You can download the full Magpi Quick Start Guide here. (En español)


Excerpt from the Quick Start guide:

How to be successful at mobile data collection

Magpi is a powerful and simple tool to help you easily and inexpensively collect data in the field – much more easily and inexpensively than ever before. Still, there are a number of important things to keep in mind when you are creating forms or collecting data in the field – and these will dramatically increase your chance of success:

  1. Test the form – never go to the field without extensively testing your form well in advance of your field activity
  2. Choose capable hardware and test it – never go to the field without testing your form on the same kind of device that will be used in the field, well in advance of your field activity. Longer forms require more memory, which usually means a more expensive phone, so do not plan to collect data with a 500 question survey on a $30 basic phone (or tablet). Devices with less than 2GB of RAM memory are more likely to have problems running Magpi, and more RAM may be needed for longer or more complex forms.
  3. System Configuration and RAM memory – Magpi requires a mobile device that is running a recent version of the operating system, with a minimum of 2GB of RAM memory.  WE DO NOT SUPPORT ANY DEVICES THAT DO NOT MEET THESE SPECIFICATIONS. As with any computer program, Magpi will run faster if the device running it has more RAM memory, and as with any computer system, longer and more complex forms will require more RAM memory. Android users must be running Android 4.4 (KitKat) or later.
  4. Allow adequate time to register all users – if you have many data collectors or other users to be registered, do not leave it until the last minute, just in case you have problems with connectivity. Register everyone at least several days in advance, and confirm that they are able to log into the system on the phone and, if needed, on the web.
  5. Allow adequate time to train your field team – our standard training protocol allows five full days for training, including practice data collection in the field followed by classroom review. Two hours of training is not adequate. Have your data collectors practice in the field, with the correct form, for at least several hours before the “real” data collection activity.
  6. Plan for connectivity problems – even if you are planning to upload data directly from the field, poor network connections may make this impossible. Make sure your field staff know what to do if they cannot upload data (for example, they can just plan to bring the phone to the office at the end of the activity). Make sure they understand that the data will be safely stored on the phone for as long as necessary.
  7. Don't share passwords – Like almost every computer system, Magpi is designed so that each user logs in with their own, unique userid and password.  Sharing userids/passwords can often lead to problems like deleted or changed forms – and no one knows who did it because everyone is using the same identification to log in.
  8. Tell us quickly about any problem – the sooner you contact our support team, the sooner they can help. The fastest way to get help is to email (not to email or call a friend at Magpi, or, or anyone else).

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