Collect Data - Smartphone, SMS, Web

Learn how to collect data using any combination of text message, smartphone, tablet, and Web. Install the DataWinners smartphone app. Get your questionnaires and start collecting data.

Guides and Tutorials

Choose: Collect Data by SMS | Collect Data with an Android Smartphone

Collect Data by SMS

Text Message - SMS

To test your Questionnaire using your DataWinners account, please use the “Test SMS Questionnaire” link at the top of the page. This emulator allows you to simulate a real SMS submission.

Please watch our video tutorial to learn How to Test Your Questionnaire.

A phone number is automatically linked to Basic accounts +447860034166. You can find it in:

  1. The SMS Tester: please go to Section B. Please watch our youtube video to learn how to test your SMS Questionnaire.
  2. The SMS preview (from the Questionnaire Builder, on the top right hand side): Please go to Section B.
  3. In the overview page of each of your Questionnaire

Please note that, the Data Sender must be registered in your account beforehand to be able to send in data for a specific Questionnaire.

With a Basic account, you can make up to 1,000 Submissions, including 50 SMS Submissions.

Please watch our video tutorial to learn How to Test Your Questionnaire.

Test Questionnaire

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To submit data on a basic phone, you type your SMS following the example shown on the SMS preview of your Questionnaire. You can access it in the Questionnaire builder page, click on the SMS preview in the upper hand side.

Please start with the Questionnaire code, then type your SMS as follows: answer to Question 1 [space], answer to Question 2 [space] answer to Question 3, etc.

Example: chi1 answer1 answer 2…

Submit Data from a simple cell phone

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Any SMS-enabled phone can send data.

Yes. For Basic accounts, we provide an International number +447860034166. We do this because our service is available worldwide, and we simply cannot supply a local number for each country. However, for Pro SMS accounts, we link a local number to our client’s account, in an effort to keep communications costs as low as possible.

To allow us to link a local number to your account, you just have to get a postpaid SIM, enabled for roaming. Once you get the SIM, we’ll do some testing and link the number to your account.

Yes. This is possible. We work with our clients in each country to link a local number to their account. The client’s job is to obtain a postpaid local SIM that has been enabled for roaming. Once you have the SIM, we virtually host and link it to your account.

If you can obtain what’s called a “reverse billed” or “toll free” number from the local telephone company, we can link that number to your account. Then your Data Senders will not have to pay for SMS submissions.

That means that you have a quota of 1,000 SMS in your DataWinners Subscription, including automatic reply SMS, reminders, API and SMS sent via send a message. If you go beyond the 1,000 SMS per month, you can buy 500 more for $50.

To find out more, please click on this link regarding our pricing.

DataWinners SMS service includes the following functions: SMS collection; Customizable Reply SMS upon receipt of SMS submission; Reminders; Send a message, allowing you to send grouped SMS to you Data Senders or to a group of recipients and one-question polls (“Did you receive the textbook shipment? Please respond with YES or NO”).


With DataWinners, you can collect data using any of the following channels: SMS, Smartphone/Tablet (we have our own DataWinners App in the Google Play Store) and via a Webform.

For the SMS channel, the Data Admins create the Questionnaire online. DataWinners then produces a pdf version of the Questionnaire. The Data Admins print out this pdf, then use it to train their field staff/employees. Field staff then use their own simple mobile phones to SMS in their answers (no Internet required).

With DataWinners Android app, offline data collection is possible. Users need connection only when downloading the blank Questionnaires and when submitting filled out Questionnaires.

For SMS collection, we link a local phone number to your account, via a virtual hosting. We can link either a normal SIM or a toll free number depending on the services available in the country.

No. Only Smartphone and Web channels work for advanced Questionnaires’ submissions.

Collect Data with an Android Smartphone


No. DataWinners smartphone app can be used on Android only.
Non-Android devices can use the Web versions of DataWinners Questionnaires while connected to the Internet.

No. The Smartphone application is currently only compatible with Android smartphones and tablets.
Non-Android devices can use the Web versions of DataWinners Questionnaires while connected to the Internet.

