Create the whale survey

First, you'll develop a whale monitoring survey using ArcGIS Survey123. This survey will collect information about whale sightings in an easy-to-use, multilingual form that the primarily Spanish-speaking Bahía Ballena community can access from their phones. You can create multilingual surveys either with an online web designer or ArcGIS Survey123 Connect, a program on your computer. While the web designer's simple user experience can create surveys more quickly, Survey123 Connect has more sophisticated survey options. You'll author this survey form in Survey123 Connect.

Start building your survey

When creating a survey, you can start from scratch or you can modify an existing survey. For the purposes of this tutorial, you'll modify an existing whale survey.

  1. Download the Whale_Survey compressed folder.

    This folder contains several data sources you'll need to complete this tutorial, including the survey form that you'll modify.

  2. Locate the downloaded file on your computer.
  3. Right-click the file and extract it to a location you can find easily, such as your Documents folder.
  4. Open the unzipped folder and, if necessary, open the Whale_Survey folder.

    The folder contains a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet titled Whale_Template.xlsx and a thumbnail image titled Survey123_Thumbnail.png. (The two compressed folders contain sample survey data and park boundaries that you can use to map and analyze survey data for more practice later.)

  5. Open ArcGIS Survey123 Connect.

    If you don't have Survey123 Connect installed, you can download it from the Survey123 Downloads page. In the Download ArcGIS Survey123 section, download and run the installer for ArcGIS Survey123 Connect and follow its steps to install the desktop app.

  6. Click the menu button and click Sign in.

    Menu button in the Survey123 Connect desktop app

  7. Sign in using your ArcGIS organizational account.


    To create forms in Survey123 Connect, you need an ArcGIS organizational account with publishing permissions. If you don't have an organizational account, see options for software access.

  8. Click New survey.

    The New Survey window appears. The window provides options to name the survey and choose to create a blank survey from an Advanced or Standard template. The advanced template provides significantly more options for customizing your survey. The standard template includes only those features that are supported in both the Survey123 field app and web app. You won't use either template because you'll modify an existing survey instead.

  9. For Title, type Whale Monitoring (and add your initials).
  10. For Create a new survey from, choose File.

    Next, you'll choose the file for the survey form that you downloaded.

  11. For XLSForm file, click Select.
  12. Browse to the location where you saved the Whale_Survey folder. Select the Whale_Template spreadsheet and click Open.
  13. In the New Survey window, click Create survey.

    After a few moments, the Whale_Template.xlsx file is converted into a survey form. When the conversion is complete, a form preview of the survey appears in the ArcGIS Survey123 Connect window. Additionally, the spreadsheet opens in Excel or your preferred spreadsheet application. Next, you'll compare the spreadsheet to the form preview.


    To edit the spreadsheet, you may need to click Enable Editing.

  14. Position the spreadsheet and form preview next to each other. Compare how the spreadsheet organizes and structures the survey questions to how the form preview formats and presents the survey content.

    Form preview and spreadsheet comparison

    The values in the label column of the spreadsheet correspond to the question titles in the form preview. Whale_Template.xlsx contains four worksheets, indicated by the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

    Four worksheet tabs

    • The survey worksheet is where you add the questions and customization for the survey.
    • The choices worksheet is where you define the potential responses to the questions in the survey. The first time you click this tab, the page contains default examples of how the page works. Entries on this page are the connection between the questions on the survey page and the potential responses that require more than one option.
    • The settings worksheet is where you can change the title, ID, and submission URL of the survey.
    • The types worksheet is where you can find a reference guide to various types and features you can add to the survey.

    You're currently on the survey worksheet. It consists of two sections—Columns A, B, and C and all other columns. The first column, type, defines the question format. Question types can range from multiple choice to a signature form. The name column defines a unique field name, while the label column defines the question text that appears in the survey. These three parameters are mandatory for each question.

    The remaining columns contain many more parameters to format questions, add logical expressions, set optional languages, and so on. Most of these parameters are optional or dependent on the certain types of questions.

