Field data collection can be a complicated process that requires a lot of resources. Project manager has to build well defined forms and hand them out, organizations need field workers to collect the data. The field workers have to carry the forms and other equipment to remote locations and back to the office. Errors may occur when collecting the data, transporting it or when entering the paper based data into a digital form. For managers the monitoring capabilities are weak during the process and reasonable outcomes are not guaranteed. This is a time taking process which has a lot of chances for something to go wrong.
Oftentimes the paper ends up all dirty and scruffed up, or else lost altogether, never to be found again, leading to a little guesswork and a lot of retyping. It’s a long, tedious process for staff and volunteers and it makes reliable monitoring of programmes difficult.
– Maja Cubarrubia, Plan Thailand’s country director
When using mobile devices in field data collection you can eliminate pen and paper based surveys. There are also fewer errors because the data is entered to the system only once and someone can analyze the data in real time back at the office. Forms in mobile devices can be as detailed and complex as anyone would like and the collected data can be anything that a smartphone or a tablet can capture, for example images or location data. This does not only give your field data reliability but it cuts down cost and time. I hope this helps you to understand how mobile based field data collection can help organizations.
As Maja Cubarrubia, Plan Thailand’s country directors, says, “We’ve created a lot of excitement here, and once staff get the hang of it, they’ll think this is something we should all be doing!”
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