Tips on learning ArcPad

If you’re new to field GIS and mapping, you don’t have to learn everything about ArcPad to get immediate results. Begin learning ArcPad by reading the topics in the Getting Started section of this Help. Next, refer to the Tutorials at the end of this help. The Tutorial section shows you how easy it is to work with ArcPad to accomplish your field mapping goals. ArcPad comes with the data used in the tutorials, so you can follow along step by step on your mobile device or desktop computer. You can also read the tutorials without using your computer.

Finding answers to questions

Like most people, your goal is to complete your tasks while investing a minimum amount of time and effort on learning how to use software. You want intuitive, easy-to-use software that gives you immediate results, without having to read pages of documentation. However, when you do have a question, you want the answer quickly so that you can complete your task. That’s what this guide is all about—getting you the answers you need when you need them.

This guide describes how to add your geographic data into your ArcPad map, explore the data, and organize and manage the data. Although you can read this user guide from start to finish, you’ll likely use it more as a reference. When you want to know how to do a particular task such as collecting GPS position coordinates, just look it up in the table of contents or index. What you’ll find is a concise, step-by-step description of how to complete the task. Some sections/topics also include detailed information that you can read if you want to learn more about the concepts behind the tasks. You may also refer to the glossary in this guide if you come across any unfamiliar terms or need to refresh your memory.

Getting help in the field

ArcPad includes a ‘Quick Reference’ guide for the tools and buttons on the ArcPad interface which can be easily used in the field.

Getting started with ArcPad Templates

There are many ArcPad Templates available as a starting point for creating your own ArcPad projects. Templates highlight specific applications of ArcPad technology to solve industry specific problems. These templates vary from tools to applets to forms, all of which illustrate the practical benefits of ArcPad.

For templates created prior to April 2010 refer toArcScripts. There are two categories to browse on this site, ArcPad and ArcPad Application Builder. Both contain useful templates for users of all levels of experience.

For templates created after April 2010 refer to the ArcPad Gallery on the ArcPad Resource Center.

Learning about ArcPad Studio

For more information about customizing ArcPad and ArcPad Studio, refer to the Appendix at the end of this guide, or the Customizing ArcPad help file (Start>All Programs>ArcGIS>ArcPad 10>Developer Help).

Using the ArcPad sample data

ArcPad includes five sets of sample data to get you started: Redlands, Elmore, Riverside, Rhode Island, and World. These data sets are used in the tasks throughout the guide so that you can easily follow along. To load the sample data onto your Windows Mobile device, from the Start menu, click on Programs>ArcGIS>ArcPad 10>ArcPad Deployment Manager. You can choose which sample data to install on your Windows Mobile device.

Redlands, California, USA

The Redlands sample data includes the following layers: an aerial photograph from DigitalGlobe (jp2), shapefiles for parks, railroads, school boundary areas, streets, and trees, a graphics layer (FieldNotes), a photo layer, and georeferenced photos. The trees data was provided by West Coast Arborists, Inc. The streets data was provided by TeleAtlas. The QuickBird image of Redlands was provided by DigitalGlobe, Inc.

Elmore, Victoria, Australia

The Elmore sample data includes the following layers: an aerial photograph (.jp2), shapefiles for customers, rail, road, sewer manholes, pump stations, out flow, pipes, rising mains, connection points, morphology, parcels, land use, and zoning. The Coliban Region Water Authority, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia provided some of the Elmore sample data.

Riverside, California, USA

The Riverside sample data includes a personal geodatabase and an ArcGIS map document (MXD). The personal geodatabase includes subtypes, domains, and relationship classes. The ArcPad Data Manager extension for ArcGIS was used to extract data from the personal geodatabase into an AXF file. The AXF file includes the following layers: poles, streets, major roads, sewer lines, parcels, and parks. The poles layer has two related tables: lights and light inspections. The Riverside data was provided by the City of Riverside, California.

Rhode Island, USA

The Rhode Island sample data includes ArcPad StreetMap data for the state of Rhode Island. The ArcPad StreetMap extension needs to be installed in order to use the Rhode Island sample data. The data was provided by Tele Atlas (Copyright © 1984- 2006 Tele Atlas).


The World sample data includes the following layers: world cities, rivers, lakes, world time zones, countries, and ocean. The World dataset is very large so you would most likely only use portions of this data on your Windows Mobile device. Learn how to export data for ArcPad using ArcGIS Desktop in section, ‘ArcPad Data Manager for ArcGIS’.

Contacting Esri

ArcPad users who are currently on maintenance can contact Esri technical support for help. If you need to contact Esri for technical support, or simply wish to see information available to all users, refer to

For quick information, and to share ideas with other users, refer to the ArcPad User Forum at

For tips and tricks from the ArcPad team refer to the ArcPad team blog at

Esri education solutions

Esri provides educational opportunities related to geographic information science, GIS applications, and technology. You can choose among instructor-led courses, Web-based courses, and self-study workbooks to find education solutions that fit your learning style. For more information, go to