There are situations in which access to the Google Play Store might be limited for a variety reasons.
You may not have a Google account which is required to be able to access the Google Play Store;
There may be region or country-specific limitations to accessing either your Google account or Google Play Store or both; or,
There is simply no internet connectivity in the area you are located in.
Such situations would limit your ability to install applications including ODK Collect. This is a problem when the mobile devices you are going to use for your data collection are not yet configured and ODK Collect not yet installed.
This tutorial addresses the problem described in situation 1 and 2 above where access to Google account and/or Google Play Store is limited but access to internet is not.
For situation 3, steps 2 and 3 of this tutorial will still apply but it would require that you have already done step 1 ahead of time where access to internet is available which will allow you to download a copy of the application on your tablet.
This tutorial shows how to install ODK Collect without using Google Play Store (and without requiring a Google account). Instead, the Open Data Kit application package is downloaded direct onto your tablet and then installed directly without going through Google Play Store.
1. Download Open Data Kit APK
First you need to download the Open Data Kit APK on your tablet. APK is short for Android application package which is the package file format used by the Android operating system for distribution and installation of mobile apps. Here are the steps to download the Open Data Kit APK on your tablet.
1.1 Go to the Open Data Kit website
Using the web browser in your tablet, type in https://opendatakit.org. You will then see the following webpage on your tablet’s browser.
1.2 Go to the Download page
On top of the webpage, you will see the menu of the website one of which is named ‘Download’.
Tap on ‘Download’.
1.3 Select the ODK Collect APK from the download list
Once you are at the Download page, you will see a list of the various downloads that are available from the Open Data Kit site.
You will find the ODK Collect APK as item number 3 in the Collect section of the Download page (1).
Once you have found the ODK Collect APK, tap on the link.
1.4 Tap Download
2. Set-up tablet device to allow installation of applications outside of the Google Play Store
You will now need to set-up your tablet device to allow installation of application outside of Google Play Store. Following are the steps you need to take.
2.1 Go to Security settings of your tablet
In your tablet device, open the Settings application, then navigate to the General tab (1) and then the Security settings (2). You will now see the various Security settings. For this step, you wll need to focus on the Device Administration section specifically the Unknown sources option (3). This is the option that will allow you to install applications from other sources other than the Google Play Store. By default, this option is not checked. Check this option.
2.2 Set-up tablet device to allow installation of applications outside of the Google Play Store
Once you check this option, you will get a warning regarding installint application from unknown sources. Tap on ‘OK’ to continue.
The option to install from unknown sources is now checked (1). You can now continue with the next steps for installing ODK Collect.
3. Install ODK Collect on your tablet
Now, you need to install ODK Collect on your tablet using the ODK Collect APK that you just transferred to your tablet. This can be done by following these steps.
3.1 Navigate to the Download folder of your tablet
For this step, you will need a file manager application to be able to navigate the contents of your tablet. For some devices such as those from the Samsung line of mobile devices, there is a pre-installed file manager application called ‘My Files’.
Open the ‘My Files’ file manager application and then click on ***‘Device Storage’ ***(1). You will now see all the folders inside the tablet including the Download folder (2). Open the Download folder.
You will now see the ODK Collect APK which you have transferred earlier from your computer (1). You can now proceed with installing the ODK Collect APK.
3.2 Tap on the ODK Collect APK
Once you have found the ODK Collect APK on the Download folder of your tablet, tap the APK to initiate installation. You will now see the following prompt on your tablet screen. Tap ‘Next’.
The next screen will look like this. Tap on ‘Intsall’.
The next screen will indicate that ODK Collect is now installing on your tablet.
You will see this screen on your tablet to indicate the ODK Collect has been installed. You can tap on ‘Open’ to start using ODK Collect on your tablet device.
3.3 Start using ODK Collect
You can now start using ODK Collect.