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MW4D Tools: Data collection tools


This document is a child page of the page on Tools for MW4D Services. The aim with this document is to test the methodology developed to evaluate and sort tools on a specific family of tools: Data Collection tools. This page will also serve a reference directory for such tools.



  • Max Froumentin
  • Stephane Boyera


Existing Tools


  • From: UCLA CSD (John Hicks, Nithya Ramanathan, Donnie Kim, Mohamad Monibi, Joshua Selsky, Mark Hansen†, Deborah Estrin)
  • Description, from AndWellness: An Open Mobile System for Activity and Experience Sampling paper: AndWellness, a personal data collection system, uses mobile phones to collect and analyze data from both active, triggered user experience samples and passive logging of onboard environmental sensors. The system includes an application that runs on Android based mobile phones, server software that manages deployments and acts as a central repository for data, and a dashboard front end for both participants and researchers to visualize incoming data in real-time.
  • Architecture:
    • Server: Java 1.6 and is hosted in the Apache Tomcat 6.0 environment
    • Device: Android App
    • Visualisation: JavaScript in browser
  • Openness
    • Standards: apparently not
    • Download: closed (site)


  • From: consortium of partners, including African Operators
  • Description: System for managing patients, forms, health reports and alerts by SMS
  • Components:
    • Server based on RapidSMS, with Web frontent, currently not available for download
    • Client: any mobile phone with SMS
  • Openness:


  • From: Dimagi and D-tree
  • Description: fork of JavaRosa tailored for specific deployments
  • Architecture: J2ME app
  • Openness: open source, implements openRosa


  • From: FrontlineSMS and Masabi
  • Description: a JavaME client for form processing and submission by SMS, and a FrontLineSMS plug-in on the server-side.
  • Openness:
    • client code: not available
    • Plugin code: available
    • Protocols: not documented


  • Made by: Handsrel
  • Description: HTML+Gears offline client for openXdata
  • Openness: open source


  • Made by: Cell-Life, based on openXdata(?)
  • Description: J2ME client, hosted server with web interfacee
  • Openness: not free, closed source


  • From: DataDyne
  • Description: online survey maker, and downloadable mobile clients (J2ME, Android, PalmOS, Blackberry, Win). Free for simple use. Pay for support, large deployments, customisation. Also announced support for SMS in April 2011
  • Openness: open source clients, closed hosted server, survey designer. Open API, submissions based on openRosa


  • From: AED Satellife
  • Description: alerting, analysis and reporting platform that uses data collected on mobile devices. Hosted, or on site
  • Openness: "built from "best-of-breed" open source software elements".

Mobile Researcher

  • From: Clyral
  • Description: J2ME client, Hosted server with web interface for survey design and data display
  • Openness: not free, closed source, http API


  • From: volunteers
  • Description: Windows Mobile client that samples device sensors but can also do surveys. Merged with The Context-Aware Experience Sampling (CAES). Example project: Mobile Heart Health
  • Architecture: WM client, Windows server?
  • Openness: free source, uses custom XML for data exchange

Nokia Data Gathering

  • From: Nokia CSR
  • Description: open-source tool, which includes a client for J2ME phones, and a server for survey dispatch and results collection. Also host a server which currently serves 80 NGO projects
  • Openness: all LGPL, support of openRosa planned for version 3.04, scheduled for release on April 29.

Open Data Kit

  • From: volunteers, notably Yaw Anokwa
  • Description: Open Data Kit (ODK) is a free and open-source set tools which help organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection solutions
  • Architecture:
    • ODK Build: online editor
    • ODK Collect: android client
    • ODK Aggregate: server (Java)
    • More modules, notably ODK Voice, IVR client based on Asterisk+VoiceGlue (not actively used)
  • Openness
    • Standards: OpenROSA format, uses JavaROSA code
    • Download: open source, hosted on google code

Open mHealth

  • From: Deborah Estrin, Ida Sim, Michael Swiernik
  • Software architecture: 3 modules
    • Server Module: Java Servlet Container-based application running on Tomcat 6.
    • The web module: currently used solely for data visualization purposes, however in the future it is anticipated that data capture will also occur here
  • Openness
    • Standards "An area of active development is in defining the data standards that should exist between modules"
    • Download: available on request


  • Description:

OpenMRS is an application which enables design of a customized medical records system with no programming knowledge (although medical and systems analysis knowledge is required). It is a common framework upon which medical informatics efforts in developing countries can be built At this stage, OpenMRS requires a fairly sophisticated team of implementers to install and run. Such teams in several countries are in the process or considering implementations at this time. We are working toward a pre-built implementation that would allow more clinic sites to take advantage of a sophisticated, scalable EMR without needing the expertise to support and maintain it at a low level

  • From: OpenMRS is amulti-institution, non-profit collaborative led by Regenstrief Institute, a world-renowned leader in medical informatics research, and Partners In Health, a Boston-based philanthropic organization
  • Description:
    • Web server in Java, that allows management as well as data entry (registered users). Includes mobile Web version.
    • Mobile Client: Mobile OpenMRS, adapted from openXdata
    • Messaging Module (SMS, email, twitter)
    • Interfaces with FrontlineSMS, RapidSMS
    • Third party clients: Sana (Android)
  • Openness
    • Standards: uses XForms as optional data submission
    • Code: available


  • From: Consortium of organizations
  • Description: JavaServer / J2ME client (epiHandy). Uses OpenROSA/JavaROSA?
  • Components
    • Server: HTML form designer served by Tomcat 6
    • Client: either Web (EMIT) or J2ME
  • Openness:
    • standards: not specified, but probably openROSA
    • Code available


  • From: Millennium Villages Project with support from the UNICEF Innovation Group
  • Description: mHealth platform based on SMS message exchange. Special syntax for encoding health information from client to server
  • Components:
    • Server: Django based
    • Client: any SMS phone
  • Openness: open source, no standards

Sanamobile (formerly Moca)

  • From: Sana, student organization based at MIT
  • Description: an Android client that uploads survey data to openMRS
  • Openness: all open source, uses openMRS API/formats


  • From: Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education
  • Description: Android client. Customized ODK which adds phone directory and multimedia player. Server: web server with a MySQL database and application code in PHP based on the Kohana framework
  • Openness: open source claimed, but code not found


  • Pendragon Forms: Windows server, HTML5/iPhone/Android clients. Closed source, closed standards
  • KeySurvey: hosted web app, same web site for all stages. IVR possible, but not documented. Commercial, Closed source.
  • surveyGizmo: hostd webabb, desktop only. Commercial, closed source

To expand

acquee.com ("coming soon")

Evaluation Methodology