app.
If you turned off location services for XForms, you can turn it back on manually. On an iPhone, go to Settings > XForms > Location and change the setting from “Never” to “While Using the App”. Here’s what that looks like:
The XForms reporting dashboard, located at dashboard.xformsweb.com, has a simple mapping page where you can view the location where your submitted forms were initiated. This module of XForms is still quite rudimentary…a future release will improve the functionality of the map layer. For now, you can toggle between different form templates/types and date ranges. Here’s what that looks like:
Export geolocation data to Excel
Captured geolocation data can also be exported directly to Excel for further processing. To do that, go to the Forms screen, select your form template, define your date range, and then click on the ellipsis icon (3 vertical dots) on the top right of the screen. When you click on the ellipsis icon, a tiny popup window will appear with “Download Forms Data”. Click on that, and an Excel file will download to your desktop.
Here’s a screenshot of a typical download file. Scroll to the far right to view your geolocation (lat/long) data. Note that if you see any zeros or blank values it means that the location information was not available (meaning that the form was filled out using the web browser version of the mobile app, or the user did not give XForms permission to capture the location.
Extract geolocation data via RESTful APIs
You can also extract the metadata—including geolocation data—programmatically via the XForms APIs. Depending on your needs, this can be fully automated. For example, you could create an integration between XForms and ArcGIS Online, whereby geolocation data and sample location information could be extracted out of XForms and plotted on ArcGIS. Here’s an example snippet of metadata in JSON format:
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