3.2.1 Setting up OpenDataKit

This section provides:

  • An overview of steps needed to set-up ODK
  • A step-by-step guide for creating ODK survey forms, including example files
  • A step-by-step guide for setting up ODK on devices


OpenDataKit (ODK) is a free an open-source set of tools which help organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection solutions. ODK Collect is part of ODK and is an Android app that replaces paper forms used in survey-based data gathering. It supports a wide range of question and answer types, and is designed to work well without network connectivity.

Not sure if OpenDataKit is right for your project? Review Data Collection Applications.

Resources and Training Materials

This section features a selection of resources targeted at project managers, trainers, or even self-learners on the topic(s) outlined above.

The following section is designed to serve as a self-paced guides for project managers, supervisors, or others in setting up the application.

Set-up Process To set-up OpenDataKit for devices, you will need to follow the following steps:

  1. Create ODK forms
  2. Download and set up the ODK application

Creating ODK Forms

When using ODK and OMK survey applications, you will need to create the files that will serve as the survey forms.

Forms can be created using spreadsheet software (such as Excel or LibreCalc) or using the ODK Form Builder. Documentation on how to design a form can be found here.

Form conversion After forms are developed, they need to be converted from .xlsx/.xls to .xml to be used by the ODK application. This can be done by using XLSform online or offline. If using OpenMapKit Server or KoboToolBox server, you will not need to complete form conversion. The server will complete this process for you.

Download and set up the ODK application

Download application

The ODK application can be found on Google Play here.

If installing on multiple devices with low internet resources, it is recommended to download and share the apk offline. The APK file for OpenMapKit can be downloaded here.

Setting up application on devices

  1. Find the ODK Collect app icon on your mobile device and tap to open the app.
  2. After downloading the ODK app, an odk folder will be automatically created in on the internal memory of the device. Connect your device to a laptop to confirm that this folder is created. If you don’t see this folder on your device’s internal storage, Restart the device.
  3. Once the device has been restarted, connect it to your laptop, and navigate to internal storage -> odk folder. You will find for sub-folders inside the openmapkit folder. I.e ‘forms’, ‘instances’, ‘layers’ and ‘metadata’ folders.

  1. Add your xml forms to the forms folder.
  2. In the ODK Collect Main Menu window, select Fill Blank Form. This will display all forms downloaded from the server, which you will be using to field data collection testing.
  3. Once you confirm that you have all forms on your device, click on the device back button to exit the ODK Collect App.