Data Collection Apps ODK Collect vs Collector for ArcGIS vs Mobile Data Collection ... and 8 more

Edited by Jay

Smartphones and tablets offer a world of convenience when it comes to working remotely or in the field, in virtually any industry. Back before the digital age, professionals and students would have to log all their data on paper with the added headaches of organizing and keeping track of it. Paperwork, in general, can be a slow and arduous task that can break down even the most resilient individuals.

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Today, data collection can be handled entirely with the use of a mobile device and a few specially selected apps. With the ability to customize forms on the fly in real-time, surveyors can maximize the quality of data they collect, as well as automate multiple processes.

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Method 1: ODK Collect

ODK Collect by Open Data Kit for Android makes an excellent alternative to paper-based forms and data sheets.

Users don't have to worry about being connected to the internet while out collecting data; the app will sync up once a connection is made, and your information will be backed up.

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    1. Data can be collected while the user is offline or out of service reach.
    2. Intuitive and intelligent layout that displays certain information based on the user's inputs.
    3. Group together repetitive tasks or questions.
    4. The ODK free server can generate CSV files or export to Google Spreadsheets.
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    1. Free version.
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    1. ODK Collect can be downloaded from Google Play.
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Method 2: Collector for ArcGIS

Collector for ArcGIS is a geographical information system app that increases fieldwork efficiency significantly.

Users can use maps to ground truth their data, make additional observations and to interact with events as they happen.

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    1. Collect area, points, lines and all other related data.
    2. Easily attach images to your features.
    3. Simple to fill forms.
    4. Utilizes professional level GPS receivers.
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    1. Free version.
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    1. Collector for ArcGIS can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes.
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Method 3: Mobile Data Collection

Mobile Data Collection by GIS Cloud is a mobile optimized tool for collecting data, in real-time with custom forms.

On top of collecting and storing via geo-based cloud support, the app allows users to review data directly from their mobile phone or tablet.

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    1. Fully capture and collect data offline.
    2. Supports QR and bar codes.
    3. Detailed GIS symbols and visuals.
    4. Real-time GPS.
    5. Create custom forms.
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    1. Free version.
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    1. Mobile Data Collection can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes.
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  • Method 4: Collect - Data Collection Tool

    Collect by SocialCops is a full-featured data collection app that can produce a wide variety of surveys in 460 languages.

    Collect is quite versatile in that surveyors can manage any kind of field data including video, audio, images, and text.

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      1. Run several surveys under one company/organization.
      2. Create customized validation questions for data verification.
      3. Utilizes skip-level logic for mobile optimized surveys.
      4. On-board monitoring watches projects, people and locations.
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      1. Free version.
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      Download/Install
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      1. Collect - Data Collection Tool can be downloaded from Google Play.
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    Method 5: Epicollect5 Data Collection

    Epicollect5 is a simple, but highly functional data collection app for Android and iOS that creates and hosts surveys and questionnaires.

    Completely free to use, Epicollect5 makes data collection smooth and effortless with a variety of features and an easy to navigate user interface.

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      1. GPS and media is also collected with original data.
      2. Data can be exported in either JSON or CSV format.
      3. Final organized data can be viewed online via tables and charts.
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      1. Free version.
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      1. Epicollect5 Data Collection can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes.
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    Method 6: Survey123 for ArcGIS

    Survey123 for ArcGIS is a simple yet effective mobile app that specializes in data collection, via the use of custom, downloadable forms.

    Users simply need to sign into their ArcGIS organizational account to select and download forms to get going collecting data.

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      1. Supports varying levels of forms, simple through to highly detailed.
      2. Inputted data is immediately displayed for review in an easy-to-read, visually pleasing format.
      3. No complicated steps or processes.
      4. Makes use of skip logic and can apply rules for validation.
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      1. Free version.
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    4. 4
      Download/Install
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      1. Survey123 for ArcGIS can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes.
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    Method 7: GoFormz Mobile Forms & Reports

    GoFormz Mobile for Android and iOS takes traditional paper forms to an entirely new level with full customization and detailed reporting.

    GoFormz is growing in popularity with thousands of people using it daily for their form creation and data collection needs.

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      1. Simple form field creation and editing.
      2. Automatically creates clean and professional looking PDFs.
      3. Collaborate and review advanced reporting.
      4. Apply auto-calculation and skip logic to forms for more advanced data surveying.
      5. All data collected can be viewed anytime online.
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      1. Free version.
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    4. 4
      Download/Install
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      1. GoFormz can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes.
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    Method 8: Forms

    Forms by Device Magic Inc. is a mobile optimized tool that takes any paperwork, and both digitizes and automates it.

    Device Magic's Forms can display and share data in real-time, as well as export it in various file formats such as PDF, DOC, Spreadsheet, etc.

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      1. Easy to use drag and drop style form builder.
      2. Automate inspections, invoices, audits, checklists and more.
      3. Supports barcode readers and scanners.
      4. Built-in image capturing with caption/annotation support.
      5. Signature capturing option.
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      1. Free version.
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    4. 4
      Download/Install
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      1. Forms by Device Magic can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes.
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    Method 9: SurveyCTO Collect Demo

    As the mobile app portion of SurveyCTO, users can fill out custom created forms and surveys directly from their mobile devices.

    SurveyCTO is a great tool for capturing, organizing and processing data collected during interviews, surveying, researching, etc.

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      1. SurveyCTO Server that acts as the hub for all your surveys and is where users manage and edit their forms.
      2. SurveyCTO Collect is the mobile app where users fill out the questions on the surveys.
      3. SurveyCTO Client is the desktop portion where users can download and export their collected data.
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      1. Free 30-day trial.
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      1. SurveyCTO Collect Demo can be downloaded from Google Play.
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    Method 10: Geo Data Collect

    Geo Data Collect is an open source, mobile data collection tool with built-in geolocation functionality.

    Geo Data Collect is a tool that eliminates the need for a standalone GPS unit, as well as paper.

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      1. Export GPS tracks (GPX format).
      2. Supports tracking via GPS (embedded).
      3. Users can download and edit blank forms.
      4. Full open source code.
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      1. Free version.
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      Download/Install
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      1. The Geo Data Collect mobile app can be downloaded from Google Play.
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    Method 11: PinPoint-GIS

    PinPoint-GIS by Septentrio is the mobile app that allows users to flawlessly control their GNSS receiver, right from their preferred phone or tablet.

    Known in the industry for their accurate positioning capabilities, PinPoint-GIS is no exception by giving users complete control over their Septentrio receivers.

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      1. Users can connect via Bluetooth, WiFi or a GSM data plan.
      2. Accuracy widgets for quick access to monitor receiver errors and positions.
      3. Personalized connection manager to create profiles for faster future access.
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      1. Free version.
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      Download/Install
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      1. PinPoint-GIS can be downloaded from Google Play.
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    Whatever your data collection requirements are, there is no doubt an app or two above that can help streamline and automate your workflow. In addition to cutting down on paper usage, using digital tools for managing data and traditional paperwork, is far more accurate, reliable and less irritating.

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    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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