What’s New: Collect data about places, time-saving exports, and a big milestone

Since our last announcement in December, we've added more GIS-centric features and time-saving exports to ODK. Below are the highlights of what we've accomplished and details on a big milestone we've reached together.

:world_map: Show places with properties on a map and fill out a form using those properties

In ODK Collect, you can now use select from map to load places from a CSV or GeoJSON file on a map, show custom properties about those places, and fill out a form with those properties.

If, for example, you need to link environmental samples to a specific river or update a specific health facility's information, you're going to love this feature. Here's a quick demo of a health facility example.

Select from a map works well with forms with offline layers, wayfinding/navigation, and yes, the places can be dynamically updated via the Central API.

We’ve also improved the geopoint question to help capture higher-accuracy points (down to 1 cm!), made the built-in recorder the default for audio questions, and dramatically sped up re-downloads of media files.

There’s a lot to love in Collect v2022.2, so upgrade today.

:chart_with_upwards_trend: Export options that save analysis time and undeletes that fix mistakes

In ODK Central, we added time-saving export options so you can split select multiples, remove group names, and include previously deleted fields. You can also now see app device, app version, and form version so you can do analysis by submission metadata.

Other improvements include the ability to undelete forms (up to 30 days) and thanks to our contributors, Swahili translations.

If you're using ODK Cloud, our official hosting service, you already have these features from Central v1.4. If you're self-hosting ODK, upgrade today.

:hammer_and_wrench: Build now makes it even easier to build more advanced forms

Thanks to Florian May (@Florian_May), ODK Build, our venerable graphical form builder, now has support for a form audit log, configurable auto-send/delete, and background geopoints. Learn more.

:wave: Briefcase has reached end-of-life and is no longer being updated

ODK Briefcase has reached end-of-life status and is no longer being updated. If you're using Briefcase for CSV exports, data decryption, or automation, try Central. Learn more.

:mag_right: What’s next? Laying the foundation for our most requested feature

The next Collect release will focus on quality of life improvements that will make data collection easier for enumerators. We’ll also be laying the foundation for our most requested feature. Stay tuned.

Central's next release will improve project and form lists so you have a better overview of your data collection. It will also be possible to set a custom description (e.g., links to reports) for each project space.

:muscle: Examples of the impact we've had together

The reason ODK exists is to help leading social impact organizations collect the data they need wherever it is. Here are some examples of the impact we are having together.

  • :cut_of_meat: Ugandan meat, which in our experience is fantastic, just got better because inspectors are using ODK keeping track of animal disease dynamics. Learn more.
  • :beetle: DoctorX Nabat is an app that uses ODK forms and machine-learning to detect diseases and pests in crops and suggest treatments. Learn more.
  • :syringe: LSHTM researchers have published a great paper on using ODK for electronic data management of vaccine trials in low resource settings. Learn more.
  • :corn: ISRIC has created an open-access ODK form that uses FAO's guidelines for soil description and assessment. Learn more.
  • :bar_chart: There are many useful R packages that connect to ODK for cleaning and visualizing data. Our current favorites are:

:champagne: And finally, a milestone worth celebrating and a chance for you to lead

ODK is celebrating a big milestone this year. We are now fully funded by users, with most of that funding coming on a recurring basis! And importantly, we've reached this milestone without changing what makes ODK a beloved open-source tool.

Not many projects reach this milestone, so I sat down with Rowena Luk of the Aid Evolved podcast to talk about the ups and downs of our journey and the exciting future this financial stability enables for ODK. Listen here.

ODK's success is only possible because of this community and the incredible ecosystem we've built together. If you would like to help lead ODK, please apply for the Technical Advisory Board (@TAB). Applications are due by April 26th. Learn more.