Sending Data to a CKAN Data Portal

In this demo we will add the components necessary to spin up a new CKAN instance and have our collected published to it in real time. To get this working we need to setup the publishing functionality in Aether (“Aether Connect”), then install and configure CKAN.

Setting Up CKAN

We’re going to use a script to make it easier to install and configure CKAN. This will download Docker images for CKAN and perform the necessary configuration. It will then prompt you for a password for the admin user. In your terminal, navigate to the aether-bootstrap directory inside your cloned copy of gather-deploy, and then run the script:

cd aether-bootstrap

Once this has completed, open a new browser window, go to http://gather.local:5000 and login with username admin and the password you just entered during the configuration stage.

Now go to http://gather.local:5000/organization and add a new organization:

Adding an Organization in CKAN

Name it eHADemo and click Create Organisation.

Now that we have CKAN running, we need to turn to Aether Connect, the data publishing half of the Aether platform.

Setting Up Aether Connect

To start Aether Connect, run the following docker-compose command:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-connect.yml up -d

This will start the distributed streaming platform Kafka, Zookeeper (which manages Kafka) and the Aether Producer (which handles communication between Aether and Kafka).

Aether Connect can publish data to a variety of destinations. For each destination, it requires a ”Consumer”. Since we want to publish our data to CKAN, we will use the CKAN Consumer.

Setting Up the CKAN Consumer

In order to communicate with CKAN, the CKAN Consumer needs an API Key. This can be found in the CKAN User page at http://gather.local:5000/user/admin:

Getting the CKAN API Key

Now you need to edit the CKAN Consumer config file. It’s in the aether-connect directory, under ckan-consumer/config/config.json. Open it in your favourite text editor. If, for example, you like to use Vi, you should type

vi ./ckan-consumer/config/config.json

The config file is JSON. We need to set the API Key field. Copy the API key from the CKAN screen, and paste it into the config file as shown:

    "ckan_servers": [
            "title": "CKAN Demo portal",
            "url": "http://ckan:5000",
            "api_key": "ed6e1671-5919-42cc-bf19-27fb47d4fc22",
            "autoconfig_datasets" : true,
            "autoconfig_owner_org": "ehademo"

View the Data in CKAN

Now we can start the CKAN Consumer:


Open the datasets screen in CKAN at http://gather.local:5000/dataset/. You should see something like this (the name of your dataset will be slightly different):

Our dataset in CKAN

Click on the dataset. You should now see the main screen for our new dataset. Click again on the dataset name as shown here:

The dataset link

Now click on the Manage button, and in the next page go to the Views tab. Click the New view button and select Data Explorer. Give the view a name and save it.

Now if you go back to the main screen for our dataset, press the Explore button and select Preview, you will see the data you submitted shown in a table:

The dataset view in CKAN

Congratulations - we are now publishing the collected data to CKAN!

If you now fill in the example-microcensus form again in ODK Collect and submit it to Gather, the data will be automatically published to CKAN.


In this section we created configured and span up a local CKAN instance. We then configured and deployed Aether Connect, the data publishing half of the Aether platform. We then viewed in CKAN the data that we collected in the previous section.

Final Steps: Cleaning Up