Monthly Archives: December 2016

Styling Forms with Color and Links

One of the new features available with fieldTask version 4 is the ability to add color and other styles to forms.  This feature was contributed to odk by Nafundi and you can find out more on their website.

If you want to try it out there is an example form, also created by Nafundi although I have made some minor changes to it.

Field Task Version 4

Field Task version 4 has finally been released.

Support for version 4.1.2 of ODK Collect

This adds a lot of great functionality provided by the ODK team.  Details on the new Collect functionality is available heres.  Some of the main new features are:

  • Can select Google or OpenStreetMap maps as the base map for a geopoint question or the tasks map tab.
  • The Google base map can be chosen from; streets, terrain, satellite or hybrid
  • Custom map layers can be added.  These maps mbtiles format. They can then be copied into a folder under the “layers” folder in the fieldTask folder on the phone. Custom maps can be generated from floor plans of building or other images.

Task Map with Google Satellite Background

Using a custom map, created from the floor plan of a building, to mark out a polygon

Other features

Routing to tasks.  You can now select a task on the maps tab then select the Google Route button to create a route.

Version 16.12

Importing data from a file into a survey

  • Data can be imported into sub forms
  • Polygons and lines can be imported
  • Data can be imported from xlsx files as well as CSV files
  • A zip file can be exported containing
    • An xlsx file with all the data for all forms / sub  forms in the survey
    • Images, video, audio files from the survey
    • In a format that can be immediately imported into another survey or, after modification, back into the survey it was exported from
  • User, Deviceid, notes, start time, end time, original upload time are all exported and then imported into the new survey

The following video demonstrates how this now works:

Other Changes

Uniqueness of question names

Question names now need to be unique across the entire survey and not just within a single form. This is a point of difference between Smap and other ODK systems so you may find that some forms that work with a different ODK variant will break when uploading into Smap until you make the question names unique.

Option to remove ODK menus from fieldTask

Using fieldTask when you press the “refresh” button new forms that you have access to will be downloaded and results will be submitted.  Successfully submitted results will be deleted if you have the option set on the server to do this.  You can also start editing a form by selecting it on the task list page.  However the ODK menus to edit, delete, get forms and submit results are still available.

In the organisation settings you can now select an checkbox under fieldTask options to remove these menus simplifying the interface for the user.  This will also prevent the user from deleting un submitted results.

This feature requires fieldTask 14.02.

Option to prevent review of results on the phone

Previously a phone user could read the data collected in a survey and add comments after the survey was completed.  You can now set an option on the server in the organisation settings to prevent this.

This feature requires fieldTask 14.02.

Support for Ubuntu 16.04

If you are installing your own server the install script now works with Ubuntu 16.04. Ubuntu 14.04 is also still supported.

version 16-11 Accountability


This version is the official release of the Accountability product that allows an organisation to manage feedback and complaints using Smap.

Accountability features previously released included:

  1. Use a form to collect feedback and complaints
  2. Specify a form to manage that feedback.   For example assigning it to someone, setting a priority adding comments.
  3. Assign the feedback to another Smap user. That user would get an alert when they logged in to the webforms page to tell them that they had feedback to process.

The new capabilities are:

  1. Charts.
  2. Sharing a notification to anyone, even if they do not have a Smap logon.


Charts are shown on the “Browse Results” and “Managed Forms” page.  You can export all the charts as png images in a zip file by clicking on the yellow export images icon at the top right of the data table.

Currently the following charts are created automatically:

Count of submissions by period

This shows the number of submissions over time.  Up to two dates can be selected. For example you can show the count of feedback received for each period and the count of feedback that has been actioned.

The period can be selected as day, month or year.


Duration of Interview

The time taken to collect the data is shown grouped by the answers to one of the questions.  The default grouping is by the user that collected the data.


Charts Generated per Question

Additional charts are generated for each question that is included on the browse results or managed forms page.  Note you can change the questions included by selecting the “settings” icon above the table of data.  settings

Each of these per question charts will show the count of submissions grouped by the data in the question.  Chart types include bar, word cloud and pie chart.

bar chart


Word Cloud


Pie Chart


Sharing a Managed Record

You can now get a link to a record such as an individual complaint and then share it with somebody who does not have access to the Smap system.  If you click on this link it will take you to a page where response questions can be completed.

To get the link, click on the record that you want to share.  At the bottom right if the dialog click on the “Get Link” button.  You can then copy the generated link and paste it into an email.

If the survey has “roles” then these can be added to the link by clicking on the checkbox next to each role name.  Then click on the “share” button to update the link.   Note if there are roles associated with a survey then at least one role must be selected for the link to work.

Security of links to managed records

Links include a long series of random characters.  Effectively this means that they cannot be guessed and only someone who has been sent a notification will have access.  However a logon to the server is not required in order to access the notification hence anyone the link is forwarded to will have access.  Other security controls include:

  • Only the single record of feedback specified in the managed record link can be accessed using that link.
  • No other Smap server functionality or data can be accessed using the link
  • If the survey has “roles” to further restrict access to columns of data then these can be attached to the notification to apply that restriction.

Other New Features

Oversight forms can be exported to XLS

Select Oversight forms from the admin module. Then click on the “Available Oversight Forms” tab.  You can download an oversight form by clicking on the downward facing arrow next to its name.

Auto clean up of deleted Survey Forms

Forms that have been deleted for more than 100 days are now automatically erased.  This enhances security as the deleted data is no longer accessible.  The downside is that if you delete a form and then realise more than 100 days later that you still need access to the data you will be out of luck.

Bug Fixes

  • In the data cleaning module it was not possible to change an “other” text selection to be one of the choices of a select question.  This has now been fixed.  This feature now also works if you specify the relevance of the other question using an equals sign.  Previously it only worked when you used the selected() function.  For example a relevance of ${q} = ’88’  and a relevance of selected(${q}, ’88’) will both allow you to clean up the other text replacing it with choices where needed.