Mobile Data Collection using SurveyCTO

SurveyCTO is a set of tools that are used for field data collection either online and offline using android devices (phones and tablets) or web browsers and allows data submission to an online cloud server. These tools include SurveyCTO Server, XLSForms, SurveyCTO Sync, SurveyCTO Collect for mobile (android) data collection and SurveyCTO web based data collection for online data collection using a web browser.

SurveyCTO is part of a large collection of mobile data collection tools that were inspired by the ODK Open Rosa Consortium.  ODK tools include ODK Collect, ODK Build, XLSForm, ODK Aggregate and ODK Manage as the major components. Other tools in the ODK ecosystem include ODK Briefcase, ODK Aggregate VM, ODK XLSForm Converter, ODK Validate, GEOODK, ODK Scanner, ODK Printers and the ODK Sensor Framework.

Other mobile data collection tools that were inspired by the ODK ecosystem include but are not limited to: Kobo tool box which is also free and open source, and Magpi which have a free trial period and a premium version with added functionalities and unlimited survey data storage capacity.

Other commonly used mobile data collection tools include CSPro for android (CS Entry), Magpi (Regular data collection and also supports SMS data Collection), fulcrum, mobenzi, visitbasis, dimagi, zapier amongst many others.

This training course will teach learners how to author surveys, about field mobile data collection applications, and how to submit data to an online SurveyCTO server. The other mobile data collection tools available will be mentioned as well.

If you have always wanted to learn how to collect, manage, visualize and analyze project field data using mobile phones and devices, this training course is for you.



Data collection has always been an integral part of development work. In the past, these tasks were performed with paper and pen, which made them prone to error, difficult to conduct on a large scale, and high in transaction costs.

ICT tools such as mobile devices and software that allows users to create surveys, collect, manage and upload data to storage facilities in real-time, have reduced the conventional challenges associated with remote data collection.

If you have always wanted to learn how to collect, manage and analyze project data using mobile devices, this training course is for you. This training course also comes with an additional GIS module to help participants put the skills acquired into perspective. The GIS module will help participants work with spatial data.

Who should attend

This course is suitable for people who want to learn how to:

  • Learn and apply best practices in mobile data collection setup and administration
  • Setup an account in SurveyCTO
  • Get familiar with the SurveyCTO platform
  • Author/Digitize surveys using SurveyCTO
  • Setup, manage and administer mobile data collection system in SurveyCTO
  • Collect data on Mobile devices using the SurveyCTO Collect
  • Collect data using surveyCTO using a web browser
  • Conduct case management using surveyCTO
  • Manage enumerators
  • Collect Geo data and develop maps using QGIS
  • Manage, visualize and analyze data on the SurveyCTO platform
  • Extract/export data from SurveyCTO server in useful formats such as KML, csv, Json and others for analysis
  • Learn how to consume the SurveyCTO API via external applications.
  • Learn about other similar mobile data collection tools and technologies


This training is designed for participants who are reasonably proficient in English and have an understanding of basic ICT concepts.


5 Days

Course objectives

This course will teach learners how to implement a mobile data collection survey using the SurveyCTO platform.

At the end of the course, learners will be able to setup, implement, manage and administer mobile data collection using the SurveyCTO platform and develop maps using QGIS. Additionally, learners will be exposed to other available mobile data collection platforms.

Course content

Module I

Introduction to the course

  • ICT refresher
  • Introduction to mobile data collection systems architecture.
  • Introduction to common mobile based data collection tools, techniques and platform.
  • Benefits of mobile data collection.
  • Challenges of Mobile Based Data Collection.
  • Best Practices.

Module II

Survey Authoring/Digitization

  • Field types in surveyCTO
  • Survey authoring using surveyCTO online form builder
  • Survey authoring using spreadsheet software applications
  • Downloading form definition from surveyCTO
  • Editing the form definitions using spreadsheet software (eg. MS Excel)
  • Uploading xls forms to surveyCTO server console
  • Testing forms

Advanced Survey Authoring

  • Geo data
  • Grouping
  • Repeating a group of questions
  • Skip logic (relevance)
  • Enforcing constraints
  • Select_one and select_multiple
  • Preloading data into your survey forms

Hand-on Exercise

Module III

Data Collection

  • Data collection using android devices (phones and tablets)
  • Installing and configuring surveyCTO Collect
  • Getting blank forms from surveyCTO server
  • Editing saved forms
  • Deleting saved forms
  • Filling and submitting finalized forms
  • Data collection using web browser
  • Enabling web data collection
  • Sharing the web form URL
  • Disabling anonymous access to the web form

Hands-on Exercise

Module IV

Data Management and Monitoring

  • Managing users and user roles
  • Managing internal support queries
  • Managing data
  • Monitoring incoming data
  • Case management in surveyCTO
  • Using Data explorer to monitor incoming data
  • Automated quality checks
  • Reviewing and correcting incoming data
  • Configuring external authentication
  • Backing up surveyCTO data


Hands-on Exercise

Module V

Exporting, exploring and publishing data

  • Using Data explorer to generate summaries
  • Exporting data using SurveyCTO sync
  • Downloading survey data for further visualization and analysis with tools such as Stata
  • Downloading and installing surveyCTO sync
  • Configuring surveyCTO sync
  • Using SurveyCTO Sync to export data
  • Google Drive integration
  • Streaming data to Google Sheets

Publishing data to the cloud

  • Publishing to Google Sheets
  • Publishing to Google Fusion Tables
  • Publishing to Zapier
  • Publishing to other sytems via webhooks

Advanced publishing with datasets

  • Introduction to advanced dataset usage
  • Publishing form data into server datasets
  • Publishing server datasets to the cloud
  • Monitoring server datasets for data quality

SurveyCTO intergrations

  • Automated integrations
  • Zapier
  • OpenFn
  • Google Sheets
  • Develop your own integrations
  • Webhooks

Hands-on Exercise



Tailor-made courses 

This training course can also be tailored for your organization. This way, your organization will benefit by: 

  • Using your own datasets and tools during the training.
  • Being able to choose areas of interest you wish the trainer to put more emphasis on.
  • Taking the course in-house or at a venue of choice.
  • Cutting on the cost of transport and accommodation.


Participants should be reasonably proficient in English.  

Training fee

The course fee covers the course tuition, training materials, two break refreshments, lunch, and study visits.

All participants will additionally cater for their, travel expenses, visa application, insurance, and other personal expenses.


Accommodation is arranged upon request. For reservations contact us below.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile: +254 (0) 729166479


Payment should be transferred to bank before commencement of training.

Send proof of payment to Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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