    Next, you'll review the choices worksheet.

  15. At the bottom of the spreadsheet, click the choices tab and compare the question choices to the form preview.

    Comparison of survey choices

    In the choices worksheet, each row represents an answer choice. Answer choices with the same list_name field are part of a related set of choices and appear together for a question. As before, the label column determines the text that appears in the form preview for each answer choice.


    To learn more about the structure of the XLSForm, see XLSForm essentials.

  16. When you're done reviewing the choices worksheet, return to the survey worksheet.

Group questions

The Whale Monitoring.xlsx file that you've been provided with for this tutorial is almost complete. You only need to add a few final components. First, you'll group related questions into appropriate categories.

While reviewing the form preview, you may have noticed that the topics of survey questions vary from species sightings to weather conditions. In the current survey form, the questions appear as one long list. It would be useful to create two question groups. One group for questions related to sighting details and one group for questions related to the tour that made the sighting. To group questions, you'll modify the type column in the survey worksheet.

  1. In the survey worksheet, in the third row of the type column, click the cell and choose begin group.

    Begin group option

    The cell is now marked as the beginning of a group of questions. Later, you'll end the group. But first, you'll give the group a name and format the name using HTML code.

  2. In the third row of the name column, type sighting_details.

    Next, you'll add a label. Rather than use the default label format, you'll emphasize the group name by formatting it differently than the question names. You'll use HTML code to center the label in the survey (you can also change the color, size, and font).

  3. In the label column, type <center>Sighting Details</center>.

    Name and label of new group

    Next, you'll add a cell to mark the end of the group. The questions in rows 4 through 12 relate to marine life sightings, so you'll end the group after those questions.

  4. In row 13 of the type column, click the cell and choose end group.

    End group option

    You don't need to add a name or label to the end of the group, so your group is complete. You'll look at the group in the form preview to confirm it was formatted correctly.


    The Whale Monitoring.xlsx contains additional text that will be used when the resultant survey is completed on a device where the default language is set to Spanish. To facilitate using multiple languages, additional columns with labels in Spanish have been added. These must now include a language description, followed by a locale code in parentheses. This is intended for languages with multiple names or language descriptions, Spanish for example has two, 'Spanish' and 'Castilian'. XLSForm Multiple Language Support

  5. In the survey tab, change the column header label::es to label::Español (es).
    Update label and hint
  6. Change the label hint::es to hint::Español (es).
  7. In the choices tab, change the label label::es to label::Español (es).
  8. Save your Whale Monitoring.xlsx file.

    When you save, the form preview updates automatically.

  9. Switch to the form preview and confirm that the questions located in rows 4 through 12 of the worksheet are grouped together under the centered title Sighting Details.
  10. Next to the Sighting Details label, click the arrow to collapse the grouped questions.

    Form preview of the Sighting Details group

    The group is formatted correctly and functions properly. Next, you'll add a second group that includes all questions related to the tour, such as the captain's name and weather conditions. This group will begin at row 15 and end at row 23.

  11. In row 15 of the survey worksheet, add the following information:
    • type: begin group
    • name: tour_information
    • label: <center>Tour Information</center>
  12. In row 23 of the type column, choose end group.
  13. Save your spreadsheet and preview the survey to confirm the group was added and formatted correctly.

Test multilingual functionality

Tour operators and boat captains in Bahía Ballena are native Spanish speakers, so it's vital to have the survey form available in Spanish. Most of the Spanish language labels are already included in the spreadsheet. You'll add any missing labels and test the survey's multilingual capabilities.

  1. In the survey worksheet of the Whale Monitoring.xlsx file, scroll to the column for label::Español (es) (column P).

    The column name identifies the language. In this case, es is the ISO 639-1 code for Spanish. You can add as many language columns as you want. If additional languages are added, each language must be notated using its own ISO language code. You can also add translations to hints, constraint messages, and images.

  2. Compare the label::Español (es) column to the label column.

    Spanish labels

    The survey description and the question names have already been translated into Spanish. However, the groups you created do not have Spanish language labels.

