I found out last week (thank you Aid Worker Daily and Ben Truscello) that Nokia is developing open source survey creation software that will allow users to generate tailored questionnaires that are accessible with mobile devices on a normal mobile telecommunications network.
Questionnaires are created on a PC using the system’s Survey Creator module. These questionnaires are then distributed to the mobile phones of the field personnel. When the field workers finish their surveys, they send the data back to the server, from which it can be integrated to the organization’s existing systems for immediate analysis. It is very flexible and easy to use. It also provides GPS location information for each record, which would otherwise require dedicated instruments.
As for the open source side of the software, not many details are available on the site. The website says this tool is created with open-source technologies, which could obviously mean that the software itself is not open source. We’ll have to see about that. What they have said is
Nokia’s aim is to make the software widely available on a royalty-free basis and help to lower the total cost of the infrastructure investment. Further, we hope to provide training in due course for select organizations to help them either manage their own data collection or provide this service to others on an ongoing basis. Since alternative data collection solutions tend to involve outsourced (proprietary) data management, Nokia Data Gathering will provide a practical alternative for organizations wishing to retain control of this process. However, Nokia Data Gathering is also suitable for organizations that see outsourcing as a more attractive option.
This is a good sign. If they use standards, I’m sure we’ll be able to nicely integrate the data into Drupal.
If anyone has more information on the software being used, especially the extent to which the software is open source and the data syndication formation, I would love to read about it.