Get Data for ArcPad

This tool allows you to get data for layers represented in the active data frame and copy the data into a folder that can be transferred into a mobile device for use with ArcPad. Any feature or raster data in the active data frame can be copied out, including shapefile, coverage, geodatabase, and CAD data. You can also copy out any graphics present in the map. Data that is copied out is automatically converted into a format that ArcPad can use.

An ArcPad Layer Definition is created for each feature layer you choose to get. The ArcPad Layer Definition contains the layer properties that ArcPad supports, including symbology definition, scale dependencies, and basic labeling properties. You also have an option to create an ArcPad Map (APM) file referencing the selected data.

Geodatabase layers and their related tables can be checked out for editing in ArcPad, provided the layers and related tables are in the same geodatabase. The geodatabase layers and related tables that are checked out are exported to a single ArcPad Exchange Format (AXF) file. The Get Data for ArcPad tool automatically creates data input forms for checked out feature classes and related tables that are present in your ArcGIS Map document (MXD).


Forms will only be created for related tables that are present in your MXD (that is, tables that are visible in the table of contents). The existence of a relationship class between a feature class and a table is not enough; the table must also be present in your MXD.

In addition, when checking out geodatabase layers, you can select an existing Layer Definition from a shapefile or ArcPad AXF layer to use as a template. This allows you to reuse forms, scripts, icons, and other layer definition elements.

It is recommended that you always check out from a version of your geodatabase (if you are using a versionable geodatabase), and never from the DEFAULT version. Checking out from this field version will allow you to verify all field edits that have been checked in before applying the edits back to the DEFAULT version. If you have multiple field users and your workflow allows the possibility for more than one user to edit the same feature, then it is recommended that you create a version for each user as children of the field editing version. This allows for conflict detection between field users as well as verifying all field edits before applying the edits back to the DEFAULT version. However, if required, you can check out from and check in to a nonversioned geodatabase.


ArcPad check out (and check in) differs from geodatabase replication. The ArcPad Data Manager does not automatically create a version at the time of check out. Versioning must be planned and implemented before ArcPad check out is performed. For more information on versioning, refer to the ArcGIS Desktop help topics regarding working with versioned data, in particular, Version scenarios.

Once data is checked out the resultant ArcPad AXF file can be copied and distributed to multiple ArcPad users. Each ArcPad AXF file copy can be checked in individually, or as a batch, allowing multiple edits to be performed in the field by multiple users.

All edits in ArcPad, including adding features and related table records, deleting features and records, modifying attribute values, and changing feature geometry can be checked back in to the geodatabase. Edits are replayed to the geodatabase in the same order as they occurred in ArcPad.

The Get Data For ArcPad tool is disabled if the active data frame does not contain any layers that can be copied into ArcPad. For example, layers representing geodatabase annotation, dimensions, and ArcIMS feature services are not supported.


Some geodatabase concepts (such as feature class to feature class relationships) are not supported by the ArcPad Data Manager. Please refer to Preparing your data for ArcPad for more information


When you choose the Get Data for ArcPad tool Get Data for ArcPad, the welcome screen appears. You can disable the welcome screen by selecting Do not show this welcome page again.


Select Data Options

Click Next and the Select Data dialog box appears.

Select Data

Layer Icons

Layer icons can be customized by clicking icons in the Layer column and choosing an ICO file. These icons are used by ArcPad as the icon for that particular layer. If you select a definition template on a layer that has an existing customized icon, it will be overwritten by any icons in the definition template.


Displays the name of the layer. Relationship classes for geodatabase layers are also displayed together with the layer name.


If you have any graphics in your Map document you will also see a Graphics layer on the Select Data dialog box. Choosing Exporting graphics to APG file from the Action tab (see below) for this layer will result in one or more ArcPad graphics files being created at the completion of the wizard. If all graphics are stored in the Map documents default annotation group, then a single ArcPad graphics file called Graphics.apg will be created. If graphics are stored in annotation groups in the map document, an ArcPad graphics file will also be created for each annotation group, with a file name matching the annotation group name.


On the Action tab you have the option of setting the action on an individual layer or you can choose to set the same settings for all the layers. When you click on the Action tab, the following list appears.


Folder or Database

Displays the folder or the geodatabase where the layer is located.

Layer Definition Template

When checked, the Open Layer dialog box is displayed, allowing you to choose an existing Layer Definition from a shapefile or ArcPad AXF file to be used as a template. This allows you to reuse forms, scripts, icons, and other layer definition elements.

Select Picture Options

The next page in the wizard is the Select Picture Options dialog box.


Displays the name of layers that can have picture options defined. Only those that have been selected for check out or copy out in the Select Data dialog box are listed. Both feature classes and their related tables are listed.

