KoBoCollect is based on the OpenDataKit and is used for primary data collection in humanitarian emergencies and other challenging field environments. With this app you enter data from interviews or other primary data, online or offline.
Source: Android description
Language: Spanish / English / French / Arabic
Runs offline: yes
Last update: Android 16/05/2016
Website of the developer: Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
KoBoToolbox (web) and KoBoCollect (Android) is a same application with two different interfaces that lets you to gather offline data about many aspects such as environment, natural disasters, humanitarian crises, etc.
Although only they have developed an application for Android devices, this tool can also used on other operating systems (iOS, Windows, etc.), because the forms are available via web even when there is no internet connection. This feature is possible because the datasheets are created with Enketo, a website that offers solutions for the collection of offline data that are sent when a connection is detected.
The application has two distinct parts:
- The web interface, from where the user account and forms are created. Once registered, you can access to a management panel in which the forms created, a library to store questions frequently used and a list of active projects (take a look at project settings to assign roles to the users) are displayed. The creation of the forms is carried out by clicking on the button “New” from the first icon. This option also lets you to upload previously created forms in Excel format. In the section where you create the forms, you can select which metadata you need to collect in addition to the questions themselves, which can be added from the “+” icon located in the lower left corner of the dialog box. Once created the form, before you start collecting data offline, you need to deploy the form as a new data project, a requirement that is made from the list of forms (see picture).
- The mobile application for Android devices, which must be synchronized with the user account from the “General settings” option. In that tab you must enter the URL that you have as a user (https://kc.kobotoolbox.org/username/. Here you have more information about this particular), your username and password. Once this first step has been taken and as long as you have an internet connection, you can download the forms (“Get blank form”) that you created from the web interface and complete them without connection (“Fill blank form “). As for the possibility to work with data sheets directly from the browser, you only need to distribute a URL that you can get from the web interface, “Projects” option (the globe icon), the project of interest, “Enter data in browser” option. After reading this URL on the device which you are going to use to collect data, it is no longer necessary to keep connected it to Internet (more information about this utility).
Images: Screenshots 30/05/2016. © Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
The gathering of data facilitates, ultimately, the decisions making, the approach of critical questions, the opening of new communication channels or the improvement of the services. Data are crucial, for example, for the development of environmental policies and the later analysis whether they are working or not, as the document (pdf) “Shared environmental information system (SEIS)” points up. Traditionally, this task of collecting first-hand information has been carried out with forms printed on paper, entering responses manually that later they had to be transcribed to a computer. However, for several years there is greater accessibility to portable devices such as phones or tablets, which is allowing to digitize data collection.
KoBoCollect and KoBoToolbox, a tool with two different presentations, facilitates the creation and use of digital forms to collect information. It is fairly simple to configure, although tutorials in other languages besides English are missing. The offline mode is extremely useful for areas where coverage is void or poor. It is especially interesting the implemented Enketo system, which facilitates the use of the tool in numerous devices. However, it has tried to access the URL with a simple mobile phone, a Nokia X2, but it has been impossible to read the form.