The Magpi Android app works with the Magpi web application to deploy mobile data collection forms.
Source: Android description
Price: free (limited options) / payment (from $417/month if payment is made annually)
Language: English / French / Spanish / Portuguese / Chinese
Runs offline: yes (connection needed to download forms and send data)
Last update: Android 01/08/2016 (v. 5.4.8) – iOS 29/09/2016 (v. 3.2.2)
Website of the developer: DataDyne Group
Notes: article updated on 05/12/2016
Magpi, formerly called EpiSurveyor, is a tool for creating forms that allows data collection in the field. The application consists of two parts:
- the form design work, which is done from a computer, and from whose interface can also be added records.
- data collection through mobile devices, in which previously designed forms are loaded for filling them in.
The use of the application requires opening an account in which a user name and password is provided. The free option, as commented in the section “Useful information”, is limited to a series of records and only has a number of activated features (in the free version, for example, you can’t add photos). The application, depending on use, has several payment options.
As you can see in the screenshots, the design of forms has several options, allowing the inclusion of various fields in many formats (drop-down lists, check boxes, text boxes, etc.). An interesting feature of Magpi is the possibility to design forms that can be send via SMS (text or voice. The free account includes 10 credits to test this system), a communication system that is acquiring a great importance in some developing countries.
Once the form has been created, Magpi mobile application allows access it from a mobile device by signing in with the username and password used to open the account. Although the forms can be filled in offline mode, the initial charge of them requires an Internet connection.
The application also allows the generation of reports based on collected data (Reports tab) for Pro and Enterprises profiles, thus enabling an easiest analysis of the the information.
Images: Screenshot 20/07/2015 – 05/12/2016 ©DataDyne Group
Data collection is a fundamental tasks in order to have reliable information to the development of policies and effective actions. The need is evident in several areas such as the environment, through, for example, citizen science programs, or health (in the latter case, it is remarkable the use of Magpi in the control of Ebola epidemic).
The latest updates of this application have improved the design of the web platform, incorporating numerous tutorials on how to create surveys, how to send SMS, etc. In the same way, the technical support offered by the tool has been improved, being possible the consultation around problems and incidents from a dialog box accessible from the design platform. The app also highlights for the option to send SMS, although it is a functionality that in the free accounts is limited to 10 credits (with these credits, you can send between 1 and 5 messages, number that depends of country and the rates assigned to each territory). As aspects of improvement, it would be interesting to enable an option to edit the forms through the mobile, because sometimes and while the data is being collected, the need to add new fields may arise. Regarding the price, although free accounts can meet the needs of many organizations, options such as the SMS system may incline other NGOs or entities towards a payment account.