ODK Central v0.2 Beta

A few months ago, we announced a new ODK 1 server called ODK Central. Central does not yet have all the functionality of ODK 1 servers, but it does the basics of hosting forms and submissions very well.

We have made a lot of progress on Central and I'm thrilled to announce today that it is moving from alpha to beta!

Central betas are an opportunity to get community feedback on ongoing work, so head to https://docs.opendatakit.org/central-intro and follow the instructions to try it out on our sandbox or your own machine!

The highlights for this release are:

We've also made some other improvements:

  • Added links to docs in user interface
  • View system status and introduction on home-page
  • Accounts stay logged in across tabs/sessions
  • Use a self-supplied/custom SSL on your infrastructure

@issa, @Matthew_White, and @LN have done incredible work making Central's user interface fast and fluid. It's hard to put into words how nice it is so I made a quick movie of the form attachments interface.


Pretty awesome right? I encourage you to try it out yourself at https://docs.opendatakit.org/central-intro.

Special thanks to @Florian_May and @Xiphware for their detailed feedback. Remember, you don't have to let them have all the fun! Try Central and put your feedback in a comment below :point_down: We are particularly interested in answers to the following questions.

  1. What, if anything, was confusing?
  2. What missing feature is preventing you from using this for your next project?

Does this also support or will it support synchronization with ODK2 Survey & Tables clients?

No, because ODK Central is an ODK 1 server. If you are interested in ODK 2 servers, see https://docs.opendatakit.org/odk2/sync-endpoint/

How do you think about filtering submission function to export to Odata? For example, I'd like to live export only current month submissions through Odata Power BI, for the submissions before current month I manual download and keep them local so that it don't take much time to get all data from Central every time Power BI refresh.

Thanks for the feedback! I agree that this would be extremely useful to be able to do.

And for your exact example here, filtering by the submission date, I can see us possibly making that happen; you can find a ticket for it here.

I will caution, however, that it would be much, much harder for us to be able to offer filtering on the submission form data itself: if, say, you have a field in your form that collects some Date, we would have a much harder time trying to allow filtered display or export of the data by that form field value. This is because Central takes a much simpler approach to handling your data than Aggregate.


I am starting to use Central and it looks like very easy to use and intuitive. I think it will be a very useful tool for all us.

I have found some small problems. These are:

  • I got an error when connecting to Central if Collect is in Spanish. Everything is fine if the language is English. In some of the forms I got a date format problem related with it.
  • After deleting a form in Central, it can be viewed (but not downloaded) in Collect.
  • I uploaded a form with calculations and I cannot see that field and the subsequents in the form submission panel, However, they can be exported.

Overall I think this is a fantastic and useful tool. The exportation and analyzing tools are really useful for sharing data. I have used powerBI. Do you know the possibilities of using OData with OpenOffice?

Thank you very much!


Thank Clint, in my case, just filter the submission date is enough, not inside the form data.

And the "hot" submissions that I need live pull to Odata Power BI is in current month, but it maybe various for others( it can be 1 week, or 2 months, etc) . So the filter should be flexible so that we can choose the best fit. Thank your team's effort to make Central better


Hi Yaw
I am not sure if I have missed it in the documentation, but I cant find instructions on how to log into the sandbox, what email and password combo is needed.
I have tried my forum ones and have t ried resetting rhe password.
Could you point me in the right direction?

@DavidM to use the sandbox, you have to send me a PM. See https://docs.opendatakit.org/central-install/#using-the-sandbox.

Thank you for your feedback, @Mariano_Corzo_Toscan!

We're seeing this issue as well. We've created a GitHub issue to track it here.

Could you tell us more about the date format problem that you're seeing? Would you be able to upload an example form for which you're seeing the problem?

Once a form is deleted in Central, a Collect user should not see it when they pull the list of blank forms. However, right now deleted forms are visible in the list. Is that the issue that you're seeing? We've created a GitHub issue to track the issue here.

Right now the submissions table only shows the first ten fields of the form, and it does not show repeat groups. However, that's not very clear in the user interface, and we're planning to update it to make it clearer. We're also considering ways to include more than the first ten columns. In the meantime, the full data set is available through .csv download or OData.

I only have so much experience with OpenOffice and LibreOffice, but they don't appear to have OData support. Let us know if you find a way to connect OpenOffice to OData!

Ok. I understand what happened with the submission view in Central and with the form list in Collect. Thank you very much.

In relation with the date format, I was using the form "Formulario_basico". After setting the app language to English, i filled in a form. Then I changed the app language again to Spanish. When I sent the form I got the error: "An expected header field (Date) did not match the expected format....".


Hi. I’m interested in the tying ODK central on the sandbox cloud. Could I get an invite? I’m not able to get my digital ocean to work.

@Felix_Mutua I know you got your copy of Central working, but I'm curious what the problem was so we can maybe add it to the documentation.


The issue was server memory- we couldn’t download the submissions until we added more RAM(we were working with DigitalOcean, 1Gb RAM)


Hey Felix: that's interesting information. How many submissions were there? How big, roughly, is the form? How many questions? What would it do instead of let you download the submissions?

Ideally, no matter how big the form is it should still be able to export the submissions, just more slowly. I'd like to fix the problems if this is not the case.

Not so many, just 46 submissions and a small form(~25 fields) but with photos and totaling to around 200mb. It would download as an empty zip file... for small forms with less than 20 submissions it was ok..


Ah, okay. The photos must have done it. Can you give me a sense of how many photos per form and how big each one roughly is? I'd like to recreate your scenario and see what's happening. Thanks for the information so far already though!

One photo per submission... using default camera settings.

Great, perfect, thanks!

Hi guys, i'm trying to install central into my local machine. I've followed the installing steps from github but when trying to run step 12; "docker-compose create" / "docker-compose up" (by the way, "create" command is now deprecated) i get the following error message:

jsparrow@BlackPearl:~/odkCentral-docker/central$ docker-compose up
central_mail_1 is up-to-date
central_postgres_1 is up-to-date
central_service_1 is up-to-date
Starting central_nginx_1 ... 
Starting central_nginx_1 ... error

ERROR: for central_nginx_1  Cannot start service nginx: driver failed programming external connectivity on endpoint central_nginx_1 (3ebd42407cb0f8b92ef11c78a16bcc097db5e23a0aef5bc0aec6e6f05614e346): Error starting userland proxy: listen tcp listen: address already in use

ERROR: for nginx  Cannot start service nginx: driver failed programming external connectivity on endpoint central_nginx_1 (3ebd42407cb0f8b92ef11c78a16bcc097db5e23a0aef5bc0aec6e6f05614e346): Error starting userland proxy: listen tcp listen: address already in use
ERROR: Encountered errors while bringing up the project.

My local machine is running under Ubuntu 16.04.

I'm not an expert in docker (a newbie, in fact) so anyone can give a hand wuth this error?

Thanks in advance.
Best regards.
El Neri (previously from Mexico, now from Guatemala) :slight_smile: