Author Archives: DataDyne

Introducing Magpi Plus

Introducing Magpi Plus: A Completely New Magpi We’re incredibly excited to announce a completely new, written-from-the-ground-up, version of our Magpi mobile app, called Magpi Plus (or Magpi+).  As we move forward Magpi Plus is going to be the center of Magpi’s app-based innovation (while we will continue to support the existing “Magpi” apps for Android and iOS). Right now Magpi+ is available as an Android beta release (please use for testing only) for anyone who is interested in helping us test prior to full release in December 2017.  We’ll release an iOS version shortly, too.

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SMS-based Ebola Community Surveillance in Sierra Leone

In July 2015, in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak, local and international Red Cross partners used Magpi to implement a “community event-based surveillance system (CEBS) using SMS”.  The community surveillance began in three districts of the country: Port Loko, Koinadugu and Bonthe. SLRCS volunteers, both community- based volunteers and volunteer supervisors were recruited from their communities and trained in the purpose of CEBS, signs and symptoms of the chosen events and diseases, how to report the cases by SMS to SLRCS headquarter, and trained in the stages of the surveillance from the detection of the cases to the reporting, the verification and the response. The volunteers were expected to be active in their community; inform the community about signs and symptoms and encourage the community members to report to the volunteer if they-or anyone they knew experienced any of these. The volunteers reported the suspected cases including which sign or symptom that was observed and which measures had been taken at community level, and supported the national health authorities in the response.

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NCA Invests in Magpi

As recently reported on their website, NCA (Norwegian Church Aid) has recently selected Magpi for their mobile data collection activities: NCA has invested in Magpi, a digital data collection tool with cloud-based mobile collection, communication, and data visualization tools to improve effectiveness in the way data is collected, managed and analysed. At a recent training in Zambia, participants from Norway, Zambia, Malawi and elsewhere learned about Magpi’s capabilities and use, “with a specific focus on key concepts in the survey design process, practical use, data protection and ethics”.  The hope is that Magpi can help save time and money, and improve data quality. Read the full post at NCA’s website.

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Barcodes, Signatures, Ranking and Fingerprints Coming Soon to Magpi!

Three New Question Types – with More to Come! We’re very pleased to announce that over the course of 2017 we’ll be adding a wide variety of useful new question types for use with the Magpi mobile data collection app, with three new question types coming in just about one month.  In this post we’ll discuss the new question types that will be released first with sketches (“mockups”) of the new features to give you an idea of what they’ll look like. Mockup of signature question Signature Questions (Pro and Enterprise users) Later this month we’ll be releasing signature questions, which allow you to sign your name on the screen of the mobile device with your finger, and save the signature as an image file.

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Using SMS for Conference Feedback

Magpi started as a mobile data collection system using mobile apps – and that part of Magpi is still going strong after 15 years.  More recently, though, we’ve been gratified to see many users utilizing Magpi to simplify another common activity: getting conference feedback.   Magpi’s iSMS data collection option makes it incredibly easy to let audience members, students, etc, let you know what they think about their class, the presentation, or what they want to have for lunch. How to create an SMS feedback system 1 – create a free Magpi account at 2 – log into Magpi and click New to create a new form 3 – add your questions to your new form 4 – deploy the form Deploying your SMS form In order to have people provide conference feedback by SMS, you’ll need to initiate SMS sessions with each one.

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Using Magpi for Global Health Research

Although Magpi is now used for many purposes in many sectors, it was born from a need to do global health research and evaluation in the field (did you know the original name of Magpi was “EpiSurveyor” = “epidemiological survey tool”).  So even today, one of the things that we’re most enthusiastic about is when we learn about practitioners and clinicians and researchers using Magpi mobile data collection to advance health science all around the world. Of course, Magpi’s model — allowing users to simply sign up for free at and start using the software, without any meetings or approval — means that in most cases we don’t know when someone is using the software.  But once in awhile Google helps us find great examples of Magpi use for health purposes, and below are four of our favorites: Assessment of Surgical Needs in Nepal Using Mobile Devices: Mobile Data Collection in a Developing Country Eugenia E.

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SMS Election Monitoring in Kenya

SMS Election Monitoring for a Peaceful Election in Kenya One week ago, on August 8, 2017, elections were held in the East African country of Kenya.  In the lead up to the vote, and in the immediate aftermath, there were grave concerns that election violence might stain the result – as it did in 2007 when post-election violence took the lives of around 1300 people, and caused untold economic damage to the country from reduced tourism. Simon Wanjiru ELOG PVT manager This year, as in 2007, the election result was disputed by the opposition, but unlike in that previous election, this year Kenya’s Elections Observations Group, (ELOG) consisting of civil society and faith-based organizations, is equipping about 1/3 of its 5700 observers with the ability to report election results by SMS. This SMS election monitoring approach, an example of “Parallel Vote Tabulation” (PVT) allows the calculation of an election result based on the sample selected.

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Guest Post: Honoring US Veterans by Rehabilitating Gravesites

Editor’s Note: we’re grateful to Aidan Scialfa and Boy Scout Troop 55 in New Orleans, Louisiana for this report on using Magpi to serve their community, and our veterans. Honoring US veterans Aiden Scialfa, a Boy Scout with Troop 55 in New Orleans, Louisiana, wanted his Eagle Scout project to be something special. He was determined to help in honoring US veterans by rehabilitating their headstones and graves. He visited his former NJROTC commander, Bruce Nolan at Brother Martin High School and asked if he could help arrange this.

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New Magpi-Dropbox Photo Integration

Dropbox Photo Integration Comes to Magpi We’re very happy to announce new Dropbox photo integration that will give our users much more complete and flexible control over their photos.  Dropbox is a product that everyone at Magpi uses every day, so we know from experience it’s a great solution – and free for basic use! Beginning July 28th, if you collect photo data with Magpi, your photos will be stored in your Dropbox account (but still also visible in Magpi). Leveraging the Best of the Internet Magpi was the first web-based data collection solution available for global health, and for nearly 15 years we’ve been working to integrate with the very best online tools available, including Google products, Zapier, OpenFn, Salesforce, and more.

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Guest Post: The Ups and Downs of Mobile Data Collection

Guest Post by Sairah Yusuf, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist, Generations For Peace Institute (GFP), Since May 2016, Generations For Peace (GFP) has used mobile-based data collection methods to survey close to 3500 people across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region – 1241 from 10 communities in Lebanon, 1274 across 24 school-based locales in Jordan, and 1073 across 3 governorates in Tunisia. For the organisation, this has been a massive expansion in terms of data collected via mobiles, and it has brought with it plenty of learning opportunities. Building on both our successes and our often-embarrassing hiccups, this blog post offers some practical tips for completing large-scale data collection using mobile phones. “For GFP, the key takeaway point is that using mobile data collection software like Magpi has allowed us to significantly scale up our ability to collect and analyse data in diverse contexts.” Mobile Data Collection: A Solution to (Almost) All Our Problems The advantages of mobile data collection have been well documented. Software providers like Magpi have published data collection guides that list out benefits in detail.

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Guest Post: Monitoring Humanitarian Activities in Syria

Guest Post by Agron Ferati, Executive Director of International Advisory, Products and Systems (i-APS), In its sixth year, the highly complex and intensive Syrian civil war has spread across the country. As the Syria humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate, the protracted and ongoing war has left more than 13.5 million Syrians in need of assistance.[1] Humanitarian access remains constrained by shifting frontlines, administrative and bureaucratic hurdles, violence along access routes, and safety and security concerns. In this context, the use of remote management and monitoring of activities through mobile data collection tools is essential to the successful delivery of aid programs. Using Magpi, International Advisory, Products and Systems (i-APS) provides third-party monitoring services to Global Communities for its Syrian Relief and Resiliency Program which will reach more than 125,000 beneficiaries to improve their living conditions through the provision of agricultural inputs, quality shelter solutions, and protection assistance.

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Magpi Reports Now “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG)

We recently added a significant enhancement to our Magpi Reports data visualization system: WYSIWYG editing (i.e. “what-you-see-is-what-you-get”).  WYSIWYG basically means that as you’re editing your report you can see exactly how the text will look.  From the Wikipedia definition: WYSIWYG (/ˈwɪziwɪɡ/ WIZ-ee-wig)[1] is an acronym for “what you see is what you get“. In computing, a WYSIWYG editor is a system in which content (text and graphics) can be edited in a form closely resembling its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product,[2] such as a printed document, web page, or slide presentation.

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Integrating Magpi and DHIS2 with OpenFn

Guest blog by: Taylor Downs, Founder of About two weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with the team at Magpi on some changes to their API that would allow them to connect Magpi with OpenFn—an enterprise-grade integration platform that’s been designed for the international development community. Joel and I thought this would be a great opportunity to discuss how Magpi can be used in conjunction with other technologies in the ICT4D space to create powerful, integrated systems that get data into the hands of those who need it, fast. I know that I don’t need to explain Magpi to this audience, but thinking of Magpi as part of a larger system that works for the entire organization may be new to some of you. Many organizations in the public health space are familiar with DHIS2. This is just one of many management information systems (like Salesforce, IBM Maximo, and many more) that help businesses, non-profits, and governments drive efficiency, measure and adjust effectiveness, and ultimately, better deliver their products and services.

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How Mobile AI Will Transform Global Health

The Invisible Revolution Continues In the last 15 years or so, the mobile phone has exploded across the developing world.  The benefit was initially just one of distance communication – telephony and SMS.  As handsets get cheaper and more capable, and network speed improves, however, it’s clear that these devices haven’t just “leapfrogged over landlines” – but laptops as well: the mobile phone revolution is clearly a mobile computing revolution in progress (a point we noted 9 years ago in a BBC article) – and mobile AI (artificial intelligence) will be the next stage in this revolution. Magpi on the Palm Pilot, 2007 The benefits of mobile phones to global health have already been enormous, starting with the incalculable value of easy and inexpensive access to communications.  Those who worked in the field prior to mobile phones can easily verify that every single field activity, every single management task, was more difficult when landline phones were the only game in town, and those were luxury items

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