Mobile technology – mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets – have not only changed the way people communicate and share information, but also how data is collected and disseminated. Development professionals now use mobile technology to conduct surveys, share information to program participants, collect beneficiary feedback, and many other activities. With cellular networks and internet connectivity increasing dramatically in developing countries, we can expect that mobile technology will continue to supplement traditional ways of doing development research as well as open up exciting new opportunities for engaging with participants and stakeholders.
PACT has published an introduction to this evolving landscape. Pact’s Mobile Technology Handbook provides a comprehensive resource for getting started with mobile data collection.
The book (51 pages) focuses on how mobile technology can improve data collection for development programming, M&E, and other applications. Well-known platforms such as Magpi, Mobenzi, Ushahidi/CrowdMap, and FrontlineSMS are compared to give a sense of what capabilities exist and what resources are necessary to start collecting data with mobile devices. Finally, the booklet outlines a process for creating an organizational strategy around mobile technology.
Except for the fact that the title suggest more width and depth than what the book is actually delivers, it can serve as a valuable introduction to this emerging field.
The book can be downloaded here.