Magpi has two ways to collect data using SMS/text messaging: structured (available to Pro and Enterprise users) and interactive ("iSMS", available to Pro and Enterprise users). To learn more about the general differences between them, click here. To learn how to design a form to be deployed by iSMS, click here. This article will explain how to deploy your iSMS form.


Once you've created your form for use with iSMS, you'll need to click on the Sharing tab.  Once you do, you will see three sub-tabs:


  • Mobile App or Website
  • Structured SMS
  • Interactive SMS

You'll want to select Interactive SMS, at which point your screen will look something like this (without the red circles):


If you already know the phone numbers for every respondent

  1. enter the mobile numbers in the box marked A
  2. click the button marked B
  3. all the mobile numbers will appear in the list marked C

After step 3, the first question from your form will be sent out to each respondent in list C and they can begin answering the questions.

Note: although iSMS is restricted to Pro and Enterprise users, any user can test with a single phone number, following the three steps above.

If you do not know the phone numbers for every respondent: allow join requests (crowdsourcing)


Sometimes you may want people to send data to you, but you don't know who they are yet.  You could have members of the public report when they see a crime, for example, or a pothole.  You could have visitors to a store (or clinic or ministry) provide feedback on their experience.  Collecting data from unknown respondents, as in these examples, is sometimes called "crowdsourcing".   In these situations, these respondents will need to be told how to send data into your system, and Magpi needs to be instructed to allow unknown phone numbers to initiate iSMS sessions.


    To accomplish this, in the example from our Introduction to SMS Data Collection article, a sign was placed in an office with information on how to initiate an iSMS session:



    To take this approach (Enterprise users only):


    1. On the sharing tab, check the box marked "Allow 'join form' registration requests (marked D)
    2. Optionally, you can enter a short form name for your form, one that may be easier to send by text (the box marked E).  For example, if your form name is called "feedbackrequestfromclinicvisitors12114" you could provide a short name such as "feedback12114" (as long as that was not yet taken by another Magpi user).
    3. Click Save Settings (marked F).

    Note: although iSMS is available for both Pro and Enterprise users, only Enterprise users can allow join requests (i.e. do crowdsourcing).