Open Data Kit (ODK)


Open Data Kit (ODK) is an open-source suite of tools that helps organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection solutions. Our goals are to make open-source and standards-based tools which are easy to try, easy to use, easy to modify and easy to scale. To this end, we are proud members of the  OpenRosa Consortium and active participants in the JavaRosa project.

ODK’s core developers are researchers at the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering department and active members of Change, a multi-disciplinary group at UW exploring how technology can improve the lives of under-served populations around the world.

ODK began as a sponsored sabbatical project under the direction of Gaetano Borriello in April of 2008 at Google’s Seattle offices. The initial team included Bill Schilit of Google Research, Adam Lerer of MIT (as a Google intern), and Julie Chin of UW CSE graduate students Carl Hartung, Yaw Anokwa, and Waylon Brunette joined the team soon thereafter (as Google interns) and were responsible for the first two deployments of the tools in Uganda and Brazil.

Gaetano, Carl, Yaw and Waylon brought ODK back to UW in September of 2009 and Mitchell Sundt joined the team as a software engineer in 2010. Other contributors at UW include Brian DeRenzi, Rohit Chaudhri, Nicola Dell, and numerous undergraduates. See our team page for a full list of participants.

ODK is funded by a Google Focused Research Award and through donations from users. ODK is supported by a growing community of developers, implementers and users.


To use ODK, you need to do three things — design a form, setup a server, and connect the device to that server. Once those three things are done, you’ll be ready to start data collection.

You’ll need three tools:

  • Build or XLSForm — to design your survey form.
  • Collect — running on an Android device to download and fill-in the survey.
  • Aggregate — for hosting the survey form and gathering the survey results. Alternatively, Briefcasecan be used to gather the survey results (but you’ll need to manually place the survey form onto the Android device).

If any of this sounds complicated, we promise it’s not! As one user said, “the instructions on the ODK site for doing this were easy-breezy to follow.” If you run into problems, ask questions on the opendatakitcommunity mailing list.

Below is a demo video of Collect, our Android-based data collection client. Watch it, then start with the instructions for Collect, then try Build and Aggregate. For longer forms and more complicated branching, we recommend using XLSForm to design your form.




CKAN, the world’s leading open-source data portal platform

CKAN is the world’s leading open-source data portal platform.

CKAN is a complete out-of-the-box software solution that makes data accessible and usable – by providing tools to streamline publishing, sharing, finding and using data (including storage of data and provision of robust data APIs). CKAN is aimed at data publishers (national and regional governments, companies and organizations) wanting to make their data open and available.

CKAN is used by governments and user groups worldwide and powers a variety of official and community data portals including portals for local, national and international government, such as the UK’s and the European Union’s, the, Dutch and Netherland government portals, as well as city and municipal sites in the US, UK, Argentina, Finland and elsewhere.

CKAN Tour:
Features overview:


Publish and Manage Data

An intuitive web interface allows dataset publishers and curators to easily register, update and refine datasets in a distributed authorisation model called ‘Organizations’. ‘Organizations’ allow each publisher to have their own dataset entry and approval process with numerous members. This means responsibility can be distributed and authorization access managed by each department or agencies’ admins instead of centrally.

Screenshot: Organizations

Entering data

You can add and edit data in CKAN in many ways, including:

  • Directly via the web interface
  • Using CKAN’s rich JSON API
  • Via custom spreadsheet importers



Many organisations already have their data in repositories with well-defined process and procedures for publishing and managing data. In this case the data can be simply pulled regularly into CKAN from the existing repositories. To facilitate this model we’ve developed a sophisticated and customisable “harvesting” mechanism which can fetch and import records from many different repository sources, including:

  • Geospatial CSW Servers (see geospatial for more information)
  • Existing web catalogues
  • Simple HTML index pages or Web Accessible Folders
  • ArcGIS, Geoportal Servers and Z39.50 databases
  • Other CKAN instances

This functionality is used on to get data in from hundreds of their agencies, on to implement a Discovery Metadata Service used to fulfill the UK’s obligations under the EU INSPIRE directive. It is also used on to pull in information from other catalogues to make them all searchable in one place. – See more at:

Publisher tools

  • Publisher (Organization) admin dashboard: manage members, datasets, approve datasets to be public, manage harvest sources all from each organization admin page.
  • Forms: Create portal or publisher specific forms that pre-fill certain fields or have additional required fields to fit individual requirements.


Datasets can be public or private. If they are private they are only visible to the logged in members of their owning publishing Organization (e.g. Department of National Statistics). Admins can approve datasets for publication with our bulk editing tool which lets you search, facets and pick datasets to become public or private.




In general, CUBRID is a comprehensive open source relational database management system highly optimized for Web Applications, especially when complex web services process large amount of data and generate huge concurrent requests.

