The differences between our mobile GIS and Esri’s mobile ArcGIS software

If you’re thinking about investing in a mobile GIS, you’ll be doing a fair bit of research to make sure you get the right one for you and your business.

We’re glad you’ve come across Mappt, but you may have stumbled across Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS too, which is also downloaded onto a mobile device.

If you want to understand the differences between our data collection software and Esri’s, check out this breakdown of Mappt vs Collector…

Or if you’d like a simple feature comparison table of the two apps, check our latest blog here.




To use background imagery on Collector, it first needs to be optimised with the ArcGIS server and made available on ArcGIS online via an online map. Imagery is available offline, however it is limited or restricted to bandwidth. Background imagery (and other base data) can also be added to the device locally and accessed by Collector via adding a Tile Package that has been created separately in ArcGIS.


Be it ECW or JPEG 2000 (JP2), adding imagery to Mappt is incredibly easy. You can do this in several ways including:

  • via memory card or USB
  • downloading it to the tablet via Dropbox, Google Drive, or your FTP site

You can also add imagery via WMS/WMTS/WFS – be it from a feed or a third party. i.e DigitalGlobe Basemap, NearMap, USGS, etc. There’s no need to sync it with another suite and you can also cache these feeds on the device if you’re going to be in an area with little or no internet connection.

If you have a Mappt Professional licence, there is no imagery limit, otherwise there is a 1 gigapixel limit for Standard licence users, but never any extra costs or consuming credits.



Collector uses Esri’s spatial infrastructure (server, online subscription account, user credit) to create data collection projects. It also needs an ArcMap seat license to create data in Esri format, a subscription to upload it to ArcGIS online and the internet to create a dataset for Collector to use. Data is not exportable or transferable to memory cards. Data exported is a map and working layers need to be selected for editing.

This is a fairly long process as maps need to be optimised for imagery, so if you’re new to all this, you may need help from an expert in ArcMap, ArcGIS server, ArcGIS online or geodatabases.


Our mobile GIS can import and export data from QGIS, Esri Suite, Google, open source GIS programs, Global Mapper, CSV files, survey software, etc so it’s vendor agnostic’, meaning you can import and export data to your clients when they don’t have the full Esri suite.



Collector is free to download when you have purchased ArcGIS desktop software, which can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $7,000+ per year. It also can have hidden charges when you want to consume online subscription credits that require ArcGIS licensed seat. Expertise is also required in multiple products to set up, and access to online functionality (editing/storing data in ArcGIS online) is required for some Collector editing functions requiring Geodatabase access.


If you choose to upgrade from our free trial to Mappt Standard or Professional, you can either set up a monthly cancel-any-time plan from $19 (find out which licence is best for you here).

And we can’t forget about little Mappt Lite either, which is just USD $50 per year!

No credit structure, no credits to worry about it if you use it 24/7, no need to worry about how many ArcGIS licenses you have to run Collector, etc.



Editing data requires forms and maps to be set up via ArcGIS online. Data stored for editing on ArcGIS online consumes credits and functionality is limited when your credits have been used up.

You also need to select and set up layers via ArcGIS online. Once set up, this process provides a controlled environment that can minimize user error, however it also minimizes the user’s ability to change the collection format.


You can edit in the field automatically, or in the office, and simply sync it to Dropbox, Google Drive, your FTP site, or remove the memory card, etc for everyone to access. But again, you can also push everything through the Esri environment.



This is where ArcGIS online is useful to publish any number of different map templates out to an account that the Collector user can access.


Mappt addresses this via independent projects that are opened separately.



Most of Collector’s use is in an online environment, downloading templates and data, then saving the data back to a server. Collector does have a capacity for offline use (synchronizing when online), however this is set up once again in the back end.


Mappt is fully functional offline, so you can use it wherever and whenever without worrying about WiFi or 4G.  However, you must remember to cache your map before you head out into the field, or you’ll be adding features to a blank map.



Esri’s Collector allows for the creation of points, with its purpose being to choose from a predetermined selection of point types (e.g. tree, shrub, bush, etc), all of which have predetermined form data associated (e.g. genus, health, height, condition).


Mappt allows for the collection of points, polylines and polygons and it has “layers control” and “drop down forms”. Mappt can also collect form data against geotagged images, which brings us onto the next point.



Collector allows the user to either take a photo or insert one from the gallery and it will associate that photo with the form data for the location point.


Mappt allows the user to take a photo or insert one from the gallery, geotagging the photo to a location.



Collector relies on a connection back to ArcGIS Online (even if it was offline and synchronized later), from where it can access the information via various other dedicated Esri options. One of these options is another app that allows dashboard access for statistical analysis.


Mappt addresses exports via a variety of formats and a number of methods including file system, email, and Google Drive. You can also export data to other popular GIS, including QGIS and ArcGIS.

If you’d like a simpler feature comparison table of the two apps, check our latest 2017 blog here.

We hope we have answered a few questions for you, but if not, leave us a comment in the box below or send us an email.

If you’ve heard enough and want to give Mappt a try, head over to the Google Play Store for a FREE TRIAL.