  3. In row 3 of the label::Español (es) column, type <center>Detalles sobre el avistamiento</center>.

    Group label in Spanish

  4. In row 15 of the label::Español (es) column, type <center>Información del Tour</center>.

    Next, you'll test the language switcher in the form preview.

  5. Save the spreadsheet and switch to the form preview.
  6. Click the switcher button next to the survey title and choose Español.

    Spanish language switcher

    The survey switches to the Spanish language.

    Survey in the Spanish language

    The default language for the UI elements is determined by your device's location settings. For the tour guides and boat captains in Bahía Ballena, the survey will be displayed in Spanish automatically. Similar to how questions are translated in the survey XLSForm worksheet, answer choices can also be translated.

  7. In the spreadsheet, switch to the choices worksheet.

    Most of the choices have values for the label::Español (es) column. However, some do not.

  8. Locate the entries with list_name values of guide_captain and departure_loc.

    Spanish guide and departure information.

    The only translation provided for either of these sets of choices is for Other, which in Spanish is Otro. The other choices aren't translated because they refer to proper nouns. For all the other sets of choices, proper translations are already included.

Set default date and time values

It's useful to have some survey details prepopulate to save time and ensure uniformity. Most devices contain settings for date and time, so these fields can usually be filled in automatically. Next, you'll set default answers for date and time survey questions so that tour guides and boat captains won't have to spend time answering them. You'll find the values needed to set these default answers in the types worksheet.

  1. In the Whale Monitoring.xlsx file, switch to the types worksheet.

    The types worksheet is a reference of properties and operators that can be used within your form.

  2. Scroll down to the Default Values section.

    Default Values section of types worksheet

    The default value today() sets the default date to the current date, based on the settings in the user's device. You'll use this value in your survey.

  3. Switch to the survey worksheet.

    The fourth row of the worksheet contains a question about the date.

  4. Scroll to the default column (column J). In row 4, type today().

    Default value for date question

    The column next to the default column is the readonly column. The date question contains the value yes, which indicates that users will not be able to modify the answer. Because the answer will be automatically populated, this setting prevents users from accidentally changing the date.

  5. Save the spreadsheet.
  6. In the form preview, confirm that the date is automatically populated and that you cannot alter it.

    Date in English


    Every time the form preview is updated (which happens whenever you save the spreadsheet), the language switches back to the default language.

  7. Switch the survey language to Spanish.

    The date is automatically translated to the correct language.

    Date in Spanish

    Next, you'll change the question for the hour of sighting to also populate automatically. Instead of the today() value, you'll use a similar value called now(). This question is in row 5 of the spreadsheet.

  8. Return to the spreadsheet. In row 5, in the default column, type now().

    Default value for the hour-of-sighting question

  9. Save the spreadsheet. In the form preview, confirm that the hour of sighting is automatically populated.

Set a relevant question

Your whale survey is focused primarily on cetaceans (whales and dolphins). However, the current survey form also contains questions about turtles. It's useful to track sightings of turtles, but the primary focus of the survey is on marine mammals. Therefore, you'll change the question about the species of turtle to appear only if survey participants answer that they've sighted a turtle in a previous question. A question that appears only if a certain answer choice is chosen is called a relevant question. You can create relevant questions by using specific expressions.

  1. In the form preview, scroll down to the question for species of turtle.

    Species of turtle question

    This turtle question is only relevant if users chose turtle for the previous question. Otherwise, users don't need to see the question for the species of turtle.

  2. In the spreadsheet, scroll to the relevant column (column L). For row 7 (the species-of-turtle question), type ${species}='Turtle'.

    Relevant expression for species of turtle

    This expression means that the question for species of turtle is only relevant if the answer to the species question is turtle. You can use a similar notation with different question and choice values to set other relevant questions.


    To set a relevant question, the expression must use values from the name column, not the label column.

  3. Save the Whale Monitoring.xlsx file and switch to the form preview.

    The question for species of turtle no longer appears by default.

