Problem: Collector for ArcGIS (Windows) is unable to collect a point feature using a GNSS receiver


Attempts to collect a point feature using a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver with Collector for ArcGIS (Windows) intermittently return errors indicating "Location unavailable" or "Position not available". Additional tests using the same point feature with other ArcGIS applications and functions such as point averaging or creating lines and polygons indicate it is working as intended.


This issue is unique to single point features in Collector for ArcGIS (Windows) and occurs due to the desynchronization of the Windows operating system (OS) clock with Collector for ArcGIS (Windows). The error message is returned if a difference of even a few seconds is detected when comparing the time clocked by the GNSS receiver with the time clocked by the OS.

The OS time can be inaccurate especially when working offline for extended periods or if the setting to automatically synchronize the clock is disabled.

Collector for ArcGIS (Android) and (iOS) compares previous location time instead of OS time, and therefore is not affected if the OS time is not synchronized with the application.

Solution or Workaround

Resolve the issue by enabling the option to synchronize and update the Windows OS time. If working offline and synchronization is not disabled, it is recommended to re-establish connectivity to allow Windows to update the time automatically.

The following methods are applicable if synchronization is disabled:

Enable and update time synchronization
This workaround is applicable if the Windows time synchronization setting is disabled. To re-enable synchronization and update the time:

  1. Click on the Windows clock and select Change date and time settings....
  2. Click the Internet Time tab.
  3. If synchronization is disabled, a display message should indicate 'This computer is not set to automatically synchronize with an Internet time server'.
  4. Click Change settings... and check the option Synchronize with an Internet Time server.
  5. From the Server drop down menu, select time.windows.com and click Update now.
  6. Click OK.

Use the Windows Run Command

  1. In Windows, click Start and type services.msc and press Enter.
  2. Search for the service named Windows Time.
  3. Right-click Windows Time and select Properties to check the status of the service.
  4. If Service status is Stopped, click Start to start the service and click OK.
  5. Right-click the Windows Time service and click Restart.
  6. Restart the machine.

Use the Windows Command Prompt

  1. Click the Windows Start button and navigate to All Programs > Accessories. Type cmd and press Enter.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following commands individually and press Enter.
    net stop w32time
    w32tm /unregister
    w32tm /register
    net start w32time
    w32tm /resync
  4. Restart the machine.
W32tm.exe is used to configure Windows Time service settings. It can also be used to diagnose problems with the time service.

Related Information

Last Published: 11/13/2018

Article ID: 000018485

Software: ArcGIS Collector (Windows) 18.0.1, 17.0.3, 17.0.1