(How) Can I get device metadata (device, screen resolution, browser, OS) using webform?


I have a web form, which collects GPS data (geopoints, geotraces). From past experience, the map does not work with mobile devices, only tablets and computers - devices with a large screen. This I want to use as a survey tool, so I’m not going to ask my respondents to install ODK-Collect or Kobotoolbox apps.

I want to know which device the data was entered with - ideally, screen resolution but also OS, Browser. All these can help me a) identify mobile users and b) identify the platforms they use.

Is there a way to collect such data? If so how? For example, if I can access the Kobotoolbox server logs for my responses I can find the os, browser and screen info; or if there is a way to collect metadata that can help identify the device? At least with my phone the meta questions did not return useful information.

I think the answer is No, but want to make sure…

Seems like you are trying to do this in a self-hosted server?

No, kobotoolbox server. https://kc.kobotoolbox.org

OK, do you have a pre-defined list of enumerators who will be collecting data for you?

No. The whole idea in this particular case is for random travelers to indicate places they visited using the geotrace, and place(s) where they suffered an illness using a geopoint. They will be given an online link to fill the webform.

From testing I know that the enketo map widget does not work well on mobile phones, and thus mobile responses will be inaccurate to useless for mapping, but okay for other data. Thus the desire to find that out.

In some online survey tools (e.g. Qualtrics) they provide metadata, such as browser used, OS, device screen resolution, which I assume they get from the browser’s get line to the server. Any of these will suffice.

This site should be able to give you a list of details on what is possible to collect through Collect android app and Enketo as meta data:

Thanks, I looked up the link and uploaded their tutorial spreadsheet. I ran the form a couple of times, one from a desktop and one from a mobile device (through the browser, chrome on android). I then looked at the data that was logged from the meta questions. These are the relevant fields from (I think) the laptop entry - I got similar data fields from the phone.

device ID deviceid ee.kobotoolbox.org:YTQ8VEwvlMCM7ye4

version____version vMQNums8vTdT7ihy7WWnff

Is there a way to convert either the device id or version into a human-readable form? I tried logging into ee.kobotoolbox.org:YTQ8VEwvlMCM7ye4 which led nowhere, and ee.kobotoolbox.org does not allow me to search for the YTQ8VEwvlMCM7ye4 portion.

If there is a way to use the data to glean out the device nature (phone, tablet, computer), then this metadata is just what I need.


Hi @zvig, unfortunately this metadata is not accessible from the form itself. It may be a worthwhile feature to integrate into the application and I would recommend that you create a feature request at #feature-wishlist. For your specific case (and in the absence of this feature), I would suggest maybe adding a select_one question where the respondent can select what kind of device they are using.

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