  4. For Species, choose Turtle.

    Turtle answer to species question

    Once you choose the relevant answer, the relevant question becomes visible. In a more advanced survey, you could add more relevant questions based on whether the survey participant is reporting a cetacean or turtle sighting. For the purposes of this tutorial, however, one relevant question is enough.

You've created a survey for whale sightings based on an existing XLSForm. You also edited the form to group relevant questions into categories, add Spanish language functionality, set default date and time values, and make a relevant question. All these changes have improved the usability of your survey and will help both survey participants and researchers.

Publish the survey

Previously, you changed some of the questions in your survey form to improve usability. Next, you'll publish the survey so tour guides and ship captains can use it to monitor the locations of whales and other marine animals. Before you publish it, you'll modify a few aesthetic aspects of the survey, such as its thumbnail and background color. You'll also add a map to the survey.

Style your survey

First, you'll modify the thumbnail and toolbar background color to visually differentiate your survey from other surveys in the Survey123 field app gallery (which is where users will access your survey).

  1. If necessary, open your whale monitoring survey in Survey123 Connect.
  2. In the form preview, click the Details tab.

    Details tab

    On the Details tab, you can modify the survey's title, provide a summary and survey description, and add a thumbnail.

  3. Click the default thumbnail image.

    The Select an image window opens. The Whale_Survey folder you downloaded previously contains a thumbnail image to use for the survey.

  4. Browse to the Whale_Survey folder and double-click Survey123_Thumbnail.png.

    Whale Monitoring thumbnail

  5. Update the Title, Summary, and Description with the following information:
    • Title: Whale Sighting Survey
    • Summary: A survey to record marine species observations
    • Description: The purpose of this survey is to allow tour guides and captains in Costa Rica to record observations of marine species, particularly whales and other cetaceans.

    The survey title appears when you open the survey from the gallery. It's not the same as the survey name, which is displayed in the gallery.

    Because tour guides and captains will use your survey in potentially bright light conditions at open sea, you'll also modify the colors of the basic elements of your survey for more visual clarity.

  6. Return to the Form tab and click the Style button (in the toolbar below your user profile icon).

    Style button

    In the Style pane, you can customize colors for the survey text, background, toolbar text, toolbar background, and input text. You can also use an image as the background of your survey.

  7. In the Header section, for Background color, click the palette button.

    Palette button for Header background color

    The Background color window appears. You can either choose a color or enter a color's hexadecimal code.

  8. For Basic colors, click the blue color in the third row and third column. Click OK.

    Blue color selected

  9. Optionally, experiment with the survey background color and toolbar text color to allow for more visual clarity.

Include a map in your survey

All surveys in Survey123 collect location data from the survey participants, usually from the user's device settings. The addition of a map is optional to your survey. However, an interactive map will usually provide more accurate and visible location information. You'll configure the map that appears when users answer the geopoint question, which prompts survey participants to mark the map where the sighting occurred.

  1. If necessary, open the Whale Monitoring.xlsx file.

    If you previously closed the file, you can open it from the ArcGIS Survey123 Connect window by clicking the Open XLSForm spreadsheet button.

    Row 22 of the spreadsheet contains a geopoint question.

    Geopoint question in the XLS file

    Geopoint questions allow users to capture a specific location in a survey. While survey responses in Survey123 will always attempt to capture a device's location even if a geopoint question is not included, a visible geopoint question on the form will capture location information as a single set of GPS coordinates.

    When you include a geopoint question, a map is automatically added to your form. Next, you'll configure the map to be centered close to the survey location in Costa Rica.

  2. In the ArcGIS Survey123 Connect window, click the Map tab.

    This tab contains settings for the map's default zoom level and location. You'll set the map's default extent to the decimal-degrees latitude and longitude values of the survey area.

  3. In the Preview map section, change Coordinate format to Decimal Degrees. In the Detailed map section, change Coordinate format to Decimal Degrees.
  4. For Detailed map, change the following parameters:
    • Zoom level: 7.4
    • Latitude: 9.651419416
    • Longitude: -84.03296485

    Map settings

    The map changes its default location to Costa Rica. You'll preview the map in the form preview.

  5. Return to the Form tab and scroll down to the final question (Location of sighting), and click the map.

    Location of sighting map button

    A map opens. The default location of the map is tied to your location settings. If your computer has no location settings enabled, the map zooms to Costa Rica, the default location that you specified.

  6. If necessary, click the home extent button to zoom the map to Costa Rica.

    Home button

  7. Click the back arrow to return to the form preview.

    You're now ready to publish your survey and share it with the public to enable anyone to record observations.

Share the survey

To make your survey publicly accessible, you must publish it and then make it a public survey so anyone with the link can participate. You'll make the survey public because you want to support community science initiatives and encourage guides, captains, and tourists to participate.

  1. Click the Options tab. In the Sent section, turn on Allow sent surveys to be edited.

    Options tab with Sent settings

    This setting allows other apps to display your data in a map.

  2. Click the Publish button.

    Publish button

    A window appears with a warning that once a survey is published, you can no longer alter it without losing data collected by the survey. Your survey design is complete and you don't expect more changes, so you can ignore the warning.

  3. In the warning window, click Publish survey.

    The survey takes a few moments to publish. When it finishes, a message informs you that publishing is completed.

  4. Click OK.

    The account that published the survey is the only account that can currently access the survey and collect data using a mobile device. Next, you'll share the survey so others can access it.

  5. Go to the ArcGIS Survey123 website. If necessary, sign in.

    Once you sign in, a gallery of your published surveys opens.


    If you were already signed in, you may need to refresh the page and click My Surveys at the top of the page to see your new survey in the gallery.

  6. On the Whale Sighting Survey tile, click the Collaborate button.

    Collaborate button

    The Collaborate page contains sharing options. The Link field at the top of the page is the link you can share so others can launch your survey. Next to the link are options to copy the URL, scan the QR code to open the survey on a device, and launch the survey in a new browser tab. Below the link, there are additional options that change the link so it opens the survey in the Survey123 field app.

  7. In the Share this survey section, for Link, select Ask the user how to open the survey, in browser or in the Survey123 field app.

    The value in the Link box updates to include an app link you can share with the public to launch your survey in the field app.

  8. Save the link via email or a messaging service so you can access it and take the survey on your mobile device.

    If you want your survey to be accessible to the public (and your organization allows sharing outside the organization), you must share it with everyone. Survey123 supports public surveys, which allows anyone to submit a survey without an ArcGIS account. Public surveys enable crowdsourcing and community science workflows.

  9. For Who can submit to this survey, check the Everyone (public) box.

    By default, when you check Everyone (public), your survey is also shared to Members of my organization.

  10. For What can submitters do, select Add and update records (read access enabled).
  11. Click Save. In the Share survey window that appears, click Save to share the corresponding web map.

Take a survey

Now that your survey is shared, you'll test it on the Survey123 field app using your mobile device. First, you'll install the field app on a smartphone or tablet, which are the types of devices the tour guides and captains will use in the field. Once you download a survey, you can complete it with or without Internet service. Surveys that guides and captains complete when the boat is out of range can be submitted later when a network connection is reestablished. You likely have Internet access, so you'll just test the survey while connected to the Internet.

  1. On your mobile device, go to your app store and search for and download the free ArcGIS Survey123 mobile app. Install the app.

    If you don't have an Android, iOS, or Windows mobile device, you can also download the field app for your computer from the ArcGIS Survey123 Downloads page.

  2. Access the survey link you shared to open the survey on your device, and choose to open the survey in the field app.
  3. In the field app, select Continue without signing in.

    To test, you can also sign in using your ArcGIS organizational account, and in the My Surveys gallery, select Download surveys to download the survey from a list of surveys available to your account.

    The app link you shared automatically downloads the public survey and loads it in the field app. (Depending on your device's settings, you may be asked to allow Survey123 to access your current location. If you decline, you might be asked again in the future. Either way, you'll still be able to conduct the survey.)

