Automate your Infrastructure by Reusing Terraform Definitions

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Terraform is the tool for infrastructure as code that we use at Ona to automate the AWS resources we setup. Terraform can also be used with other cloud infrastructure providers. Find the full list of supported providers here.

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Terraform allows us to reuse infrastructure definitions through modules. However, there’s little documentation on how this can be done across environments. As an example, we want to use the same set of definitions to provision OnaData’s production and staging environments. This post will take you through how we were able to achieve this.

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Ona News

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What’s new?

Ona and GDPR

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The EU has introduced a new data privacy legislation called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will be effective as of May 25th, 2018. GDPR will strengthen the privacy rights of EU citizens. To help ensure that Ona is GDPR compliant, we have taken the following actions:

  • We have updated our terms of service.
  • We have carefully reviewed all of our security practices and have worked to put in place the necessary technical and administrative requirements to make us GDPR compliant.
  • We are requiring all users to confirm if they are collecting data on EU citizens. If you are NOT collecting data on EU citizens, you do not have to take further action.
  • If you are collecting data on EU citizens, you will be required you to sign a GDPR compliant Data Processing Agreement (DPA) to continue to use Ona. If you need a DPA or have questions please contact us at support@ona.io.
  • If you are collecting data on EU citizens, we strongly encourage you to consider using encrypted forms.
  • Using public forms to collect any personally identifiable (PII) data on people is now strictly prohibited and will result in your account being immediately suspended.

Your responsibility under GDPR

We can only work to ensure the service we provide you is GDPR compliant. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure the practices you follow when collecting data on people meets GDPR standards. We encourage you, for example, to review your practices to ensure you are properly capturing consent and your are following best practices to keep your data secure once you export it out of Ona.

For more information on ensuring your account is GDPR compliant, please see this article.

For more information on how to confirm if you are collecting data on EU citizens, please see this guide.

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We are Sunsetting Ona Collect

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We will be retiring Ona Collect and removing it from the Google Play Store on August 1, 2018. We understand that a number of you still use Ona Collect, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. However, we feel that Ona Collect cannot keep up with the rapid development and updates that can improve your data quality and data collection experience that ODK Collect is providing.

We launched Ona Collect in late 2015. The initial Ona Collect was a tweaked version of ODK Collect created especially for Ona Users, allowing users to sign in with their Ona credentials to access forms without configuring server settings. Our goal was to add new features important to Ona users that weren’t being addressed by the ODK community.

As we worked through our roadmap, it became clear the ODK community had similar needs. And, after concurrently contributing to ODK and working on Ona Collect for the past few years, we are convinced that improving ODK Collect is the best way to build useful tools.

Ona is, and will remain, closely involved with Open Data Kit projects, including ODK Collect. Dickson Ukang’a, Head of Engineering, is a member of the Open Data Kit Technical Steering Committee, which is responsible for high-level technical direction and making feature roadmap decisions. Ona is also a contributor and maintainer of pyxform, the main tool used by the ODK community to transform XLSForms to XForms.

What to do if you are using Ona Collect

As users get ready for the retirement of Ona Collect on August 1, 2018, we recommend you start to transition your process from using Ona Collect to ODK Collect. To learn more about how to collect data using ODK Collect, please take a look at our data collection guide. You will learn how to download, install, configure, and use ODK Collect.

If you still have additional question or concerns, reach out to us on the Ona Community forum or email support@ona.io if you are on a paid account.


Leveraging community data to better plan informal settlements

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image Above: Community members mapping informal settlements in Cape Town.

“How might urban slum communities become more resilient to the effects of climate change?”

When our long time partner SDI (Slum/Shack Dwellers International) started asking this question, we jumped at the chance to help as it provided an opportunity to explore how data that we’ve helped SDI collect in their communities for the past 4 years could be used to improve urban planning and resilience. SDI is a network of community-based groups from 33 countries creating a voice for the urban poor, engaging international agencies, and operating on the global stage in order to support and advance local struggles for more than 20 years now. We first started working with SDI for the Know Your City campaign aimed at empowering communities through data.

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Ona Real-Time Dashboards

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Since we first launched Ona, we’ve always dreamt of offering a real-time dashboard solution to our users. We’re excited to announce that by integrating with our new analytics platform, Canopy, it’s now easy to create interactive, real-time dashboards with your data in Ona. Whether you are monitoring a survey or managing a field program, you can explore your data, quickly inspecting trends and discovering important insights. Once you’ve found the story you want to tell with your data, you can share these insights in beautiful, intuitive dashboards on a public site or privately with a password.

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