The ODK Book! Written by Tomonori HOSHI

(Clint Tseng) #1

Did you know that there exists a book about Open Data Kit? Thanks to Tomonori Hoshi, there is:

Oh, did I mention that it's in Japanese? The book is a practical guide to doing fieldwork with ODK aimed at increasing our popularity in Japan, and oh-so-much work has gone into it:

The step-by-step instructions include carefully annotated screenshots and how-to guides on accomplishing the not-alway-easy tasks one might want to do with ODK software.

Many thanks to Tomonori for putting all this effort into the book: ODK does not work without people like you. And thanks as well for shipping me a copy! If you would like a copy of your own, they are available on Amazon.

Interview - Narendra Singh
(A N M AL IMRAN (Imran)) #2


Is it available in English as well?


(Narendra) #3

Reading book is good thing @A.N.M_AL-IMRAN , however it's more good to make a goal and achieve that like, just think about a form and make that form then try to play with that form and you will be came to know many things if you are working person then my person view is make a goal and achieve that it's always good.
However, if you are a student then you can go with Book.
It's my personal view.


(A N M AL IMRAN (Imran)) #4

Hi Narendra,

Thanks for your suggestion. However, I just wanted to know about the English version for the new learners. Though the book is not a good solution as it will distract people from the community. Since ODK is an open source, we need more people to get involved with the community.


(Tomonori Hoshi) #5


Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, the book is only available in Japanese. But if i can find time, I'd love to translate it into English.

I wrote this book to increase Japanese ODK users, which, i think, eventually contributes to the ODK community and development. Sometimes it takes time for beginners (especially non-English speakers) to go through all information from the web or play it around by themselves. I hope this book helps beginners to become middle level users quickly.


(Clint Tseng) #6

Any form of truly functional, great documentation will not involve digging for information from the community. I think this is a great thing! Searching forum posts is a truly awful way to figure out how to use a product, and if more community members are already, as Tomonori puts it, middle level users, we can raise the level of discussion on these forums from answering the same ten beginner questions over and over to figuring out how to accomplish much harder, more impactful tasks.

(Narendra) #7

It will be a great owner to listen to words from the author of a book. It will be a great owner to meet with you and also get a copy of this book with your signature.
I am ready for contributing to this book is you want to verify English version.


(A N M AL IMRAN (Imran)) #8

Hi Tomonori,

Great Work! I believe it will help to overcome the language barrier in learning.


(Yaw Anokwa) #9

どうもありがとうございます, Hoshi-san. This book is really an amazing contribution to the community!

For me, I think the more options ODK users have to learn from, the better! And I don't think it distracts from the community at all, if anything, it's an opportunity for the community to understand how we can better support Tomonori's initiative.

The problems that Tomonori highlights are things that everyone can help with! A few places to that we can all contribute to are:

  1. Provide feedback on how we can re-organize the docs to make them more approachable. Maybe we really do need to provide step-by-step guides for new users to get started. See (re)Organizing the Docs to provide that feedback.
  2. Help the docs contributors generate offline-able resources. See this GitHub issue on PDF output and help there.
  3. Start exploring the best way to translating the docs. There was an initial discussion here: Documentation Plans.

(Tomonori Hoshi) #10

Dear Yaw,

It is wonderful to hear from you. I deeply appreciate ODK developers for the amazing works.

Regarding the documentation project, I did not know about that when I had started writing my book. Thus, improving and translating the official documents into several languages should be the first priority for ODK community as you mentioned.

After my book got printed, people around me keep asking me about English version. The strength of my book is that really detailed step-by-step instructions with many screenshots. It is especially good for beginners. So, I will try my best to translate it. For me, things about DTP (Desktop publishing) are the most troublesome part. Perhaps, at some point, I will ask some community members for help.

Anyway, if English version can obtain help from the community, I am just thinking that it is great to donate book sales of English version to ODK development. Or perhaps a free PDF distribution might be an alternative good option although hireling DTP experts is expensive.

Again, thank you for your great works on ODK development.


(Tomonori Hoshi) #11

Hi ODK community members,

I would like to inform that I probably can upload English table of contents by the next Christmas! Also, I hope the final English version will contain up-to-date ODK features.


(Hélène Martin) #12

You are so awesome, @TomonoriHoshi, big congrats on getting published! Looking forward to more great collaboration getting the word out about ODK.

Have you seen this beautiful video about ODK usage in Japan? Japan's nature centers using ODK and Fusion Tables to digitize nature surveys I hope they've used your book!

(Tomonori Hoshi) #13

Hi Hélène! Thanks a lot for your comments. I was able to publish my work thanks to all contributors here in ODK community. Once i put the original draft of table of contents here, i wish to have opinions from many members.

About the nature centers work, i found that video really recently. That video is also a good ODK advertizement from Japan. I may introduce that video and that team during my ODK lecture next week.


(Stephen K'ojwang) #14

Great Work Tomonori.I would like to see the English version of the book. Very inspiring. Making some of us like me to start thinking out of the box.


(Tomonori Hoshi) #15


Merry Christmas :christmas_tree:

Finally, here is the English version of table of contents and Chapter 1! It took some time to learn DTP software, but I think now I can design the book itself. The English of Chapter 1 has been checked by a native English speaker, but I think i need someone who can help to check my English after this.

I welcome to have any comments.


(Narendra) #16


Merry Christmas to you.
I made changes in your pdf and mark all changes in yellow color. Please find out my copy Here.
I am very happy to help you in this.


(Clint Tseng) #17

I haven't had a chance to read the text, but I think the table of contents are looking pretty good. Some suggestions there:

  1. You have "how to be a good field worker" but I think it would be useful to also include "how to run a data collection project" with advice on who should do what, trainings for field workers, and so on. I think there is a lot of knowledge in that area on this forum.
  2. I think for Build and XLSForm, it helps to walk through each component like you have, but it may be useful to end each chapter with something like a cookbook. You have "create a complicated decision tree" which is maybe similar I think, but it would be nice to have 4 or 5 examples on common broader tasks ("collect information about many children", or "ask a question only at certain times", or "use the result of one question to ask another" just as examples). If you look in the help section on this forum, you will get a good sense of which tasks people commonly need to do but struggle with.

I'll probably have more thoughts eventually, hopefully these help. You can ignore them if you don't think they're useful!

(Tomonori Hoshi) #18

Hi Clint :grinning:

Thanks for the suggestions. Here are my replies.

  1. I added “how to run a data collection project" at the end of chapter 1, but is it possible to ask you to write this section?

  2. A cookbook style must be a good idea :bulb: That is a totally new thought for me, so it's a bit challenging to construct chapters, but it will try. I think I get your point, but just in case, let me allow to confirm if my understanding is correct. According to your suggestions, Chapter 2 and 3 may be integrated, and new Chapter 2 will have around 4--5 sections: Chapter 2-1. Basic survey; Chapter 2-2. A survey for many children; etc. Then, the left pages show Build tutorials and the right sides show XLSForm tutorials. Is my understanding correct?

I appreciate your suggestions and welcome to have more of your inputs.

(Clint Tseng) #19

I don't know if I know enough to write the data collection project section, but if I can get some help from somebody here who has knowledge I can do it.

Your version of a cookbook style is I think maybe even better than mine! I do think it is good to have the basics (simple form, text questions, number questions, choice questions, multimedia questions) up front before moving into things that are more like examples, but if it is possible to do so then integrating Chapters 2 and 3 would be very nice.

(Narendra) #20

I can help you in writing data collection with the help of odk. I am data manager in pma2020 and we are using ODK as data collection software.