Ideas wanted: Up to $25,000 USD available to improve ODK

The DIAL Open Source Center is accepting applications for funding to foster “healthy, sustainable open source communities and products” for open source projects in global development. More at

This is a great opportunity to get some important work done and to get more organizations involved in ODK!

Some project ideas:

  • Triage project issues and create a strawman roadmap so the Technical Steering Committee has a place to start when formed (are there technical program managers or organizations with technical program managers in the community?)
  • Professionally design a logo and visual identity (recommendation on design/communications firms?)
  • Work through the XForms and XLSForm specification backlogs and make sure documentation is up to date
  • Bring changes from forks back to the core (who has forks with high-value changes that could become core features and with a bit of funding could bring them in?)

Do you and/or your organizations have ideas? Share them below to get the conversation started. Once there are some concrete suggestions, the PMC can put them together and send the proposal to DIAL.

You are of course free to apply individually, but I think it's probably best for ODK if we can coordinate our plans. The funding would go directly from DIAL to the individual(s) or group(s) doing the work.

@downey, @daveycrockett are both a part of DIAL and can answer questions about the opportunity.


Dear Yaw,

I am not sure whether my idea will go to the right direction. However, I think one of the key features we may improve few features of ODK including:

  1. option to merge data collected using the old version of a form with the data collected with the revised form

  2. Some features may be included on the data analysis dashboard

  3. Improve the skip logic question page. It can be more dynamic. Currently, we move the relevant questions to the next page. we may make it appear on the same page.

If anything else comes up, I will share on this thread.



Bring the map view from geoODK into odkCollect.
For GIS surveys and willingness to pay surveys this feature is very handy.

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:face_vomiting: This is a worthwhile dirty job that could use a boost!

I'd be happy to help by spending 40-80 hours on it in the next few months if such funding is available. In particular on the XForms specification. Ideally we'd have at least another person (:cough: @LN) involved so we can discuss/review/merge of course. :wink:

Without funding it will eventually happen too, but at the moment that is restraining the spec involvement from my side. There is alway other (income-generating) work to do.


I would be very happy to work with you on that, @martijnr! I should be able to block off some time to work with you synchronously for parts of it.

I'm +1 on that proposal. :tada: Spec week 2017 :tada:

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Also :+1: for @martijnr's proposal. A solid spec documentation of pyxform/xlsform and odk-xforms would be good. But to go beyond that, I would suggest that, if funding permits it, the documentation goes beyond just describing what-is and begins to identify (and fix) important gaps between these technologies. For example

  • What useful feature is xform capable of that still requires hardcoding in the xml rather than in the XLS?
  • What 'aliases' are supported for historical reasons in XLSForm that should be deprecated (e.g. deprecate all aliases but give feedback on form deployment how users should rename their column headers and question types)
  • Document where Collect and EE differ and map out potential paths (and effort/costs) to bridge these differences again so we can bring that to donors
  • Document what which settings in Collect are used for (which ones are tool specific, how they are to be configured, etc).

A completely different, competing set of improvements would be UX/UI-related: Improving the button layout, onboarding flow, re-arranging settings, changing how drafts are saved and discarded (to avoid accidental deletions), and so on. This requires a different and more detailed discussion of course.


Good ideas, @Tino_Kreutzer.

Some of these have been started but could use more focused effort:


@Tino_Kreutzer Just realized I didn't address UX/UI-related ideas. I think that would be fantastic. If anyone has capacity for this kind of interaction design work and would be able to lead an aspect of it given some funding, it would be a great additional component for this proposal.

Thanks everyone for the great ideas! The deadline for getting the proposal in is fast approaching and lands on a holiday weekend for those in the US (:turkey: Thanksgiving) -- we have to get it in by Sunday November 26th. From the DIAL site, we need to send in:

  • A proposal executive summary in narrative format,
  • Budget and high-level plan of how you’d use the funds, and
  • Measurable criteria of success, such as a “definition of done”, milestones, or other goals.

This should be a one-pager.

There's a lot of agreement on @martijnr's project and I think we should definitely write that one up. I have started a document here that @martijnr has write access to and that anyone can comment on.

Ideally we could write in another complementary project or perhaps even two. There are lots of good ideas above but we would need a concrete proposal and someone who can accept the funds and complete the work. Does anyone have such a proposal?

It would be great to get this written up in the next day or two! Go team!

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I've got some great news! @martijnr's proposal to clear the backlog in XLSForm/XForms documentation has been funded by DIAL!

The XForms specification is the glue that holds much of the ODK ecosystem together and Martijn (of Enketo fame) has done great work over the years to improve the spec and keep the ecosystem growing. I can't think of a better Valentine's Day gift for this community than Martijn's continued work on the spec.


Awesome. And very timely.

Woohoo! Thanks.

The XForms specification is the glue that holds much of the ODK ecosystem together

Absolutely. Will do my best over the next few months to make it a worthwhile valentine's gift.


What aboit the ios version of collect