Develop a tool (mobile and web-based) for mobile data collection via cellular phones that is easy to use, deploy and customize data collection requirements. The tool would serve to allow for both improved efficiency in centrally-coordinated data collection as well as crowd-based collection efforts. It would serve to help improve disaster risk reduction activities and other humanitarian activities. Flexibility and ease of use is the most crucial aspect of this application, as it must be usable by groups with minimal technical capacity and infrastructure.
With the massive growth in mobile devices the potential to collect information from local areas has exploded. Allowing for simple access to these capabilities would have wide-reaching positive impacts. In the area of disaster risks information needs to be collected from the field in wide-reaching areas and often in short periods of time. This can include post-disaster data collection from the field, as well as long-term collection of information in order to plan for disaster mitigation. A primary collection item is information on statuses of buildings and other infrastructure.
After the January 12 Earthquake in Haiti there was/and is significant need for rapid and comprehensive structural assessments of all buildings in order to determine which buildings are safe for to inhabit so that people can be placed back in housing. This is a crucial action in order to get individuals and families out of displaced persons camps and into safe housing for the rainy/hurricane season. There was no ideal tool for this coordinated collection of information at the time and a somewhat improvised solution was required. The development of a flexible and comprehensive tool for mobile data collection is crucial to avoid this situation in future disasters.
The mobile data collection device with be build around the following features. The tool will allow for a group or organization to define collection requirements through a centralized system that then allows for dispersed collection of the required information via mobile devices. The system is easy to deploy without significant needs to institutional technical investment or customization.