    Survey loaded in the field app

  4. Answer the survey questions as if you were a tour guide or captain observing a marine animal.

    What you answer doesn't matter; you only want to test the survey design on your mobile device. The final question of the survey asks for the location of the sighting.

  5. Select the map button to view the map.
  6. If necessary, select the home button to center the map on Costa Rica.
  7. Pan the map to center the pushpin on the observation location (anywhere on the ocean near Costa Rica).

    Location of sighting question with map location set

  8. Select the check mark to confirm the location and return to the survey.
  9. Select the check mark at the bottom to submit the completed survey.

    If you have an Internet connection, you have three choices: Send now, Continue this survey, or Save in Outbox. Other than Continue this survey, which brings you back to the survey in case you weren't finished yet, these choices determine when your survey responses will be sent to ArcGIS Online. Tour guides and boat captains will likely need to use the Save in Outbox option once they return to port and establish an Internet connection. However, they must manually send the data after they connect to a network. You have an Internet connection, so you'll send your survey now.

  10. Select Send now.

    After you send the survey, the app displays the My Survey123 page. You can choose to take the survey again or review the sent survey data.

  11. Select the tile for your survey. On the survey information page, select Sent.

    Sent button

    The app displays a list of your submitted surveys. Currently, you only have one. If you select a survey in this list, you can choose to view the responses, edit and resend the survey, or copy its data to a new survey. At the bottom of the app, you can select Empty to delete all the completed whale sighting surveys sent from this device. You'll keep this one and complete the survey a few more times.

  12. Return to the information page for the survey. Select Collect and complete and send the survey at least two more times.
  13. Test the Spanish version of your survey by selecting the menu at the top and choosing Español.

    Language menu to change from Default to Español

You've made a few aesthetic and usability changes to your survey and published it. You also downloaded the Survey123 field app on your mobile device and tested your public survey without signing in. Next, you'll review survey results on the Survey123 website and aggregate sample result data to find spatial patterns in whale locations.

Analyze survey data

Previously, you published and tested your whale monitoring survey. Tour guides and boat captains will use your survey at least nine months of the year, when whales and other marine species visit the Bahía Ballena area. Respondents are generally curious about both their own and other sightings. Potential tourists want to know the best times of the year and times of day to encounter whales and other marine species, while researchers want access to survey statistics. Tourists and researchers can view results in the survey's corresponding web map, which contains the submitted data and locations. For this tutorial, a sample set of survey results has been added to a web map that includes pop-ups with key survey information.

Mapping survey data is useful, but you can also analyze the results to gain greater insight into the location and frequency of whale sightings in the area. In this tutorial, you'll explore survey results in the Survey123 website, and then you'll use sample survey results to analyze spatial patterns. You'll answer the following questions:

  • Which protected area had the greatest number of whale, cetacean, and turtle observations during the four-month period when most tours take place?
  • How many humpback whale sightings occurred inside the boundaries of protected areas and how many outside?

Your analysis results will help scientists better understand the distribution of whales in the area and whether protected areas support increasing numbers of whales. Your results may increase participation by local guides and captains who have no previous GIS experience. They'll see that by collecting survey data, their contributions lead to a greater understanding of the marine life that visits the Pacific shores of Costa Rica.

Explore survey results

Before you run the analysis, you'll become familiar with what your survey results data contains. Although no one has submitted real surveys yet, you previously completed three test surveys on your mobile device.

  1. If necessary, sign in to the Survey123 website using your ArcGIS organizational account.
  2. On the My surveys page, click the Whale Sighting Survey.

    Your survey location and data will differ from the following example images.

    An overview of the survey responses appears. The overview lists the total number of surveys completed, the number of participants, and the dates of the first and last survey.

    Overview of surveys

  3. Click the Data tab.

    Data tab

    The Data page contains a map of survey locations and a table of survey responses. The map automatically zooms to an extent that displays as many of your submissions as possible.

