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How to add a GPS question in a Kobo Form

This short tutorial is all about how to add a GPS data collection question to your Kobo Toolbox form.

Why collect GPS points?

  1. To show project locations or infrastructure locations on a map. To do that, the easiest way is to collect the GPS points so they can be easily added to a mapping software later.
  2. Verify the location that the data was collected from. Sometimes, you can use extra data, such as GPS points, timestamps, or images, for example, to verify that the data being collected is correct.  This is called data triangulation or verification.  And it’s very useful in humanitarian settings when you might need to prove to your donors or partners that your data is of high quality.

So how do you add a GPS question to your Kobo form?

Watch this video to find out!

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Set up a new data collection form

1. Set up a new data collection form

  1. From within Kobo Toolbox, click the big blue button that says “new”.
  2. Then click “build from scratch”.
  3. Give your new form a name, description, sector, and country, and then click “create”.
  4. You now have a blank form.

2. Create a GPS question

2. Create a GPS Question

  1. Now click the “plus” button, and type a question, such as “Please collect a GPS point.”
  2. Click “add question”.
  3. Then click “point” because it’s a point question.
  4. Now save the form.

3. Make the GPS Question Mandatory (if you want)

3. Make the question mandatory

  1. Press “settings” (the little gear icon) on the question that you’ve created.
  2. Make the question mandatory by clicking the tick box next to “mandatory response”.
  3. You can leave the tick box blank if it’s not mandatory for the data collector to fill out this question.
  4. Now save the project again and hit the “X” to exit.

4. Deploy the Form

4. Deploy the form

  1. You’re now in your “Form” overview page.
  2. Next, click “deploy”.

5. Collect GPS Data using the Webform

5. Collect GPS data using the webform

  1. Under the section “Collect data”, click on “open”.
  2. You will now see the webform.
  3. Your web browser should ask permission to know your location.  Click “allow”.
  4. Now, click the little locator button that says “detect current location”. It will input the latitude and longitude as well as accuracy of your location.
  5. Now scroll down and click “submit”.

6. Collect GPS Data using your Mobile Phone

6. Collect GPS data using ODK Collect app

  1. Open the ODK Collect app (or Kobo Collect app) on your phone, and tap “get blank form”.
  2. The app will connect to the server.  Choose the “GPS question” form and tap “get selected”.
  3. Once it downloads the form, hit okay.
  4. Tap on “fill blank form” and then tap on the “GPS question” form.
  5. Collect a geopoint by tapping on the grey button within your form.
  6. Once your phone has connected with the satellites, tap “save geopoint”.
  7. Swipe forward, then tap on “save form and exit”.

And that’s it. That’s how you can create a GPS question using the Kobo Toolbox Form Builder, and then fill that in either using a webform or using a phone app such as ODK Collect.

You might be interested in checking out a couple other mobile data collection articles:

8 Ways to Check your Data Quality when using ODK or Kobo

By Janna

Janna is an aid worker, an engineer, a mom, a wife, and a self-declared data-lover! Her mission is to connect with every field worker in the world to help the humanitarian sector use information management and technology to make aid faster and more accountable.