Geoline - manual recording first point in Enketo / web forms zooms to whole world view

I have a form with a Geoline / Geotrace question and I am having difficulty entering the first coordinate in Enketo / web form. Note that this is manual positioning of points, not GPS.

I can zoom to a location (or search) but when I click or tap the location on the map it zooms to show the full world. If I then zoom back in to the same place and click a second point, the map shifts zoom to the extent of the line - the zoom extent changes on each new point.

Is there a setting for the form that can disable this behaviour, or at least stop the first reset to entire extent of the world - I have had a complaint from an enumerator that they are unable to create a line, but I think it is this reset of the zoom that is confusing them - it took me a while to work out what was actually happening…

Tested in Windows on Friefox and MS Edge - same behaviour. Tested on two separate forms (one of which only has a Geotrace question).

Many thanks

Welcome back to the community, @seewhy! Maybe this post discussed previously should help you deal with your issue:

Hi @Kal_Lam
Thanks for your advice and the warm welcome back. I have tried this (it is my default approach to geolocation widgets!), but alas it does not seem to work - here is a link to the simple form that is behaving this way: Enketo Express for KoBo Toolbox

Here is an excel version of the form (downloaded from Kobotoolbox form builder) simple-geotrace.xlsx (5.9 KB)

On the Enketo form, the background colour to the question goes red/pink when the first point is clicked, then white on the second point - almost like it detects an error… I cleared the cache on my browser and reloaded the form, but it didn’t help.

Appreciate your help any any fault tracing ideas you may have.


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Hello @Kal_Lam, @seewhy,
Just to add. I tested it with Online validator / ODK Preview. Same problem.
But it doesn’t zoom out if the first point is set with current location. But if afterwards you delete the second point, it will zoom out too.
Behaviour seems also strange, if you use current location for the second point (after manually choosing a first one).

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So do you mean going red when taking the first point scared you? Let me try to explain. As it’s a geotrace question type the system should not allow you to take only one point (as a data input). If you go above one point the system treats it as a geotrace and clears the red shade.

Regarding the zoom, yes I too observed it a bit odd. But once you are back to with the second point it does not zoom out.

Hi @Kal_Lam
I think ‘scared’ might be the wrong word - I was reporting the behaviour not my emotion :slight_smile:

A red background (generally) indicates something is wrong - your explanation that the system expects (at least) 2 points is logical, but not intuitive to a user - which is why I highlighted it to see whether there was an underlying problem - two things appear to happen simultaneously when the first point is entered - the background goes red and the map zooms to full extent - that’s not expected behaviour in my experience.

This is the feedback from the enumerator that tested my form (not the example that I attached), and the reason for my original post:

“I can’t seem to draw on the map, I can use it find stuff but not draw or make dots (maybe touchscreen only?) most will access this form on laptop or PC without touchscreen availability”

This enumerator has used ODK Collect in the past, but not Enketo / Kobo web forms - none of the other 80+ people contributing data have used any of these. With respect, I would describe the web form as displaying ‘unexpected behaviour’ at best - I don’t think that the zoom issue is as simple as a bit odd.

It will impact the data collection if each enumerator comes back with similar feedback saying they can’t use the map - it is central to the data being collected. I’m not convinced that it will help my cause to send out instructions that say ‘ignore the fact that the map behaves oddly, you just need to persevere and plot two points’. To explain the use-case, this is an initial survey dispersed across 80+ locations across the country asking for the position of a footpath (in fact, repeat group - multiple footpaths) which some of which may then be surveyed in detail at a further stage. The respondents / enumerators will not necessarily be standing on the footpath to complete the survey. If they can’t plot points easily on the map, the survey is almost (but not entirely) pointless (sorry no pun intended). My experience is that if it doesn’t work (as they expect) first time, it is hard to get people to try again…

@wroos - that is helpful feedback, highlighting another aspect of this ‘feature’. In my case I doubt that anyone will have current location set on their PC / laptop, and it is unlikely to help, as highlighted above.

My suggestion for improvement of this ‘feature’ is that the map should remain at the same zoom level after each point is entered - that is what most people would probably expect? It would be reasonable to include an option for ‘zoom to extent’ of the feature if that was the intention of this behaviour, maybe as a button - but that would keep the enumerator in control of zoom and pan. To be fair it does not take much to scare the enumerators that participate in some of my surveys, so anything that can reduce the fear-factor would be greatly appreciated.

I don’t mean to appear abrasive with this response, just trying to deal with the feedback I have received - it is not trivial. A fantastic tool can be rendered inoperable if it is not ergonomic… Kobotoolobx is definitely a fantastic tool :slight_smile:

Thanks for your support.


Thank you for bringing this to the community, @seewhy! Expecting similar suggestions to improve the tool in the upcoming days too! Pinging this with @martijnr to see if Enketo could address this in the upcoming days.

cc: @Josh