Non-gregorian calendar support in Survey123

07-07-2021 03:36 AM
New Contributor

Hi everyone,

I'm finally getting to my first post/question on this community platform and it's a pretty specific one - very exciting!

My organisation works mainly in Ethiopia which runs on a different calendar from the standard Gregorian timetable. Ethiopian years have got 13 months and a few other changes, including completely different names for the months. Did I also mention that the current year is 2013? I think you might see what I'm getting at.

Using S123 to monitor our field activities, we're currently either capturing the current date in the background (gregorian) or our staff selects the current gregorian date from the date picker for our regular surveys. No problems so far. 

Going forward though, our staff is presented with a list to digitize that is filled out in Ethiopian calendar format as part of a new survey interaction. There is no feasible way to record the dates in the Gregorian format as the data collectors are not well versed in the system and live and breathe in the Ethiopian system. Our staff also cannot accurately convert the dates on the fly - they might know the current date in both formats, but converting a date from a month ago is a whole other matter.

I'm now looking for a way to enable the data collectors to pick a date using the Ethiopian calendar in the survey, which then converts to the Gregorian Calendar.

Since S123 is based on ODK (right?) I had a look around and found that the ODK date widget supports a whole bunch of non-gregorian calendars (Coptic, Ethiopian, Islamic etc.) using the appearance tab for configuration. After trying this in S123 this didn't work so it seems this feature hasn't been carried over yet. A shame because this apparently automatically converts the date and stores the information in Gregorian format - exactly what I need.

Does anyone know a way to use these calendars within S123? Or maybe someone knows a different workaround altogether?

Any ideas would be much appreciated.



2 Replies
Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi @Lukas_Beuster ,

While Survey123 utilizes the same form standard (XLSForm/XForm) as ODK and other products, it is not based on ODK.  The current date widget supports the Gregorian calendar only.  Support for a non-Gregorian calendar could be suggested as an idea in the Esri Community. 

It could be possible to construct a date collection by using an integer field for date collection, dropdown for month and integer for year, and then use a javascript function to convert that to the appropriate UTC (Gregorian) date.  As an example, looks like it could be relatively easily adapted for this purpose.

New Contributor

Hi @JamesTedrick ,

Thank you for the swift reply and sorry for the late reaction. I only got back to the surveys now. 

XLSForm, sure. I got that mixed up then it seems - I hope I didn't offend anyone on the S123 team 🙂 Shame!

I'll suggest it as an idea separately. I think that lots of organisations could benefit from that. 

As for your suggestion: Seems like I will have to work on my javascript skills. Do you have any pointers of where I could start, or maybe you know of an existing step-by-step guide for something similar that I could start off with? I'm really not sure where to begin at this point :see_no_evil_monkey:. I'll separately scour the existing documentation around js in S123. 




0 Kudos