  4. Click any survey record in the table.

    The map pans and zooms to the corresponding point location. In addition, a pane opens with details about the selected survey record.

    The Data page also includes options to export your data into additional formats for use by other applications.

  5. Click the Analyze tab.

    Analyze tab

    The Analyze page contains charts and maps that show statistics about your survey's results. For your whale survey, these charts help determine which whale species is most often observed and which times and dates have the most sightings. You submitted survey responses at nearly the same time, so the Hour of sighting chart probably has a large spike at a specific time.

    Hour of sighting chart

  6. Explore the rest of the charts and statistics on the Analyze page. When you finish, return to the Data page.

Add 2015 whale surveys

After creating your whale survey, you collected three fictitious sightings. You could use these for analysis, but the results would be meaningless with so few records. In this section, you'll open a web map with 76 mock surveys collected in 2015 that will provide a more meaningful analysis example. The map also includes a Costa Rica marine reserves layer that you'll use to summarize the number of sightings within protected and non-protected areas.

  1. Open the sample Whale Monitoring web map in Map Viewer and sign in. (You can also find it by searching for Whale Monitoring owner:Learn_ArcGIS in ArcGIS Online.)

    Marine reserves in the map

    The largest polygon in the marine reserves layer represents all the territorial waters off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, while the smaller three polygons represent marine reserves.

  2. If necessary, zoom in the map to see the points for the marine observations.

    Marine Observations layer in the map

    The sightings are clustered close to the coastline. Each survey point has a different symbol for each species.


    You can use ArcGIS Instant Apps to create a web mapping app from the mapped survey results to present the spatial information with a user-friendly interface for captains, tourists, and researchers. See the example app that uses the Sidebar template.

Aggregate points

Next, you'll analyze the data to answer two questions. First, you'll determine which protected area had the greatest number of whale, cetacean, and turtle observations during the four-month period these surveys were collected. Second, you'll determine the number of humpback whale sightings that occurred inside the boundaries of protected areas. You'll answer these questions by aggregating observations within specific areas.

  1. On the Settings (light) toolbar, click Analysis.

    Analysis button

  2. In the Analysis pane, click Tools.
  3. In the Summarize data section, choose Aggregate Points.

    Aggregate Points tool

    The Aggregate Points tool takes a layer of points and a layer of polygons and counts the number of points inside each polygon. The tool then creates a layer with the count of points listed as part of its attributes. You'll use this tool to determine the number of observations in each marine reserve.

  4. In the Aggregate Points pane, specify the layers for the following parameters:
    • Features to aggregate: Marine Observations 2015
    • Summary polygon layer: Costa Rica Marine Reserves

    Layers chosen to use in the tool

    Next, you'll decide some statistics for the tool to calculate using the attributes of the marine observations layer. While the tool will count the total number of observations within each area by default, there are more specific statistics that will improve your analysis. For instance, if you remember your original survey form, it was possible for a single observation to include multiple members of a certain species, such as a herd or family group. Thus, for a more accurate count of species observations, you'll find the sum of the respective field for each observation.

  5. In the Calculate statistics section, for Field statistics, click Field, choose Group size {Number}, and click Done.

    Calculate statistics parameters

    You'll accept the default statistic for Sum. Currently, these will be calculated for all points inside the Park boundaries, giving you the total number of observations regardless of species. However, it will be more useful if you can group the counts by each species. You'll also add percentages so you can compare the proportion of species observations.

  6. For Group by field, choose Species. Check the box for Include percentages of aggregated points.

    Group by field setting

  7. For Result layer, type Observations by Area. To make the output layer name unique, add your name or initials to the end.

    New items created by analysis operations must have unique names within your organization. Once the layer has been created, you can rename it in your map.

    When running an analysis, you can specify the extent of map features to include, such as the current map extent. Some of the marine reserves features extend beyond the current map extent, so you'll run the tool on the full extent of the input layer.

