New to the field, please answer some basic questions

Hi guys,

I’m new to the field, and after a few days reviewing what’s out there, I’m confused about what tool/platform should I start learning. I recently joined a statistical services consultancy firm. They have participated in several projects involving surveys in African countries and for different organizations/programs (WHO, UNICEF, GAIN). They’ve used CSPro and ODK in the past, but nobody could explain the selection criteria (some employee turnover in the last few years).

I’m mostly interested in using an Free/Open Source solution. So long I’ve narrowed it down to CSPro (free but not Open Source), Open Data Kit and Kobo Toolbox.

I searched the forum and only could find a couple of (semi) related questions, one of which is probably dated by now (2011)

So basically my question is:

Do these tools overlap in functionality? I guess the answer is (partially?) yes, but I’d like to understand what are the similarities and what are the differences. One thing that really boggles me is that if you google ODK vs CSPro you won’t find much, which makes me wonder if these are actually competing offerings.

Just as some added background, I’m a software engineer, and I joined the firm to bring a robust IT solution for data collection.

Check this out. Relationship between Kobo and ODK

I am sure others will answer more definitively, but I think of KoBoToolbox as a more stable version of ODK with a very nice form builder interface. You can use forms created in the toolbox with either KoBoCollect (an android app) or Enketo/Web Forms which uses a browser, preferably Chrome. Apparently Firefox and others can be used.

With both KoBoCollect and Enketo, you need to be connected to the internet to be able to download new or updated forms. Then you can go offline to collect data and upload it when you are re-connected.

You can access your data by downloading an Excel file, but most larger organization will connect to the UN servers using APIs. However, this is not my area of expertise.

I have no knowledge of CSPro, so can’t help you there. However, KoBoToolbox is a real joy to work with, it appears very solid, and the support on this forum is amazing.

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In addition to what has been mentioned by @jblackman I would like to focus my answer on the last part of your query.

Unfortunately we do not provide comparisons between ODK based systems and CSPro. We advice that users assess their needs and match them to the capabilities of the different systems. This decision will be based on your familiarity with the systems which you can learn on our support pages. Normally when one has specific queries about specific components, the community is always open to responding to such queries.