Monthly Archives: February 2014

Smap version 14.02 Multi Tenant

Announcing the release of Smap Server version 14.02.  The major new feature is that multiple organisations can now be put on a single installation of Smap, so called multi-tenant.  The administrators or analysts in each of these “organisations” cannot see projects or surveys in any other organisation however within each organisation the administrator can still create projects and users.


When you install the Smap server it will create a user with a login id of “admin”.  This user has the “organisational administration” role.


If the user has the organisational admin role, they will be able to add organisations and move users and projects to other organisations.


  1. Select “Add Organisation” to create a new organisation
  2. Select users and projects then click “Move” to move these projects and users to a different organisation.  The Organisation Administrator can move themselves as well as other users.

Users, including administrators, without the organisational administration role will only be able to work within the organisation that they have been assigned.  Each user can be assigned to only one organisation.

The name of the organisation is shown after the users name at the top right of each screen.  An ‘@’ symbol separates the organisation name from the person’s name.


Export surveys with location as KMZ or VRT

Two new export formats have been added in this release.  Due to the increasing number of format options the radio buttons that were used to select the format have been replaced by a drop down selection.

  1. KMZ / KML files can be loaded directly into Google Earth.
  2. VRT files are accompanied by a CSV file holding the data.  This is useful for geospatial processing including being imported into a GIS such as google maps engine. VRT is a document format used for describing vector or raster geospatial data. In this case the actual data is in a CSV file and the VRT file identifies the type of geometry (Linestring, Polygon or Point).

    Smap can also export shape files however they are limited to 255 attributes and even worse the length of the attribute name is restricted to 10 characters which results in attribute names being truncated and difficult to differentiate. Whereas the overall limit on the number of attributes per feature in google maps engine is 550 with a maximum name length of 64 characters.

Check on maximum questions per form

There is a limit of 1,600 columns in each database table.  Because the results from each form are put into separate database tables then this imposes a limit on the size of each form. Each question is stored in its own column and also each option in a multiple choice question gets its own column.  10 columns have also been reserved for the unique key, key to the parent table, start date, end date, device id and user identifier.

When uploading a template the server now checks the number of questions and multiple choice options and will report an error if there are too many.


Example error message when there are too many questions in a form

Fortunately it is straightforward to move excess question into another form and this should not affect either data collection or analysis. More details here.

Allow access to attachments without an account

The default installation no longer requires a user to have a valid user id and password to view an attachment such as a picture.  Instead each attachment has a name created from 28 random characters.  For example: 4e2252ad-39db-46cb-b50d-aubb94ca353a.PNG. This will simplify integration with other systems while still preventing unauthorised access to attachments.

Some Bug Fixes

  1. Template files with a suffix of “.XLS”, that is in capitals were not being identified as Excel files. Now the test is case insensitive and file extensions can include capitals.
  2. Results from surveys with unicode characters, that is Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Thai etc, could not be be exported.  These can now be exported and the name of the download file will be the same as the survey name.

Controlling access to survey results

There are 3 roles that can be given to users od Smap Server:

  1. Admin.  Can create new projects and assign themselves, or any other user, to projects
  2. Analyst.  Can view and export results, create graphs, load new survey templates.
  3. Enum. Can download survey templates to a phones and submit results.

Hence you can restrict a user from accessing surveys that they are not involved with, by putting surveys into projects.  Users can then be assigned only to those projects that they are allowed to access.  As long as the user does not have the admin role then they will not be able to give themselves access to other projects or create new projects.


An issue with the current solution is that you may have multiple areas of your organisation that work independently hence you will want to create a user with the “Admin” role for each area.  But these admin users will be able to view and delete survey data collected by other areas.

The next release of Smap Server (14.02) due in late February will address this issue by adding the concept of an “organisation”. Even admin users, within 1 organisation will have no access to data in other organisations.  You will be able to create an organisation for each area of your company.