DNRSurvey is an ESRI ArcMap AddIn (toolbar) developed by MNDNR Wildlife and MNIT Services to facilitate aerial surveys of wildlife. It employs “moving map” functionality and customized data entry forms to record point, line, polygon, or audio point features in real time. DNRSurvey is equally applicable to other aerial or non-aerial surveys requiring georeferenced observations (e.g., wild rice, cover type mapping, distance sampling).

Pen input: moose survey

Functionality Highlights

  • Current position is displayed over data layers (e.g., aerial photos) chosen by the user.
  • Observation location and attributes are recorded in data entry forms developed by the user.
  • Coordinates can be captured at the current GPS position or anywhere on the map display.
  • Point observations can be recorded to audio files for later transcription to data entry forms.
  • Attributes of a data layer (e.g., cover types) can be auto-appended to the output file.
Requirements Click for details


Minimum requirements are a PC computer running the Windows 7 operating system, a stand-alone version of ArcGIS 10.0 to 10.2, and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver that can deliver location coordinates via COM (serial) port or virtual COM port. COM port emulation software is needed for GPS receivers with USB port connectivity. Recommended hardware includes a tablet or convertible laptop computer and a Bluetooth GPS receiver. Custom geodatabase and data entry form development require intermediate level ArcGIS skills; data capture requires only basic ArcMap and computer skills. DNRSurvey has been used successfully with the Windows 10 operating system and ArcGIS 10.6.1. It is not compatible with ArcGIS Pro.


Download Program Click for details



Installation Instructions Click for details


  • Download the complete package and extract all content (e.g., ReferenceChimes, SampleForms, SampleSurveys, SampleToolGraphics, DNRSurvey.esriAddIn, DNRSurvey_UserGuide.pdf) to your computer hard drive at D:\DNRSurvey or C:\DNRSurvey.
  • Define the path to DNRSurvey.esriAddIn and activate the toolbar:
  1. Open ArcMap and select Customize | Add-In Manager | Options | Add Folder. 
  2. Navigate to and select D:\DNRSurvey or C:\DNRSurvey.  Select OK to exit the dialog.
  3. Confirm the path to the Add-In folder is displayed and close the dialog.
  4. Select Customize | Toolbars and choose DNRSurvey from the list of toolbars.
  • Update the AddIn and User Guide files as needed:
  1. Select About DNRSurvey from the DNRSurvey drop-down menu and note the installed version of the AddIn file.
  2. Select Help from the DNRSurvey drop-down menu and note the installed version of the User Guide.
  3. Download new versions and overwrite installed versions as needed.  Retain file names and locations.  Functionality issues may occur if multiple versions of DNRSurvey.esriAddIn are embedded within the DNRSurvey directory structure.  Keep only the current version of the AddIn.


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