Building Block: Data collection
Maturity: BETA
Data collection logo.

Short Description: Supports data collection from humans, sensors and other systems through digital interfaces.

Full Description: Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring data, information or any variables of interest in a standardized and established manner that enables the collector to answer or test hypotheses as well as evaluate outcomes. Data collection can be machine-driven (automated or machine-level) or human-mediated. The data collection tools depend on the method of data collection and may vary widely from being a simple paper-based form to complex sensor-based systems.

Other Names: Survey software, Enumeration application, Data point application

Key Digital Functionalities:

  • Uses different data collection devices such as mobile phones, tablets and sensors functionalities
  • Requires identification and authentication to ensure that the system considers only data captured by authentic sources
  • Customizes data collection forms to enforce data quality, integrity and business Workflows
  • Collects multimedia content (eg video, audio and photos) and records geolocation coordinates
  • Uses a data collection form or interface that can include access to a camera or a sensor to capture ambient information
  • Sets data definitions and standards such as measurement system, format and nomenclature (eg population census, definition of income groups, standards related to type of housing, and terminology such as literate and semi-literate)
  • Provides data analytics tools to create statistics derived from collected data
  • Collects data offline and synchronizes data with a central data repository once connectivity is established
  • Provides safeguards against data loss
  • Provides access to data through APIs

Examples of use in different sectors:

  • Agriculture sector: 
    • Conduct farm surveys or agriculture census, collecting data via field sensors or remote sensing through satellite or drones
  • Education sector: 
    • Conduct whole school evaluation surveys by principals to ascertain school improvement needs
  • Health sector: 
    • Health census can use this in surveying demographic distribution of lifestyle habits, living conditions, disease incidence, mortality, morbidity, etc
    • Diagnostics and monitoring applications can use it to acquire health status and biomedical signals of patients
    • Real-time mapping of disease epidemics


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