ODK workshop at NIRDPR
Workshop conducted by
National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj
Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India
in collaboration with OSGeo Foundation
02-04 Nov, 2017
Importance of the workshop
NIRD&PR being an Apex Institute for Training, Research and Consultancy in Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, involves in various field based researches for social sector, GIS and IT upto grassroots/household level. In NIRDPR research and consultancy projects data are collected in survey forms which can be replaced with location based multilingual survey forms and data can be collected in ‘Open Data Kit’ (ODK), a free and open-source set of tools which help organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection solutions using a multilingual interface. The collected data can be stored on the server machine and later downloaded at any point of time for visualisation and analysis in GIS, spreadsheets and statistical software. Keeping in tune with development in the digital field data collection for research and field investigations, a three days’ workshop on ‘Open Data Kit (ODK)’ was organised during 2-4 November 2017 in NIRDPR, Hyderabad.
Open Data Kit (ODK) is a free and open-source set of tools to promote mobile data collection solutions. ODK provides an out-of-the-box solution for users to:
Build a data collection form or survey
Collect the data on a mobile device and populate a server
Aggregate data on a server and extract it in useful formats
In addition to socio-economic and health surveys with GPS locations and images, ODK is being used to create decision support by providing multimedia-rich field mapping tools. ODK can be used in any survey related to management of natural resources, disaster mitigation, public health, asset/facility management and environment monitoring.
The Director General,NIRDPR, Dr. W. R. Reddy, IAS, graced the inaugural function with a spirited address of the participants, and welcomed the resource persons. The workshop commenced with an introduction to ODK in NIRDPR research by Dr. Gyanmudra and Dr. Madhava Rao. The first two days of workshop were mainly on introduction and use of ODK tools like building a form, uploading to the server, download to mobile, collection of field data, sending the collected data to server and downloading for analysis. Initially participants created the forms individually and then in groups. Soon refined forms as per their areas of work materialized. The collected data were demonstrated and plotted on Open Source QGIS software for spatial visualization. The method to prepare multi-lingual forms and creation of forms using spreadsheet in offline mode were also dealt.
On 4th November, 2017 NIRDPR a server was configured on computer allocated by CICT in their lab. The server was tested very well by resource persons, CICT staff and faculty members. Once the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) for the server is configured and user authentication mechanisms are put in place, the data can be seamlessly uploaded by researchers and field parties.
The multidisciplinary workshop was coordinated by Er. H K Solanki, Faculty Member, CGARD under the able guidance of Dr. Gyanmudra, Professor and Head, CRTCN, Dr. V. Madhava Rao, Advisor and Head, CGARD, and Dr. Nagraja, Senior Fellow, CGARD with kind encouragement of Director General, NIRDPR.
The Programme was attended by 61 participants including faculty members and supporting staff of various centers. The participants were able to create forms, upload to the server for mobile data collection. Sample data were collected by the participants from NIRDPR campus. On 4th November 10 participants including CICT faculty members and staff attended the sessions.
NIRDPR server is capable to cater, not only to the needs of NIRDPR research and projects but also in field investigations of SIRDs/ETCs also. In later phase it may support the research studies and projects of neighbouring institutes also. The data may also be rendered on Web-GIS using Open Source tools for real time monitoring.
After the initial testing of server, it is possible to plan workshops for SIRDs/ETCs.
Considering data security, one CICT faculty/staff member may be assigned as moderator with secure UID/passwords to upload forms and download collected data from server and communicate to respective teams for further analysis/use. Research teams can concentrate on Quality data-collection, with the Server maintained by a few domain experts.
Attendees of the workshop may be encouraged to join ODK user forum, and benefit along with thousands of novices and experts alike https://forum.opendatakit.org/. A mailing list is created by resource persons for follow-up discussions with the participants of the workshop. This web-list may be used by researchers to initiate discussion on ODK usage in NIRDPR and research/projects.
In continuation of workshop further training/ workshop can be held in NIRDPR for the benefit of faculty members of NIRDPR and SIRDs/ETCs on;
Creating GIS layers using collected field data
Multi-thematic data analysis using GIS
Serving the data on the Web
Statistical data processing
Dr. Venkatesh Raghvan, Professor, Osaka City University, Japan;
Shri. Ravi Kumar Vundavalli, Director(retd), Geological Survey of India & Secretary OSGeo India;
Shri Natraj Vaddadi, Charter member, OSGeo Foundation;
Shri. Ramamurthy, Director(retd), Geological Survey of India & Charter member, OSGeo Foundation;
Asst Prof V. Balasankar, Aditya College of Engineering, Andhra Pradesh;
Er. H K Solanki, Faculty Member, NIRDPR.