Suitcase downloading to PC with UTF-8

Dear ODK folks,

We are using the ODK 2.0 tools and specifically v2.0.3 (rev220). In testing we had been using Suticase to download to a Mac. Our survey has foreign characters (Arabic), but it had done fine downloading to a Mac. However, the field implementation site is downloading to a PC (and securely, so just downloading to the mac in the wrong country won’t solve the problem!). All the PCs we have tested so far downloading using Suitcase with ??? for the Arabic characters.

Any ideas on either what settings to change on the PC or other solutions in Suitcase or elsewhere to ensure our text consistently arrives?

Apologies for the slew of questions in a row! Can you tell we are heading to the field this week and thus finding ALL the bugs?



Hi Caroline,

I looked at the how Suitcase writes out data and there is a problem with how it chooses the encoding. Currently it uses the system default encoding, which is probably why you are see ??? for the Arabic characters. We will be working on a fix for it.

In the mean time, to work around the problem you could explicitly set the encoding.
You can use this command to start Suitcase in the desired encoding (you will still get the graphical interface):

java -Dfile.encoding=UTF8 -jar 'ODK Suitcase v2.0.3 rev 220.jar'

-Dfile.encoding=UTF8 tells Java that you wish to use the UTF8 encoding instead of the system default encoding.

If this doesn’t fix the issue, there might be a problem with the program used to open the CSV files.


Thank you so much, Li! This command did just the trick to get our Arabic downloaded correctly on Suitcase!