System Overview

Water monitoring with a smartphone.


MobileTracker leverages an innovative and open source mobile data collection platform called Open Data Kit (ODK).  In many developing countries, mobile technology has developed at an accelerated rate in comparison to other infrastructure.  For example, it is not uncommon to see farmers manually plowing fields with oxen while talking on a cellular phone – the old world meets the new.

ODK is an open source platform for creating customizable data collection forms for Android devices.  ODK Collect works offline, and can collect things like GPS coordinates, photographs, videos, GPS tracks (for land use delineations), numeric/text inputs, audio files, etc.  With ODK, field workers, young researchers, or citizen scientists can be unleashed to collected critical water data with little more than simply taking a picture; the rest is done automatically. Gone are the days of writing information on a worksheet, only to be later entered into a spreadsheet once the hard copy makes it to the office.  A photographic record of observations is the most transparent and defensible data record available.

How does it work?

  1. Open ODK on an Android smartphone with working camera and GPS (click here to get more information about how to install and configure ODK)
  2. Record GPS coordinates
  3. Select parameter to be measured (e.g. precipitation, water level, water flow, groundwater level, etc.)
  4. Perform measurements
  5. Enter data and take photographs of measurements
  6. Save and exit form