Select picture options

Picture Field(s)

On the Picture Field(s) tab you have the option of setting which fields will contain photo hyperlinks. Only text fields are listed. Multiple fields can be selected. For example, when you click the Action tab against the Riverside sample data poles layer, the following list appears.


In this example, the field PHOTOHYPERLINK will be used to store the hyperlink for photos taken of pole features.

If you select None, ArcPad will list all the available string fields in the field drop-down on the picture tab of the edit form (default).

Copy pictures to this folder when checking in data

This is the path on your desktop machine that photos will be copied to when checking in your data. The path may also be a UNC share. All JPEG files in the same folder as the AXF file will be copied to this location. The original JPEG files are not deleted. Features that have been checked in to the geodatabase will refer to the JPEG files at this specified path.

Take care that the picture path length plus the length of the JPEG file name does not exceed the size of the selected picture fields. The picture page will validate this length is OK when you click Next.

Keep path of existing pictures in data

This determines if the path of picture fields are preserved when checking out data from a geodatabase to an AXF file. When enabled, picture field paths are checked out without change. You may wish to use this if you can browse photos on a UNC share or a URL from your mobile device. If this option is disabled (default), all checked out string fields that contain the .jpg extension will have paths removed.

Select Output Options

Next in the wizard is the Select Output Options dialog box.

Select the spatial extent to be used for selecting the layer features to be copied or checked out. Raster layers will also be cropped to the selected spatial extent unless the Keep Original image output option is selected.

Spatial extent

Select Output Options

Options for the spatial extent are:

Only get selected features

When checked, only the selected features will be copied or checked out.

Only get features specified in layer’s definition query

When checked, only the features selected by the layer’s definition query will be copied or checked out.

Only get fields specified as visible in layer’s properties

When checked, only the fields that are selected as visible in the layer’s properties will be copied or checked out.

Specify a name for the folder that will be created to store the data

Enter the name of the output folder to be created for the layers to be copied or checked out. The folder must not already exist.

Where do you want this folder to be stored?

Use the folder button to select the folder for the output data.

Create an ArcPad map (.apm file) for the data

When checked, an ArcPad map with the specified map name will be created. The ArcPad map will reference all of the layers selected for copy-out or check-out, as well as the data frame properties that are supported by ArcPad.

Map name

Enter the name of the ArcPad map to be created. The default is ArcPad.apm.

Encrypt checked out data

When checked, the checked out data will be encrypted in the ArcPad AXF file. The specified password will be required to use the data in ArcPad and to check the data back in.


Enter the password to be associated with the encrypted ArcPad AXF file.

Validate feature classes before checking out

When checked, the geodatabase layers and features selected for check-out will be validated before checking out. The validation process will stop at the first occurrence of invalid data and report the invalid data. The invalid data should be corrected, and the check-out process runs again (with the validate option checked) until no invalid data is reported. All invalid data will need to be corrected in order to check out the layer.

The validation occurs in the following sequence:

  1. Validate any subtypes.
  2. Validate any attribute rules (such as domains).
  3. Validate any network connectivity rules.
  4. Validate any relationship rules.
  5. Perform any custom validation (using optional class extensions).

ArcPad requires that all data be valid according to the defined domains. Although the validation process takes some time for larger datasets, it is highly recommended that you validate your data when using Get Data For ArcPad for the first time. This will detect and report any invalid data and provide you with an opportunity to correct the data.

Select Deployment Options

Click Next and the Select Deployment Options dialog box is displayed.

Select Deployment Options

Create .ZIP file containing the ArcPad data

When checked, a ZIP file containing the ArcPad data is created. This is done in addition to creating a folder of data locally (if the Create the ArcPad data on this computer now option is selected). You might choose this option if you need to deploy your data to many PCs. You can distribute the ZIP file.

Create ready to deploy .CAB file containing the ArcPad data

When checked, a CAB file containing the ArcPad data is created. This is done in addition to creating a folder of data locally (if the Create the ArcPad data on this computer now option is selected). You might choose this option if you have a Windows Mobile device connected to your PC. In this case, at the end of the wizard, you will be prompted to download and install the CAB file to your device.

Create the ArcPad data on this computer now

Choose this option to create the ArcPad data immediately. A folder will be created in the directory specified on the Select Output Options dialog box of the wizard, which will contain all of the ArcPad files.

Save this configuration for now and create ArcPad data another time

Choose this option to not create any data immediately. The options you have chosen in the wizard are saved for another time. Next time you open the MXD file and choose Get Data for ArcPad, all of the choices you have made will be remembered.


If you choose to Create the ArcPad data on this computer now, when you hit Finish, the following screen pops up:

Operation successful

This screen shows you which layers have succeeded and where they have been created.