Mobile Data Collection Series: Open Data Kit

About this webinar:

The wide-spread availability of phone-based communications, and the increasing availability of smartphones and tablets offers international development researchers, practitioners, and students an array of new toolsand techniques for collecting field data. This includes new methods for administering surveys that can improve upon traditional pen and paper surveys with novel, real-time, electronic data capture. As adoption of ICTs by development researchers and organizations becomes more widespread, additional uses have emerged – from data collection for monitoring, visualization, and analysis.

Sponsored by the Development Impact Lab and Engineering for Change, theMobile Data Collection Webinar Series will provide participants with an introduction to a sample of survey software tools transforming the collection of data for international development research and how they might implement each tool within their own work.

Open Data Kit (ODK) is an open-source, modular set of tools for building mobile data collection systems. ODK provides an out-of-the-box solution for organizations to author, deploy, and manage mobile data collection solutions. The goal of ODK is to create an ecosystem of data collection tools through modularized abstractions to enable users to mix-and-match pieces needed to build application-specific mobile information service as well as develop their own components.

Since much of ODK 1.x style functionality has been covered by the previous webinars, this presentation will provide a brief introduction to ODK 1.x with a discussion of some of the successes and lessons learned. The second half of the presentation will give a preview of the new ODK 2.0 tool suite which is a parallel set of tools designed from feedback from users and developers about limitations experienced with ODK 1.x tools. The ODK 2.0 tool suite aims to increase an organization’s data collection and management capabilities by supporting data synchronization, malleable workflows, configurable presentation screens, and new data input methods on mobile devices.


Waylon Brunette is one of the founders of Open Data Kit and is a current member of the ODK core development team. Waylon is currently a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. He was formerly advised by Professor Gaetano Borriello and is currently advised by Professors Richard Anderson and Magdalena Balazinska. Waylon’s research interests include mobile systems, sensing, ubiquitous computing, and data management. His work focuses on designing systems that improve the lives of underserved populations in low-income regions by leveraging mobile computing devices and sensors.


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