Census CAPI Operations, Troubleshooting and Maintenance Tips


CAPI stands for Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing. CAPI is a tablet or Ipad made for enumerators for administering census questionnaires during population and housing census.

The CAPI will be used to collect all census data from the individuals by the enumerators and other census functionaries.

Enumerator are sets of census field functionaries responsible for collecting data on the field using the PDAs and reports directly to the field supervisors.

What is a Tablet?
Tablets are ultra-portable computers which can run a variety of software programs. For the Population and Housing Census, hybrid software applications (CAPI) has been developed purposely for house numbering, household listing and enumeration of person(s).

Parts of Census Tablet
Major keys and buttons on the CAPI are sim card slot, power button, volume button, USB/Charger port, Micro SD slot, back button and home button, menu button and light sensor.

Tablet Operations
The use of the census CAPI is similar to modern android smart phones and tablets. Census functionaries are expected to widen their knowledge on the CAPI questionnaires for effective PHC exercise.

PDA Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting involves the process of identifying, isolating and resolving a software or hardware related fault within a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). The best way to avoid fault or disappointment arising from the PDA is to take preventive measures.

Census PDAs Preventive Measures
  • Unauthorized external storage devices are not allowed into the census Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).
  • The census PDA is exclusively reserved for Census activities therefore, do not pimp the PDA (install unapproved memory card, audios or movies, software and mobile applications).
  • Do not run a program alongside the census apps.
  • Do not connect census PDA to Internet via unknown Wi-Fi (free or paid wireless Internet Access)
  • The PDA will be strictly used for the census operation, videoing and unauthorized snapping of pictures with the PDA is prohibited.
  • Application crash issues should be reported if more than one Enumerator is experiencing the same issue at a particular time.
  • Do not allow your battery to drain completely, use a power bank (backup)
  • Keep the PDA away from liquid substances like water, tea and drinks of any sort.
  • Always leave the PDA in its pouch to protect the screen when accidentally dropped.
  • Do not attempt to fix or take the PDA away from the field for repair without the notice or permission of the DQM because of the sensitivity of the Census Data.
  • Do not use an incompatible power adapter (charger) in the census PDA.
  • Do not PANIC when your PDA develops fault.
PDA not Turning ON

1. Stuck in power off mode.
2. Battery out of charge.

  1. Connect your PDA to the charger for 10 minutes and try powering on to solve the problem.
  2. Do a force starting by pressing a volume down button and power button at the same time for 10 seconds.
PDA not Completing Booting Process
This is a situation when a PDA is stuck on the start-up screen or restarts continuously without a complete booting process.

  1. This can be caused by temporary system software malfunction.
  2. Unfinished system software update

  1. Restart the PDA and repeat the system software update to the end.
  2. Booting in safe mode: It involves powering the device off and then powering it on by holding the power button and a set of other keys depending on the make of the tablet.
  3. If the problem is still not solved by now, that implies that you can't fix it by yourself. Contact your supervisor for possible.
PDA Not Charging
This is a situation where the PDA is not charging when plugged to socket with power.

  • Faulty USB port
  • Damaged USB cable
  • Damaged or incompatible power adapter (charger)
  1. Change the USB cable
  2. Check and replace power adapter
  3. Try another power source.
  4. If the problem persist, kindly contact your supervisor.

Unresponsive Touch Screen
The causes and possible solutions when the screen of your table is not responding.

  1. Physical damage of screen.
  2. Dust or improper calibration.
  3. Touch screen responding incorrectly. e.g typing 'q' but you get 'w'
  4. Touch screen lags/freezes/hangs
  5. Part of the screen doesn't work.
  • Wipe the screen with a soft microfiber cloth. Clean off any dirt, dust or fingerprints on the screen.
  • Replacing the screen touch calibration.
  • Remove the plastic touch screen protector sheet.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly. The touch screen will not respond if your fingers are wet.
PDA Soaked by Rain or Fell into Water
  • Do not turn it on, if it is off or use it in any way.
  • Do not press on any buttons or keys.
  • Do not shake, tap or bang the tablet.
  • Do not disassemble the PDA, else it could void the warranty, the device comes with a Liquid Damage Indicator (LDI), this could be triggered when you open the PDA.
  • Do not try to blow on it. This could send water into other internal parts of the table which haven't been reached yet, causing more damage in the process.
  1. Turn it off as soon as possible and keep it in an upright position.
  2. Remove the protective casing if you have one around it.
  3. If the water damage is more extensive, you can use a vacuum ot hand dryer to carefully suck out water stuck within the cracks that are harder to get at.
Alternatively, bury it in a ziplock bag full of uncooked rice. This may seem odd to you, bu rice is great at absorbing liquid and is actually a common practice for drying smartphones and tablets. It's been tested and proven.

PDA Not Connecting to the Internet
Downloading of EA by enumerators and submission of house numbering and house listing as well as enumeration requires Internet connectivity.

Enumerator's tablet has been equipped with SIM cards for mobile data connection. As the enumerator moves around his/her EA, the mobile-data signal can change. 

In fact, he/she may observe the status bar icons change from 4G to 3G, or even 2G, or worse, depending on the strength and availability of the mobile date service.

  • Limited or No Internet connectivity from the Internet Service Provider (ISP). e.g MTN, Glo, 9mobile, Airtel
  • No network coverage or low signal strength
  • Data Connection not turn on
  • No active data subscription

  1. Restart the device.
  2. If restarting doesn't work, switch between Wi-Fi and mobile data
  3. Check the mobile data is turned on and you have a data collection.
  4. Turn flight mode on and off.
  5. If you still have problems after you complete these steps, contact the Supervisor.
Basic Census PDA Terms and Concepts
  1. Icons -  An icon is a graphic symbol, usually a small picture which is used to represent a file or application stored on your PDA.
  2. Case - This is a household type selected for enumeration.
  3. Data Synchronisation - This is also known as Data Syn. It is the process of uploading and downloading data to the server. It involves sending and replication of the data collected from the enumeration process to a centralised database.
  4. Radio Buttons - A radio button is a small circle with a solid circle in it, which allows the user to choose only one option.
  5. Checkbox - It is a tick box that permits the user to make multiple options. For example, the user may have to answer 'yes' (checked) or 'no' (not checked) on a simple yes/no question.
  6. Open Text - This is a field that permits the user to enter alphanumeric text in the space provided.
  7. Pre-Filled - Fields that are automatically populated/filled.
  8. Blue letter words - Information for the enumerator.
  9. Red letter words - Vital information to be strictly adhered to by the enumerator.
  10. When the age is not known after probing use 99
  11. Any age above 90 years is recorded as 90.

Updating the CSEntry Application
Use the CS Entry application update link to update the census software apps accordingly to the current version before uploading census data to the Center Server.

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