The Gregorian calendar is the only available option at the moment. Is there any way to use any other calendars - for example, Amharic calendar used in Ethiopia? I suppose the answer is NO, but double checking.
This is an excellent question and I hope the developers will work on this issue in the near feature. However I can share my experience on how we are currently handling this for countries with different calendar (specifically for Ethiopia).
1. Most of the time we don't use date variable rather we use separate variables for date, month and year and put field workers instruction to record date, month and year in Ethiopian calendar. So the data is exported as three different variables (date, month and year). For example, if we are asking date of birth for most rural households in Ethiopia they usually respond to us in Ethiopian calendar and we handle this as mentioned above.
2. In some cases we use calendar converter application for Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.EtCal) to convert the Ethiopian calendar to European calendar. On the date question the field workers open the app for calendar converter and enter the response on the converter to record the exact date, month and year in European calendar. This consumes some time for the field workers because they have to convert the date first on the application and then record on the CAPI from the converter but gives you accurate response.
3. The third possible option which I haven't used is the following: you can record the date question in Ethiopian calendar using the system calendar (first instance if the date of birth is (19/02/1966 Ethiopian calendar) you can record this date from the system date but you can create a variable to convert this to Gregorian Calendar. That means to convert this to Gregorian calendar is suing the following formula on the variable.
Add 8 years to the Ethiopian year number from January 1 until September 10 or 11, and Add 7 years to the remainder year. For the month Add 8 months to the Ethiopian month number to get the Gregorian month.
I will also ask my colleagues who are working on the software development part and can explain on how to use external calendar applications for date questions. There are many Ethiopian calendar applications (for example https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nati.etcal) and I will ask the team to give you more explanation on how use external calendar app instead of using the system date.
Currently – no, it is not possible. We will include it into the list of our feature requests.
Survey Solutions Team Support
Asmelash has given you an excellent summary of recipes of how to handle the Ethiopian calendar dates during data collection. I can only add that attempting to preserve the dates in Ethiopian calendar format may cause you problems downstream as you get to processing them in other systems. Their support is limited or non-existent in other tools (SQL and MySQL databases, SPSS and Stata packages, and other tools). So converting them to a Gregorian calendar dates could save you some headache later.
Finally, if you go for option #1 listed above by Asmelash, perhaps, add some basic validation to ensure the date being entered exists in Ethiopian calendar. (the standard function IsDate() is not applicable in this case as it is based on the Gregorian calendar). You can use a lookup table to define the leap years (e.g. for the last 150 years) as you will need to verify the number of days in the 13th month.