mCollect, a Mobile Data Collection Platform

Often, pen-and-paper based surveys are used for field work but there are many problems with such manual techniques. Managing the logistics of paper transportation limits the scalability and flexibility of such approaches. But mobile technology has now matured to a level where the use of electronic forms on mobile devices offers significant advantages.

Architecture of mCollect Platform:

A flexible electronic data collection solution offers many advantages over traditional pen-and-paper methods, with some listed below:

Higher reliability
Field level validation at the time of entry
Range checks
Control over sequencing of questions due to skip logic
Reduction in transaction costs
Automatic download of forms reduces logistics overheads
Reduced errors due to detection at the source of input
Reduction in transaction time due to real-time upload of data
Automatic recording of date-time stamp
Automatic recording of location coordinates (GPS)
Reduction in training time of field-workers due to online information dissemination
Increase in coverage of target population by field-workers in comparison with pen-and-paper solutions
Higher scalability and flexibility

mCollect is a mobile data collection platform which facilitates the development and deployment of complex forms and provides all of the advantages of a contemporary electronic data collection platform along with a host of other useful features.  

The mCollect software has the following major features

Based on XForms technology, an open XML standard format specifically designed for electronic forms
A CSV-based Forms Designer for quickly developing electronic forms
Server for handling incoming data from multiple mobile clients
Provides persistent storage for incoming data with export into various formats
Administration Dashboard for Settings, Tasks, Workflows & User Management
Workflow Engine for implementing workflows to manage the data collection process of remote mobile clients
The ability of mobile clients to collect data in offline mode
A choice of mobile client applications
mForms, a mobile client for low-cost Java based feature-phones
mCollect-Android, a mobile client for android smartphones and tablets

Overview of the data collection process:

Typical application areas

The mCollect electronic data collection software can be used in a variety of application scenarios such as:

Applications in Public Health
Demographics Surveillance
Longitudinal Cohort Studies
Data Collection in Clinical Trials
Service Availability Mapping
Research Studies
Sample Surveys for Market Research
Sample Surveys for e-Governance Projects
Other mobile applications
Micro Finance and Insurance services
Mobile Commerce
Mobile Governance