More specifically, CUBRID is implemented in C programming language. It is scalable and is a high performance database system almost fully compatible with MySQL. CUBRID is a system with a unique architecture and rich functionality. Its High-Availability feature, sync/async/semi-sync replication, online and incremental backup, and many other enterprise level features makes CUBRID a reliable solution ideal for Web services. By providing unique optimized features, CUBRID enables to process much more parallel requests at much less response time.


CUBRID has been developed since 2006, and today it is becoming very popular because of its clean and highly optimized for Web Applications Software Architecture, as well as rich database functionality. Its code base has undergone complete optimization and intensive quality assurance. CUBRID is being used by many SME companies and large organizations, the latter having a farm of over 10,000 data servers. (See Who else uses CUBRID?)

CUBRID, unlike other database systems, does not have an Enterprise version of its DBMS. It do not distinguish its license policy between Community and Enterprise. There is only one version of CUBRID DBMS, which follows General Public License version 2 or higher. This CUBRID Open Source License Policy is extremely beneficial for companies dealing with client applications development. They do not have to purchase any Enterprise License or share their income. This provides the organizations the significant cost savings opportunity over the alternative database management solutions. (See complete article on CUBRID Open Source License Policy.)

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for a CUBRID based database solution is significantly lower than the alternatives due to hardware costs savings. CUBRID’s high performance, its optimizations and perfect scaling mean that organizations can deploy cheaper hardware and still provide 24/7 up-time service for the same number of concurrent users.

Reference :

5 open source billing systems to watch

Collecting money from customers should be the easy part of your business, but an billing system that underperforms can make life unnecessarily difficult for CIOs.

In this edition of 5 Open Source Products to Watch, we take a look at billing systems. That’s right, there are open source applications available for invoicing and billing customers. They’re open source, Web-based and can be extended and integrated to suit specific needs.

Best of all, they don’t cost a red cent.

1. AgileBill

AgileBill was released as a commercial product in 2004 and then open sourced by its creator Tony Landis in 2008. AgileBill is a billing and invoicing application suitable for the membership/subscription type of business model, including Web hosting companies, ISPs and VoIP providers.

AgileBill features plug-ins for payment processing, provisioning, and interfacing with third-party applications and services. It has also given rise to the AgileVoice and AgileISP VoIP and ISP billing applications, respectively.

Licence: Open AgileBill Licence

2. Amberdms Billing System

The Amberdms Billing System (ABS) is a billing system that also provides a number of useful accounting and business management functions. ABS has apps for invoicing, service management, HR and time-keeping, and is designed for small and medium businesses as well as small ISPs and IT companies.

Third-party integration can be done via the API and commercial support is available from New Zealand company Amberdms.

ABS claims to have an “easy UI” and integration between timekeeping and invoicing features means customers can be automatically billed for hours worked.

Licence: AGPL

3. Freeside

Freeside is a billing, trouble ticketing and provisioning automation software tailored to online businesses, including ISPs, ITSPs, hosting and content providers.

The billing functionality includes real-time credit card and e-cheque processing using the popular payment gateways; e-mail, fax, printed and online invoicing; and flexible pricing and rating plans, like anniversary billing and usage based billing. Freeside also integrates Request Tracker, another open source project for support ticketing.

Other features include a customer self-care portal (with an API for extensibility) and reseller functionality which allows “virtualized” reseller access.

Licence: AGPL

4. CitrusDB

CitrusDB is a billing system developed with PHP and MySQL that can also be used to keep track of customer information (CRM), services, products, invoices and credit cards, and support information. The goal of the project is to provide an open source customer care and billing solution that can be used in many different service industries like ISPs, consulting, and telecommunications.

Standard billing features include any billing cycle — one-time, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, 6-months or yearly — and billing is able to provide batch credit card exports, printed invoices, or emailed invoices.

CitrusDB also has an online account manager which allows customers to view their account services and recent balance and payments. It also allows them to submit support notes to their account via the online form.

Licence: GPL

5. JBilling

JBilling is a Web-based billing system developed in Java. It is cross-platform and supports multiple database systems. The project claims it can scale to “invoice millions” and can be run on a single server or a cluster of specialised nodes.

Its features include automated invoice generation and payment processing; the ability to send invoices as e-mails, PDF attachments or paper; the ability to accept partial and advance payments; bundles, packages, plans and promotions; and a business rules management system.

Professional support is also available for JBilling, which also has multiple language, currency and localisation support.

Licence: AGPL

For more articles in this series, be sure to check out:
5 open source security projects to watch
5 open source network management projects to watch
5 open source virtualisation technologies to watch
5 open source CRM systems to watch
5 open source VoIP softphones to watch
5 open source office suites to watch
5 open source IP telephony projects to watch
5 open source help desk apps to watch
5 enterprise open source wiki apps to watch
5 open source project management apps to watch
5 free project management applications you must try


Reference :