Features

Online Editor

You can use any odk compatible editor such as xlsForm with Smap. However the online editor makes it easy to:

  • Create and test a quick survey
  • Edit a survey after data collection has started
  • Get the questions translated into local languages

Geo-Spatial

All collected data is stored in a Postgis database as points, lines or polygons. The data can be viewed on maps colour coded according by value. These points, or other geometries, can also be aggregated by regions. Arbitrary grids of hexagons can be generated within the system to aggregate data where regional boundaries are not available. Because the data is in a geospatial database it can be readily accessed by a GIS system for more in depth analysis.

Task Management

Tasks can be allocated to users. These consist of a survey that must be completed at, optionally, a specific location and a specific time. These tasks can be down loaded by users to their phones where they will be shown as a list and on a map. Tasks can be created based on the results of previous surveys, that is follow ups, or can be created at arbitrary new locations designated by the administrator.

Analysis

Smap provides a dashboard" where users can create maps, graphs, tables and media views. The intention is to assist in showing results as they are being collected and performing a preliminary assessment of the data. It is expected that the data would then be exported to a specialist analysis tool such as SPSS, STATA a GIS or even Excel. Graphs, maps and tables can show timeseries data as well as static views.

Data Cleansing

A data review screen allows an analyst to view unique responses to text questions and modify them. Where the text question is an "other" option for a "select multiple" or "select one" question then they can choose one of the options to replace the text. All changes are logged and can be undone.

Android Phones

The primary method of data collection is using a native Android phone application. Either odkCollect or fieldTask can be used. fieldTask is based on odkCollect and adds the task management feature.

Web Forms

Once a survey template has been loaded into the Smap Server it can be completed in a web browser as well being down loaded to an Android phone. This could be used to collect data on iPhones as well as to enter data that may have been recorded on a paper form.

Multi-Tenant

Multiple organisations can share a single Smap Server with their data being isolated from each other. This could suit a large organisation that has, perhaps, multiple subsidiary organisations each of which works independently. Each of these subsidiary organisations can be set up as an organisation on the Smap Server. The administrator(s) for each organisation can also set up projects to isolate data collection activities and they can create users with an analyst or enumerator role that have access to 1 or more of these projects.

Reports

Reports can be created containing graphs, maps, tables or individual media items (photos, video or audio). These reports can be published by email, twitter, Facebook or embedded into a Wordpress blog. Normally access to data on the server requires a user id and password. However reports are protected by a GUID, that is a long random string of data. Once the recipient of a report receives this URL then they can view the contents without a password.

Exports

Data can be exported to:

  • Excel
  • CSV
  • Openstreetmap(OSM)
  • Shape File
  • KML/KMZ
  • VRT/CSV
  • Neo4J

Export Unicode to Excel

Languages represented using Unicode can be directly exported to Microsoft Excel from the server.

Server Side Calculations

Calculated values can be created on the phone during a survey which is very useful for controlling the flow of the questions and giving immediate feedback to the data collector. However Smap also supports the creation of calculations on the completed data. Currently there are only two functions available:

  • The area of a polygon
  • The length of a line

However additional functions could be readily added. For example to calculate nutritional z-scores. Contact us if you have specific requirements functions you would like added.

Facebook Integration

Reports can be posted to Facebook groups. You can then monitor discussion on those groups from within Smap. The comments / posts can be filtered by geographical location, time, who submitted the comment etc. A summary of discussions can be shown as a word cloud.

Security

Access to all data, with the exception of reports and media files requires a user id and password. Media files and attachments are secured using a random sequence of characters in their URL. Only port 443 needs to be open on the server all other ports should be blocked. Users are assigned roles that restrict the functions they can access. They are also assigned to projects which restrict the survey data they can view. All transmission of data from phones is encrypted.

Cost Effectiveness

The system has been shown in trials to be more cost effective than paper surveys. The picture shows one of these trials where data was collected concurrently on paper and on a phone. Start up is quick and easy particularly if a cloud server is used. The data collection process is flexible as results submitted by data collectors during training can be quickly analysed to identify misunderstanding and then the survey can be modified to be downloaded back onto the phones.

kobotoolbox API

Smap supports some of the functions in the Kobotoolbox API. Support for this API is being pregressively increased.