Cannot synchronize because server is not operational

My server has stopped working and I need to know whether it is possible to recover all data that is inside the tablets, I mean all competed interviews.

The data collected by interviewers stays in the tablets until either:

  • the user clears the data (uninstalls the application), or
  • the user synchronizes the data with the server.

So the failure of the server is not a failure of the tablets. Once you recover the server from backups, the data from the tablets should arrive to the server just fine

Several things to be mindful (not comprehensive):

  1. If you updated the server version of Survey Solutions after the last backup, you will need to update it again after restoring the server from backup before synchronizing any tablets.

  2. If any of the interviews were completed based on assignments that were not existent during the last backup, they will go to broken packages, and despite ‘synchronization was successful’ you will not see them in the interface of the server, as they relate to unknown assignments.

If you don’t have a backup of the server (why???) the only other way I see would be to deploy a new instance of Survey Solutions, import a questionnaire, create assignments, then re-type data from original tablets into the new tablets. That is incredibly laborious, and comes at a cost that

  • all the paradata will be distorted,
  • timestamps will be shifted,
  • pictures will need to be re-photographed from screen,
  • audio-questions re-recorded from playback,
  • audio-audit lost, etc, etc, etc.

Definitely not a viable way for a survey of considerable size. Yet if the survey doesn’t use any multimedia features, and you don’t care about paradata, then you can still have the core of your info - the responses of the respondents, to avoid the repeat-visits.

Hope this helps.