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Mobile Data Collection Applications



Many organizations have developed applications that work on top of the Open Data Kit platform, and these applications have made it easier for organizations to create surveys and collect data. In this section, we will cover how a number of these applications, including, CommCare, SurveyCTO and Kobo Toolbox vary and which would be the best decision for your organization.

XForm and XLSForm Standards

All of the applications use a common XForm standard, meaning that data sharing across systems and organizations can be unified. By using the XForm standard, groups are able to integrate their data across organizations with ease. Further, these applications also use the XLSForm standard, which is easier to author than raw XML. By using XLSforms, you can create your surveys in a spreadsheet such as Google Spreadsheets or Microsoft Excel and implement them with any of the platforms covered in this section.

Dimagi – CommCare

Dimagi is a private social enterprise that has a portfolio of products for humanitarian aid. Specifically, CommCare is the organization’s offline-enabled data collection and team management application. If your organization is looking to adopt a case management system to see change over time on certain individuals being surveyed, CommCare would be the best solution. You can find out more information about CommCare here:


SurveyCTO is a reliable, secure, and scalable mobile data collection platform for researchers and professionals working in offline settings. It includes a central repository for both blank and filled-in survey forms and a website to assist you in designing, testing, reviewing, and managing your surveys. It also provides a universal web interface for users filling out forms online, an Android app that data collectors use to fill out forms on their Android phones or tablets, and a built-in data monitoring and visualization tool that enables you to quickly review your data. You can find out more about SurveyCTO here: allows for you to author forms that capture GPS, error validation, logic, repeats, signatures, photos and much more. Then you can use your forms on smartphones and desktops — with or without a data connection. Data is automatically uploaded when a connection is detected or you can upload it to your computer. Form authoring is done using the popular XLSForm standard. You can find out more information about here:

Kobo Toolbox

KoBoToolbox is a suite of tools for field data collection for use in many different environments. The software is free and open source. Most users are people working in humanitarian crises, as well as aid professionals and researchers working in developing countries. You can find more information here:


Mobile Data Collection Applications Comparison Table

Kobo Toolbox
Lowest Cost

Pricing pages:




Kobo Toolbox

$250 per month for Standard Version with unlimited form creation and mobile support $198 per month for unlimited form creation and 5000 form submissions Free for 10 form creations per month and 500 submissions For researchers: Free for 10,000 submissions as well as 5GB file uploads per user per month.

For humanitarian orgs: unlimited submissions and uploads per month

Form Creation Form Builder Interface or upload XLSform Form Builder with XLSForm Interface Upload XLSForm KoboForm Interface with XLSForm format
Google Play Store Application for Offline Data Collection CommCare ODK v2 SurveyCTO ODK Collect Kobo Collect, however connecting to ODKCollect is more reliable
Mobile Optimized Offline Data Collection through the Browser Not Available Available Free using Enketo Free using Enketo
Integrated Offline Desktop Data Collection Premium using CloudCare Available Free using Enketo Free using Enketo
Form Library CommCare Exchange Application Library SurveyCTO Server pre-build surveys Form Gallery Uses a Question Library instead of a Form Library
Case Management with Two-Way Data Sync to mobile devices Available Available Not available Not available
Export Formats XLS, CSV ZIP CSV, Excel, Google Earth, Google Docs, XLS, ZIP, KML XLS, CSV, ZIP, KML, SAV ZIP, CSV ZIP, Google docs, XLS XLS, CSV, ZIP, KML, SAV ZIP
API Access Premium Premium No information Free
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