I’m doing a mapping exercise with volunteers using field papers and Kobo forms. The steps involved in the mapping process are as follows:
Step1: Team of 2 is on the ground to collect the data related to solid waste (like garbage points), water (like public toilets), and transportation (like bus stops).
Step2: 1 st person of the team marking a point (say point related to waste) on the field paper and assign a code to it (Say. W1). The second person enters the same code into the kobo form/collect and fills in other details as specified in the form.

Challenge: Getting difficult to remember the codes assigned for points, particularly when points are more than 50 for each category.

Potential solution: Generate a unique INCREMENTAL ID for each category in each device in kobo form/collect. Ex. if selected as waste and unique ID should be W1. Should get incremented by 1 for every new submission of the same category like W2, W3…so on. This process should apply to other categories as well.

The reason why we are using field paper is that along with points we also capture line and polygon data from the ground. Drawing polygons in smartphones is challenging, hence opted for field papers

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Welcome to the community, @sensing_local! Have you gone through our support article Creating Unique Serial Numbers in Forms. It should help you create unique ids for your submissions.

Please be informed that KoBoToolbox can collect and manage geotrace and geoshape question types. Hence, I would also recommend you to try them out.

Thank you for your quick reply. I did come across the Creating Unique Serial Numbers n Forms post. but I’m particularly looking for INCREMENTAL UNIQUE IDs on every new submission.

Is that really possible in kobo?

Maybe it’s something that is stored in the KoBoToolbox server as _id. Have you checked _id in your dataset?

Hi @sensing_local
Welcome to the community forum. I will segment your issue into different components

Unfortunately, this is not supported within the system. You cannot create an incremental value in the sequence you have provided. You can however create a separate log of numbers used even in excel or on paper :frowning_face: to document the numbers you would have used

The accuracy and utility of the phone process is definitely way better.


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Thanks for clarifying @stephanealoo

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This is an interesting problem, one that we are in the process of solving (albeit outside of Kobotoolbox). The problem summary is as follows:

  • Unique ID required for each point of interest
  • For future visits to the same point, the initially created unique ID should be referenced.
  • In the future if new points are visited, new IDs need to be generated.

Does this look like your requirement as well?

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