The Open Data Kit - Another Mobile Data Collection App (UPDATE)

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 29, 2009

UPDATE: In an email conversation with Yaw, he pointed out a few additional noteworthy things about the Open Data Kit.  

Here is how our client is different:

As researchers we want to push the boundaries of what organizations
can do today to collect their rich data. We want users to own, visualize and share this data without the difficulties of setting up and maintaining servers. We want the tools to be easy to deploy, easy to use, open source and freely available. It is only now that technology (hardware, software and infrastructure) which matches our above ideals have become available.

ODK is more than open source, it is open standards, easy to work with and available today. We use xforms standard for input and output. Organizations can start with low end java phones and run Javarosa. When they are ready to collect data on a more powerful platform, they can move up to the ODK Collect on android phones and all their forms will still work. Results can be sent to any compatible xforms server (in fact, RapidsSMS support is coming soon).

For developers, the code base is easy to use. For example, if you wanted to add barcode reading or submission to Openmrs servers over wifi, it will take very few lines of code. We already have local African developers working on similar functionality.

We've piloted the application and are scaling rapidly. We started with
twenty devices in Uganda which were used to collect over 1000 geotagged forms with images. Our upcoming deployment will be a couple of hundred devices collecting millions of forms.

ODK also has a ton of features and we adding more each day. Touchscreen UI with swipe navigation and progress bar, xforms compatible gps and photo support, question grouping, repeats and constraints, answer defaults and constraints, logic and branching in forms, and much more is coming. We put the roadmap at

We think we've pushed the state of data collection a bit forward. Certainly, ODK Collect is not for every organization who wants to do data collection, but for our partners who are using it now, it is providing a lot of value.

Open Data Kit (ODK) is a suite of tools aimed at resource-poor organizations to collect, transform and report their data. Developed by Yaw Anokwa and Carl Hartung from the University of Washington, ODK Collect enables mobile data collection on the Android platform.  ODK is one of a growing number of mobile data caollection apps, many of which are reviewed here and here on MobileActive.  This video gives an overview of the Open Data Kit.  You can download the source code here

Check out RapidSMS on Android as well, and Nokia Data Gathering here

Any support for iOS devices

Any support for iOS devices ? or any other open source app supporting iOS ??

Citizen Epidemiologists

Am a Kenyan veterinarian working in a rural area(Khwisero) with excellent mobile penetration. We intend to establish an Animal Human Syndromic Surveillance system.  
Brief description: 


The Khwisero Animal Health Surveillance Network (KAHSN) is establishing a model small scale collaborative network of animal health surveillance and diagnostic system over a two year period to improve the capacity to detect emerging animal disease threats in real time. The KAHSN focuses particularly on those animal disease threats that could have zoonotic potential and provide a rapid response to minimize the human health and economic risks to Khwisero District.

The KAHSN combines surveillance data received from many sources and simultaneously alerts both human and animal health authorities in other jurisdictions within Western Kenya when potential animal disease threats are identified


ODK will be excellent in integrating the power of mobile technology in human and animal disease surveillance. 

I would like to get more information on acquisition of ODK and use in my small scale model

Dr. Nanyingi




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