Our App will work with any Android tablet or Smartphone.

Given 1) how quickly new devices come out; 2) the different data collection needs of each country; and 3) the difference in each local market we usually just give generic advice such as:

  • Source locally (so you can get a warranty)
  • Check with the telephone companies; they may have subsidized deals as they do in the US
  • Decide if you need 3G capabilities or whether you can get by using Wi-Fi alone.
  • Make sure the device has a GPS
  • Try to download the DataWinners app on the phone before you buy it (if possible).

You can store the apk file in My Files and then follow the steps below:

  1. In your phone Settings, tap on Dans les Paramètres de votre téléphone, appuyez sur “Security”
  2. Select “Unknown sources – Allow install of non-Play Store applications”
  3. Go back to the folder where you stored your apk file and tap on it to install the application.
  4. Once the installation is completed, the DW logo should appear on your phone.

You need connection only when downloading the Questionnaires on your Smartphone or Tablet and when uploading your filled Questionnaires. You can choose between a Wifi and a data plan depending on the available services.

Your Data Senders can fill the downloaded Questionnaires even offline. So they don’t need to be constantly connected.

Yes. It’s possible to register Identification Numbers using Smartphone.Fill out the Identification Number Type registration form using the DataWinners Android app exactly the same process as when you fill out a Questionnaire to submit data. Please follow the steps below:

  1. Download the blank Questionnaire onto your Smartphone by taping on the “Get Blank Questionnaire” menu
  2. Tap on “Fill Blank Questionnaire”. All Identification Numbers Type available will be listed as Questionnaires
  3. Fill out the selected Questionnaire by entering all the basic information about your Identification Number
  4. Once the Questionnaire is filled-out and saved, you can send it as a finalized Questionnaire.

No. Once you register this information in the DataWinners app settings, you don’t have to enter them each time you want to make a Submission.

  1. Select the DataWinners app on your smartphone or tablet
  2. On the main menu, click on the menu button on your phone
  3. Click on the menu named “change settings”
  4. Your username and password will be displayed on the phone.

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No. The size of your questionnaire is not limited. You can have as many questions as you want in a Questionnaire, when you use Smartphone and Web channels, and as many Questionnaires as you want.

Yes. If you deleted the questionnaire, you can download it again by clicking on “Get Blank Questionnaire” on the home screen. Select the questionnaire and just download it again.

First, please check if the login and password you entered in the Settings page are correct.

If they are correct then please try to uninstall the DataWinners application from your Smartphone and reinstall it.

You may have a connectivity issue. Your device may not have sufficient memory left because many applications are running at the same time. Check if your connection and your device memory.

Yes. Collecting picture data is possible using the DataWinners Android application. To do so, create an advanced Questionnaire using XLSForm and use “image” as a question type in the “type” column.

Watch our videos How to Collect Media Files With XLSForms et How to Collect Media Files to know more about media files collection.

Capture video

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The number of filled questionnaires that can be stored offline is not limited. It depends on the storage capacity of your phone. If you have 1GB for example, that could already store a lot of questionnaires because the size of each filled questionnaire will be in KB.

You can fill out Questionnaire even offline. You just need to tap on Save Questionnaire and Exit when you’re done. The filled out Questionnaires will be stored in your Smartphone till you send them.

No. The completed questionnaires are stored on the phone until they are manually deleted. So the normal process is:

  1. Questionnaire filled out (even offline)
  2. Questionnaire manually uploaded once network connectivity is achieved
  3. Questionnaire manually deleted from phone by the Data Sender

Yes. You can fill out a Questionnaire using the Web form. To do so, you need to be granted access to the Questionnaires. Please contact your Account administrator for more information.

Yes. DataWinners’ Web form works on both Windows and Mac computers.

Go to the Settings of your device and select your preferred language. The App language will be set accordingly.

The Data Sender tries to edit a filled Questionnaire with an older version of your Questionnaire.

Please ask the Data Sender to download the new version of the Questionnaire.


Please select Edit Saved Questionnaire and then select the Questionnaire you would like to review. All the answers you provided will be displayed under each question.

No. It is not possible to have data visualization on Smartphone, you can view your data only in the Web portal.

  1. Activate GPS in your Smartphone
  2. Go to “Settings”
  3. Choose “Location services”
  4. Check the option: “Let apps use data from sources such as Wi-Fi and mobile networks to determine your approximate location”
  5. Tap on “Accept”
  6. Go back to your Questionnaire and tap “Record location” once the location is displayed

One possibility is that the Save button was not pressed after the device detected the location. It is necessary to press Save before shifting to the next question or submitting your questionnaire. You should not press on the Record location button again. After the app has detected your location, please swipe on the screen as if you want to shift to the next question, and then the Save button will appear.

Another possibility is you didn’t activate the GPS option in your phone. To do so, please follow the steps below:

  1. Press on Settings,
  2. Then on Location and Security,
  3. Check the box next to Use GPS Satellites.

With DW 3.0 and up, users can hide some of the main menu elements (Get Questionnaires, Send Finalized Questionnaires, etc.). You can do so in the Admin settings.

Do the following:

  1. Inside the DW application, press the “Menu” button
  2. Then tap “Admin settings”
  3. Ensure that all the main menu items are checked
  4. Go back to the main menu. The “Send Finalized Questionnaire” menu should be available.

This can happen for the following reasons:

  • The Smartphone memory is full and the application is taking time to start
  • Connectivity issue or insufficient data plan
  • The server setting of the DataWinners application is incorrect. The URL should be the following:
  • The URL must begin with “https” not just “http”

This may be due to a memory problem or synchronization error with your Google account.

Try the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Applications > All
  2. Select the “Google Play Store”, clear the cache and data.
  3. Restart your Phone.
  4. Make sure there is sufficient space on the phone’s memory and on your SD card.

If the above solution doesn’t work, try the following:

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Accounts” > “Google” and delete the current account.
  2. Turn off your phone.
  3. Restart your phone in Recovery mode (Press the Home + Volume Up + Power).
  4. A menu will appear, you can navigate using the volume keys.
  5. Select “Wipe Cache Partition”
  6. “Clear Cache”.

You are not connected to an Internet connection network.

The Internet connection timed out during the Questionnaire download. Check your connection and retry.

Check if the micro SD card is correctly inserted in the Smartphone.

Check if you filled out and submit the latest version of your Questionnaire. If you edited your Questionnaire, you’ll need to download the latest version onto your Smartphone.

Check if your login information is correct.

If this happens when downloading blank Questionnaire, check if the connection works.

This is a connection issue. Please check if your device is connected and try again.

Uninstall the DataWinners application from the Android device and then reinstall it.
Try again to download the questionnaire after this process.

You get this error because no Identification Number has been registered yet.

If you get this message on your Smartphone when you want to fill out your Questionnaire, this means that you have encountered errors previously and these errors appear again when you want to fill out Questionnaires. To avoid these displayed errors, you should clean up the data registered on your Smartphone. To do so, please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Click on the “Menu” button on your Smartphone through the main screen
Step 2: Click on “My files” icon
Step 3: Choose “odk”
Step 4: We have 3 files “forms”, “instances” and “metadata” and choose “forms” first
Step 5: Delete all contents of “forms” “instances” and “metadata”
Step 6: Through the menu with your Smartphone, click on “Settings”
Step 7: Choose “Applications” and “Manage Applications”
Step 8: Then choose “DataWinners”
Step 9: Finally, click on “clear data”

Filled-out Questionnaires are not submitted automatically, They are stored in your device until you send them.

In order to submit your Filled-out Questionnaires:

  1. Tap on “Send Finalized Questionnaires”
  2. Select the Questionnaires you want to submit

DataWinners’ Android app is based on the ODK Platform, which limits the number to 9 digits.

As a workaround, change your answer type to “text” and enter “numbers” under the appearance column.

You don’t have choices in your multiple choice questions. Please review your Questionnaire and try again.