Configure Collect on many devices with QR codes

June 1st, 2017 by Hélène Martin

One major challenge faced by organizations that use Open Data Kit at scale is configuring Collect across many devices.

QR code configuration, available starting in Collect v1.7.0, makes it quick and easy to share settings between devices. This feature was developed by Shobhit Agarwal with input from several other community members. We hope you find it useful!

The first step to using QR code configuration is to choose one device to be the reference. On that device, set up the general and admin settings as desired. Once the reference device is set up, go to Admin Settings > Import/Export settings. You should see a QR code representing all the settings on that device.

A QR code from the Import/Export settings feature.

The most common next step will be to take all of the devices that need to be configured and open up Admin Settings > Import/Export settings > Scan code. This will show a QR code scanner that you can use to scan the code from the reference device. Once the code is successfully scanned, Collect will return to the landing screen with a message saying settings were successfully loaded.

Another option is to share the generated barcode as an image. For example, one person could generate the code and then send it to several different data collection sites to make sure all devices are configured in the same way. To share a barcode from a reference devices, go to Admin Settings > Import/Export settings and tap on the three dots at the upper right corner. Tap on Share and select how you would like to share it.

Share an image of the QR code.

The barcode contains all of the settings in clear text. That means that if passwords are included, anyone with access to the code could have access to the passwords. If you need to share settings in a public way, consider excluding passwords by tapping the bottom of the screen.

Select whether or not passwords should be included in the code.

If you find this feature useful, please leave a review in the Play Store. Thanks to all who were involved in describing, developing and testing this feature.

We have some great extensions in mind such as generating codes on the server side. This would make it possible to include server usernames and passwords specific to a particular user. Stay tuned for that!

Connect QGIS layers and ODK forms with QgisODK

May 17th, 2017 by Hélène Martin

Did you know that there is a rich ecosystem of plugins and integrations that work with ODK tools? One example is the QgisODK plugin for the free and open source geographic information system QGIS.

"The Qgis plugin allows to build a “on field” mobile survey in few minutes starting from a Qgis layer and get back collected data with the help of Open Data Kit tools and services. [...] The QgisODK plugin generates forms (XlsForm/XForm) directly from loaded data sources converting the Qgis field Types to Odk Types according to Qgis Field Widget, upload ready to use forms to an ODK Aggregate server (at the moment the plugin supports and google drive) and retrieve collected data back to QGis."

Read more in this blog post and download the QgisODK plugin here. Enrico Ferreguti, QgisODK creator, would love to hear about how you use QgisODK. Email him at

Do you use another ODK integration that you’d like the world to know about? Email us at to let us know!

ODK Collect v1.6.1, ODK Build v0.3.0, and ODK Briefcase v1.5.0 are now available

May 3rd, 2017 by Yaw Anokwa

April's updates to Collect, Build, and Briefcase are now available, and if you care about offline data collection at scale, there is a lot to be excited about!

We've made Collect much smaller to download and improved date handling, Build is about 100x faster for big forms and can now be used entirely offline, and Briefcase de-duplicates exports to save disk space and reduce data cleaning.

Across all three tools, we had more 25 individual contributors adding features, fixing bugs, and improving the quality of the code. We've put the highlights below, but be sure to check out the full release notes!

ODK improves a lot faster if you contribute! If you are a user, please file issues when you find them. If you are a developer, join us on and help fix those issues for the next release. Together, we can make ODK even better!

ODK Collect v1.6.1

  • APK size reduced by 65% for faster app updates
  • Change app language to one of 47 languages from settings
  • Date/time widgets with no-calendar appearance allow null and are centered for accuracy
  • Google Drive/Sheets now supports video/audio uploads
  • Save sorting order on every form screen

Read full release notes:
Report any issues:

ODK Build v0.3.0

  • Build can now be used completely offline!
  • Performance improvements increase large-form performance by 100x
  • Freeform language options: you can name your languages whatever you want
  • Drag questions between two Build documents open in different windows
  • Hold Shift or Ctrl/Cmd (Win/Mac) to select multiple questions and move them around together
  • New help pane gives more help and information than before

Use online:
Use offline:
Read full release notes:
Report any issues:

ODK Briefcase v1.5.0

  • Pulls from Collect are de-duplicated
  • CSV exports are sorted chronologically and de-duplicated
  • Invalid encrypted instances no longer block exports

Read full release notes:
Report any issues: