Tools for Gathering Data in the Field

What tools are available for researchers to gather data in the field?

There are a wide range of data collection tools available online and a number of options are listed below. Most of these options provide both free and paid subscription plans with varying levels of features. These tools are a great way to replace paper forms that allow you, or members of your team, to gather data in the field such as pictures, barcodes, signatures and more. Most of the applications listed below will allow for collection of data on a mobile device even whilst offline. 

When evaluating data collection tools, it is important to consider if there are any restrictions which prevent you from hosting data on external cloud-based services. If in doubt, please check with the Research Office (Ethics).

Open Source data collection tools

The following data collection tools are open source and are free for use.


You can easily create basic mobile forms customising questions and saving data on your own servers

          • Author surveys quickly and easily in Excel and have instant access on an Android device
          • Easily distribute your survey on an Android device or on the web. Data connection not needed
          • Visualize your data as it is collected, and gain understanding with powerful insights tools

Note: Please be aware that FormHub is still available for use but is no longer supported or maintained by the Sustainable Engineering Lab.

Go to Form Hub website

Popular data collection tools

The following popular data collection tools offer a range of free and paid subscription plans with varying levels of features.

Device Magic

Create and distribute mobile forms to teams and devices

          • Offline mobile forms
          • Android, Blackberry and iOS applications
          • Location based submission tagging

Go to Device Magic website


GoFormz gives you a complete mobile forms solution that lets you capture data electronically with mobile forms that look exactly like your current paper forms

          • Eliminate paper forms and capture data electronically with mobile forms that look exactly the way you want
          • Gain insights into your operations with easy-to-use reports
          • iOS and Android Applications

Go to GoFormz website


Design custom mobile forms in your web browser with a drag-and-drop form builder, and quickly deploy them out to field staff for fast mobile data collection

          • Build custom mobile forms in your browser with no coding knowledge required
          • Use Android or iOS mobile app to collect data, online or offline
          • Report on your collected data using powerful visualization, QA, and data management tools

Go to Fulcrum website


Smart forms have each section ready to fill out, including checklists and dropdowns. Deal only with relevant sections and let your mobile forms develop their own direction as the responses are provided

          • Manage your People and your Assets with a powerful, fully integrated cloud based scheduler
          • Full offline capability with all logic and rules maintained
          • iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Web and Desktop applications

Go to Formitize website


A complete “out-of-the-box” mobile data collection solution with the ability to build robust forms with included FormBuilder

          • Image, Audio and Signature capture functionality
          • Designed to handle massive data collection and scalable to handle thousands of concurrent users
          • iOS and Android applications available

Go to iFormBuilder website

Push Forms

Mobile Forms for iOS and Android Data Collection with no programmer required

          • Excel like editor enables easy creation of forms
          • Collected data can be transformed into common formats: PDF, JSON, XML, and Excel
          • Barcodes and Near Field Communication tag functionality in-built enabling physical world integration into your forms

Go to Push Forms website


Simplifies the creation and management of digital forms on a desktop environment

          • Distribute your forms among your colleagues and customers via e-mail, cloud storage, Social Media, or placing it on your website
          • Collects all responses into convenient spreadsheet with powerful filters to leave only fields that are important
          • Special screen for filling in and submitting Nexticy Forms within the application

Note: Please be aware that Nexticy does not have the capability to submit a form without a stable internet connection.

Go to Nexticy website

Advanced data collection tools

The following data collection tools offer a range of advanced features for large cohorts through paid subscription plans.


Magpi provides tools for mobile data, messaging, and visualization that let you gather information, manage teams, gain understanding and more

          • Magpi's data collection features and messaging application can be used in any language and with any alphabet
          • All user data records are stored securely and backed-up in multiple locations
          • Designed to be as easy as Gmail or Facebook to set up and video tutorials available on website

Go to Magpi website


Alternative to spreadsheets, legacy databases and complicated enterprise systems to track, manage and automate critical business processes or operational workflows

          • Notifications and Alerts trigger the next step in your workflow process to begin when one step or process is completed
          • Workflow engine automates tasks, work orders, alerts or steps through event or data-based triggers that you set or configure
          • Easily integrate workflows or processes into your existing systems using TrackVia’s built-in connector service or APIs

Go to TrackVia website