Open Data Kit: Technologies for Mobile Data Collection and Deployment Experiences in Developing Regions

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Open Data Kit: Technologies for Mobile Data Collection and Deployment Experiences in Developing Regions

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Title: Open Data Kit: Technologies for Mobile Data Collection and Deployment Experiences in Developing Regions
Author: Hartung, Carl
Abstract: Gathering information accurately and quickly is essential for enabling organizations working in low-resource settings to have timely and sustainable impact. Due to insufficient infrastructure, many organizations currently use paper to collect data in the field, only to have data entry clerks digitize the data later. This often introduces latency and potential sources of error. However, the growing development of cellular infrastructure combined with the rapid decline in the cost of smart phones presents an opportunity to shift the primary collection medium from paper to mobile devices. This dissertation presents our contribution to data collection in developing regions, Open Data Kit (ODK), an extensible, open-source suite of tools designed to facilitate tasks at every level of data collection campaigns. ODK currently provides three tools to this end: Collect, Aggregate, and Build. Collect is a mobile client providing simple interfaces for collecting data. Aggregate is an easy to deploy data storage system hosted in the "cloud" or on local servers. Build is a web-based drag-and-drop form designer created to simplify the process of creating complex digital forms. By providing the ability to both capture and present richer data (e.g. images, video, and location), ODK tools have provided organizations new ways to collect and analyze information. We present the system architecture and through example real-world deployments, highlight specific design decisions that have enabled new directions in data collection and workforce management. Finally, we discuss lessons learned in building the system and present promising future directions in the space.
Description: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Washington, 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/20748
Author requested restriction: No embargo

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