Problem with syncing ODK sheets from mobile phones to online Server

Hi there,

To give some background, I am a masters student within a larger research team working at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the department of public health and family medicine.

The current study we are working on is looking into the effects of Pesticides on child neurological and endocrine functioning. We have been using an ODK form to collect socio-demographic data from parents and guardians of the children participating in our study. This pesticide project is also a bi-lateral project between UCT and the Swiss Topical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), and we are using their online server to hold our ODK data.

Using the ODK mobile application has been really helpful, but recently we have been experiencing some technical difficulties. Namely, we are having an issue with uploading the ODK forms on the mobiles to the online server we are using (the Swiss TPH server).

I have very little personal experience with ODK but I have been asked to try find out what might be the issue. Other PhD students working on this project have suggested that the issue may be due to different versions of the ODK parent and guardian questionnaire being used on different phones (we have 6 mobiles that we are using for the study). In essence, what I think they are saying is that there is a difference between the forms across the phones and this may be resulting in the upload problems.

Another potentially related issue is that the names of the forms on the phones may differ from the names of the forms on the server, which could be preventing the uploads, i.e. there could be a file name mis-match of sorts between the forms on the mobiles and the forms on the server.

In terms of some of the more basic background info:

The ODK tool we are using is the Mobile App, the version numbers differ across the phones we are using in the study - like I said we have 6 phones and they all have different versions of ODK. for example one phone has version v1.19.0, another has v1.16.1, and another has v1.13.0. The mobiles we are using are all androids, one is a Nokia 3, we have three Vodaphones, and two Mobicel.

In order to try fix the problem so far, we have tried to re-upload the ODK forms (that we still have access to, because some phones had the option to delete the forms once sent) by manually copying over the data from the forms on one phone to blank forms on another phone with ODK parent and guardian questionnaire installed and then re-sending the form with the re-entered data.

A screenshot of one of the error messages on the phones is

attached -

If you need any further information from me, please feel free to message me. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,


Welcome to the forum, @VGLPAO001!

The error in your screenshot is due to a networking problem. The device's networking stack can't find a way to convert to to an IP address that is the home of the server. The likely causes are (in order of likelihood):

  1. The URL is wrong (either on the device or in the form's submission_url setting).
  2. The connection to the Internet is broken.
  3. The connection's DNS server is broken.
  4. The person who set up the domain odkswisstph forgot to set an appropriate DNS record.

In this particular case, I'm pretty sure the URL is wrong because is a working domain, and so the server is probably at (note the period after odk). And as further proof, the URL does resolve to an IP address.