E-Agriculture

Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural, socio-economic, or M&E data (Open 11 June)

Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural, socio-economic, or M&E data (Open 11 June)

 Question 1: Collecting data the conventional way (through paper and pen) is time-consuming, costly, and difficult to manage. However, digitization and increases in connectivity have created opportunities to improve these processes.

What types of ICT applications or devices are available for collecting agricultural, socio-economic, or M&E data in remote locations? How can you use them?

 

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Chris Reichart
Chris ReichartiFormBuilderUnited States of America

With a focus on disconnected data collection and the ability to capture robust data (smart option lists, photo, audio etc.), we have seen some very cost effective and successful solutions being used by our iFormBuilder users.  While most would think of the iPad, iPhone or Android device as the best tool to capture this type of a data, a common setup is an iPod touch with a dual XGPS 150 to collect accurate GPS data along with each record captured.  The ability to capture multiple records in the field and sync when there is connectivity has worked well for many.

For situations that find users in ultra-disconnected environments for longer periods of times we have found the need to offer a local cloud solution to allow field users to sync data real-time while allowing the data to be assessed and processed locally. The local cloud device can then be taken to a location with connectivity after the project is completed to upload the data to the cloud. This is becoming an effective way to capture good data in a disconnected world that many of our users find themselves in.

Eija Pehu
Eija PehuUnited States of America

Could you give a special example of the iPod solution you mention? Where, what type of data collected, and links or reports available?

More generally, have you or others come across a review of different options for data collection, pros and cons, costs, contexts where they would work best?

 

OR DASHEVSKY
OR DASHEVSKYCatholic Relief ServicesUnited States of America

We using iPod devices in Central African Republic for managing Seed Fairs. Part of our silution also using barcoded ID cards for Beneficiaries tracking and voucher tracking. One of the improvements that we got from using this solution is a)Reduced time to conduct Seed Fair. It used to take us six hours per Seed Fair and we managed to reduce it to 3.5 hours b)Resources (Staff) its takes to manage Seed Fair.

Benjamin Kwasi Addom
Benjamin Kwasi AddomThe Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)Netherlands

@eijapehu: They look old but will still give some idea -:)

Mobile Phone for Data Collection: Mobile Active - This is 2009

Comparing Mobile Data Collection Tools: Mobile Active - This is 2010

Ben

Robert Kibaya
Robert KibayaKikandwa Rural Communities Development Organization - KIRUCODOUganda

 Thank you for sharing this information. May I know how much that ipod touch costs. Still, such modern gadgets are expesive for we organizations operating in rural communities. Further, they are not at our reach most of the time and accessing a genuine. Also, we lack basic training on how to use them. How do you ensure the elimination of the current challenges mentioned of above among others?

Chris Reichart
Chris ReichartiFormBuilderUnited States of America

Choosing the right device for the your project is an important decision and a major part of the decision is usability.  We have received consistant feedback on the ease of use and low learning curve of using Apple devices.  Many field users have never used the technology before and the intuitive interface has been a major reason the iPod touch and iPad have been the choice for projects requiring more robust data collection. A feature of our platform is an attachment element that allows PDF, .mov or .m4v files to be stored locally on the device after the intitial sync.  This allows for detailed instruction documents or instructional videos to be included in the form itself with or without connectivity leading to higher quality and more consistant data. 

The newest iPod touch can be purchased for under $170 from the refurbished store and 2nd and 3rd gen devices can be found for even less.  We have had customers try to leverage cheaper devices, but bad visibility in the sun, limited capabilities including usability and limited battery life have been common issues, and the fact that you don't need a data plan is also a factor in choosing an iPod touch or an iPad.  

We have chosen to build a native client vs a web based client to take full advantage of the device capabilites and if you require robust data capture including photo capture, audio capture, signature capture and complex logic with no depenability on a live connection while in the field we have seen great success leveraging the iPod touch or iPad.  If your project requires simple data collection I agree there are many other devices that are more cost effective and the ability to leverage SMS may be the ticket, but if you need to go beyond web forms and sms for more detailed data collection, emerging devices like the iPod touch are worth the additonal cost.

Robert Kibaya
Robert KibayaKikandwa Rural Communities Development Organization - KIRUCODOUganda

Thank you @creichart for these details and all the explanation. If possible, you share with me some of your fieldwork while working with these ipod touch. Also, can one be able to collect coordinates with this kind of technology for use on google maps, etc. Surely, I need to read more on these ipod touch and if you have more information on them I request you to share it with me.

Thank you and looking forward to hear from you soon

Robert
 

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Chris Reichart
Chris ReichartiFormBuilderUnited States of America

Hi @rob_kib  You may have seen these in my other post, but there are some great detailed use cases from the CRS ICT4D Event (http://www.crsprogramquality.org/ict4d-2012/).  Particularly The CAR Seed Fair and the KAP Malaria presentations from the Day 2 which show detailed architecture used for the projects. 

Location data is captured with each record and many clients using iPod touch's leverging an external GPS device like a Dual XGPS150.  If you have a connected device with GPS capabilites, locatation data is captured with each record by default.

Robert Kibaya
Robert KibayaKikandwa Rural Communities Development Organization - KIRUCODOUganda

<html><body><div style="color:#000; background-color:#fff; font-family:garamond, new york, times, serif;font-size:14pt"><div><span>Thank you @creichart for these details and all the explanation. If possible, you share with me some of your fieldwork while working with these ipod touch. Also, can one be able to collect coordinates with this kind of technology for use on google maps, etc. Surely, I need to read more on these ipod touch and if you have more information on them I request you to share it with me.</span></div><div><span></span></div><div><span>Thank you and looking forward to hear from you soon</span></div><div><span><br></span></div><div><span>Robert</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div style="line-height: normal; font-family: times, serif; " class="yui_3_2_0_2_132283496288846"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#0000bf" size="2"><b><br></b></font></div><div style="line-height: normal; color: rgb(0, 0, 191); font-size: 13px;
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Facebook</font></a></font></font></font></font></div></div><div><br></div> <div style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: garamond, 'new york', times, serif; "> <div style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'times new roman', 'new york', times, serif; "> <div dir="ltr"> <font size="2" face="Arial"> <hr size="1"> <b><span style="font-weight:bold;">From:</span></b> "info@e-agriculture.org" &lt;info@e-agriculture.org&gt;<br> <b><span style="font-weight: bold;">To:</span></b> rob_kib &lt;rob_kib@yahoo.com&gt; <br> <b><span style="font-weight: bold;">Sent:</span></b> Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:00 AM<br> <b><span style="font-weight: bold;">Subject:</span></b> Re: [e-Agriculture] Question 1: ICTs for collecting agricultural,
socio-economic, or M&amp;E data (Open 11 June)<br> </font> </div> <br>
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Hello rob_kib,

 

Your comment caught my attention when you mentioned 'lack of training'  on how to use IT based tools for data capture. While I agree with you that there exist a knowlegede gap when it comes to use of IT tools  you will agree with me that there are some individuals in any group with the capacity to learn faster than others.

Where knowlegede transfer is expensive and not locally domicilled , it is advised to focus knowlegde dissemination to this individuals ( in some cases some local farmers have even suggested that thier children be taught how to use these tools  while they focus on what they know best)

These folks can now be saddled with the task of passing the new skills to others at a mutually agreed pace and convinience.

Also you might want to research more alternatives to buying expensive gadgets such as a local cooperative or group coming togther  .

A group usually has higher negotaiation and purchasing power - much higher than the individual.

 

Regards.