Is ODK for me?

If this is the wrong place to ask then please point me to a more suitable venue. I am looking for a system to prototype a data gathering system and would like to discuss with someone whether, at a generally level, ODK could be used.

In brief some data is collected at the start of the day (such as what time it is, what the plan for the day is and some other general info) then throughout the day every 5 minutes, a set of data is recorded (position, time, what the study individual is doing and a few more things) then at the end of the day a little bit more data is collected on how the day went.

Having a quick look myself there does not seem to be a 'press button to make timestamp now' function built in, or an automated system to display a survey based on time passed. (Or have I missed some documentation)

Does this structure of a survey sound like something ODK could handle? The rest of the data is either dropdowns or text and looks like ODK will consume with ease.

Many thanks for your time.

An additional wrinkle is there is no internet where the surveys are created. There are laptops etc so a 'local' install of the server software is possible.

However a simple solution where I could just copy data directly off the tablet would be ideal, is this possible or is the internal data storage a bit... unwieldy?


The answer to your question is Yes.


There is no easy way to do this with ODK Collect. You could use a custom external app to launch a certain form periodically (see but this would require the user to manually fill out a form every 5 minutes.

You can capture timestamps in the background using the start metadata field -- see for XLSForm or it is a metadata option in Build. That will be captured exactly once at the start of a form.

Yes and you can use Briefcase to then export to CSV, etc --

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Thanks for the help.

Much appreciated.