  8. Expand Environment settings and verify that Processing extent is set to Full extent.

    Result layer and processing extent settings

  9. Click Run.

    After a few moments, your Observations by Area layer is added to the map and the Layers pane. A corresponding stand-alone table is also added. The result layer is symbolized as polygon outlines, each with a point in the center. The size of the point represents the count of aggregated observations. At a glance, the Marino Ballena park seems to have the highest aggregated count of points.

    Marino Ballena NationalPark

    The default symbology is difficult to read, however. You'll change it to better visually represent the data and to correspond with the total number of species, not the number of survey responses.

  10. On the Settings toolbar, click Styles, and confirm that the Observations by Area layer is selected.
  11. For Choose attributes, replace the selected field with Sum Number.

    Styles pane with the Choose attributes setting changed to Sum Number

    When you change the attribute, the symbology changes to a gradient color pattern, where darker colors have more species observed. A legend is added to the map, which indicates that the highest number of observed species is 202, even though your layer had only 76 survey responses. Many surveys reported multiple marine animals.

    Sum Number legend in the map

  12. Click Done.

    Next, you'll open the Observations by Area table to see the statistics that the tool generated.

  13. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Layers. For the Observations by Area layer, click the Options button, and choose Show table.

    Show table

    The table contains four entries. The Name field for each of these entries corresponds to a feature in the marine reserves layer. The Costa Rica feature is not a reserve but represents the Pacific territorial waters of Costa Rica. While the highest count of points is in Marino Ballena (39), the Costa Rica territorial waters have close to twice as many actual species observations (sum of 233 compared to 128). However, compared to the two other marine reserves, Marino Ballena has significantly more species observations.

    You've answered the first question for your analysis: Which protected area has the most whale, cetacean, and turtle observations? The next question is how many humpback whale sightings occurred within the boundaries of protected areas and how many outside. When you performed your analysis, you also grouped the results by species. You'll examine the grouped results in feature pop-ups to answer this question.

  14. Close the table.

    To simplify viewing pop-ups for these four features, you'll turn off the layer of individual observations and turn on labels in the map.

  15. In the Layers pane, for the Marine Observations 2015 layer, click the Visibility button to turn off the layer.

    Visibility button

  16. On the Settings toolbar, click the Labels button.
  17. In the Label features pane, with Enable labels turned on, click Add label class.

    Add label class button

    The Name field is selected by default and the map updates to show labels for the observation areas.

    Map updated with name labels

  18. In the map, click the feature labeled Marino Ballena.

    A pop-up opens that includes the point count and total observations in Marino Ballena. Interactive charts show the percent of point count by species and the sum of each.

  19. Scroll to the bottom of the pop-up and click the next arrow. Point to the bars in the Sum Number by Species chart to see specific values.

    Marino Ballena pop-up with bar chart

    Closer examination indicates that most of the observations in Marino Ballena are humpback whales. A total of 75 humpback whales were observed during these sightings and 50 spotted dolphins.

  20. In the map, click the Costa Rica feature and explore the bar chart in its pop-up.

    Costa Rica pop-up

    As you learned previously, this feature corresponds to Costa Rica's territorial waters that are not part of any marine reserve. Based on the bar chart, 52 humpback whales were observed outside of national parks.

  21. Click the other two features in the map to see how many humpback whales were sighted in the other protected areas. Determine the total number of humpback whales observed inside protected areas.

    Altogether, 84 humpback whales were observed within protected areas, compared to the 52 observed outside of them. You've answered the second question of your analysis.

In this tutorial, you built a bilingual whale survey that tour guides and captains can use to collect marine animal data. Using ArcGIS Survey123, you modified an existing survey form to improve the user experience and test the multilingual functionality. Then, you analyzed the observations from sample survey results to answer questions about the spatial distribution of marine animal observations.

By participating in the collection of sightings, the Bahía Ballena community will better understand the humpback whale migration trends between December and April. Researchers can use the survey results to solve critical questions about where the whales migrate and calve and if their numbers increase or decrease as environmental changes occur.

You can find more tutorials in the tutorial gallery.