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Episurveyor (soon to be known as Magpi)[1]
Episurveyor is a simple, mobile data collection system designed in Kenya. Founded in 2009, EpiSurveyor has more than 10,000 users and is used in more than 170 countries. Organizations of all sizes use Episurveyor for a diverse array of projects. EpiSurveyor has been used for health, education, environmental conservation, agricultural, and human right bases data collection. Data can be collected with mobile phones (both smart and basic cell phones) and then wirelessly compiled and analysis from the EpiSurveyor website. Episurveyor is funded by the United Nations Foundation, the Vodafone Foundation, and a World Bank Development Marketplace Grant. Mobile phone survey technology has reduced both the time, cost, and analysis of data collection. According to a study done by the Telenor Group and the Boston Consulting Group, costs have been cut by 71% through using Episurveyor[2] . Data collection is extremely important in development for both monitoring of patients and supplies and monitoring and evaluation of programs. Mobile applications can be used by NGOs, civil society organization, and governments. Episurveyor is optimal for using in the field and eliminates the need to carry around multiple paper surveys and minimizes the time translating paper surveys to electronic formats for analysis.





Functions
There are 5 different types of questions; multiple choice, text input, number input, date input, and GPS recording questions. All data can be collected and then sent to the Episurveyor server to collect and compile data. Surveys are created online at episurveyor.org. Through the mobil application you can download your survey and run it on the application. Once you have collected the data you can send it to the episurveyor server, where it is collected and automatically analysed. Your data can be exported for further use or it can be review online in the form of tables, graphs, and maps.





Use for Population Surveying
Mobile surveying can be used for monitoring population health metrics in a variety of ways. For example, it can be used to monitor children's growth over a certain period of time through community health worker models. Or similarly, it can be used to monitor mother's during pregnancy to make sure their health needs are being met. Monitoring health metrics can also translate into a mobile-based patient records system.


Use for Monitoring and Evaluation
Mobile surveying can be used to measure programs in order to measure their effectiveness. This is very helpful for organizations to have real time information about the programs they are implementing.


Example
The following pictures are from a survey I set up. The survey included three questions:
  1. Have you every had the flu?
  2. Did you get a flu shot this year?
  3. How often do you take public transportation?
Each question had multiple choice answers.
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The following is the results from the class survey. The results show that many people in the class have had the flu at some point in their lives, very few of them have gotten a flu shot this year, and that the majority take public transportation 5-7 days a week. You can easily see this in the bar graphs below.
EpiSurveyor   Public Health Technology   DataDyne.org.png


Examples of projects
  • Kenya Ministry of Health creates a variety of surveys on health topics ranging from maternal health to vaccine adherence
  • TulaSalud, Guatemala: Collects women's health data through a community health worker model



  • Camfed: collets education information in multiple countries to help support girls in school
  • Internews: collected human rights data from Dadaab Refugee Camps in Northern Kenya



  • Aquaya: collects GPS data on water resources in Southeast Asia
  • USAID Malaria Supply Chain Management in four sub-Saharan African Countries (more information here)


Other mobile phone survey tools
  • FrountlineSMS
    • Patient record system and data collection system
  • Open Data Kit
    • Data collection and analysis system
  • CommCare
    • HIPPA compliant (U.S. patient privacy laws) data collection system


Critiques and Conclusions
Overall, mobile surveying can make collecting data faster, more efficient, and cheaper than traditional methods of collecting data. The challenges of mobile surveying are based more in the infrastructure challenges. There are differences in urban and rural challenges. In the rural setting, a lack of electricity can hinder mobile usage. Also, using data or sending text messages can cost the user money. Technical challenges can be a hindrance if they field personnel implementing the survey do not know how to troubleshoot challenges. This is often seen in the development field, where a program is implemented without proper teaching on how to create solutions for technical problems.






[This data have been compiled by Kris]
  1. ^ DataDyne.org. (2010). Episurveyor. Retrieved from http://www.episurveyor.org/
  2. ^ The Boston Consulting Group. , & The Telenor Group, (2012). THe Boston Consulting Group.