Smartphone-based field surveys
Organisations use Akvo FLOW to monitor and evaluate improvements to infrastructure and services, and make informed investment decisions based on accurate, current data.
What is Akvo FLOW?
A multi-language tool for collecting, evaluating and displaying any quantity of geographically referenced data - using Android smartphones and an online dashboard. It lets you map situations on the ground and monitor changes over time.
Akvo FLOW is specially designed to work in diverse locations that are often remote or lacking reliable basic infrastructure. Since the first version was introduced in 2010 by US NGO Water For People, it has been proven in use around the world by teams tasked with ensuring development activity, infrastructure and services are working.
Why use Akvo FLOW?
Manual data collection is cumbersome. Staff have to carry GPS, cameras and papers into the field. Compilation involves paper forms which are re-entered into computers leading to a high margin of error. Data remains locked away in spreadsheets. Real results are not measurable, visible or accessible.
Akvo FLOW is an affordable, reliable and highly scalable service that changes how initiatives and interventions are made. It dramatically improves the accuracy of data and makes it easier to gather and share by using the best available tool for this purpose – the smartphone.
Smartphones. Dashboards. Online maps.
Akvo FLOW offers fast data collection, survey flexibility and analytical tools, so decisions can be made based on good data and visual evidence.
Well-designed, multi-lingual dashboard: design and publish surveys and manage how they're distributed to smartphone users; generate and publish reports and data visualisations.
FLOW field survey app: conduct field surveys in any local language using Android smartphones even when you're out of signal range; the data uploads automatically to databases hosted in the cloud whenever network coverage resumes.
Online maps: design and generate automatically updated, interactive maps to view, explore and share survey data.
As data is gathered and surveys are submitted via the FLOW app, the information becomes instantly visible on the FLOW dashboard and survey maps.
Link teams together
Akvo FLOW is designed to fit the different roles common in large-scale data collection situations, including survey enumerators, field managers and project managers. Teams of remote field workers can more easily stay in touch with progamme managers and experts who may not be based nearby the project. As data is collected, it can be made available and analysed in real time by many team members in large numbers of locations.
The FLOW dashboard is a place where lots of things happen: surveys get created, edited and distributed; incoming data is edited, cleaned and exported; and users are added or deleted. Programme co-ordinators can easily manage who can do what by defining user roles and permissions on the dashboard.
Maximum survey flexibility
Using the FLOW dashboard, teams can create simple or complex questionnaires on any topic. Survey fields can prompt enumerators to gather different types of data including photos, videos, barcodes or audio clips. Cascading questions allow the answer to one question to determine what options are offered in the next. Users have total flexibility to design surveys that collect the information which will have the most impact for their project.
Phones can store hundreds of surveys and data can be collected in areas where there is no mobile connection – Akvo FLOW automatically transmits the data once a connection is detected, so the system can be used anywhere in the world, even in areas where infrastructure is lacking or under-developed.
Once data appears on the dashboard, teams can produce reports in a number of formats ranging from Excel spreadsheets to maps, histograms and pie charts and use them for rapid analysis. This helps programme teams understand whether a project is working and monitor progress over time. It can also be used by funders – governments, private companies, aid organisations and financiers – to make results-based investments.
Track data points over time
Akvo FLOW lets you add new or updated information to each data point. So an asset can be tracked, new surveys added, and more.
Learn more here about how Akvo FLOW's continuous monitoring feature works.
Who is using Akvo FLOW?
More than 200 organisations, including national governments, multi-lateral aid agencies and small and large NGOs, and are using FLOW to monitor water and sanitation points, health and education services, agricultural practices, food security, wildlife populations and more. For an overview of the programmes using Akvo FLOW around the world, click here.
Akvo FLOW requires: a computer; a modern web browser; an internet connection; and an Android smartphone running Android OS 2.2+ with integrated GPS and camera, and a wireless and/or mobile data connection. It also requires a spreadsheet application that supports .xls and .txt, such as Microsoft Excel 2007 or LibreOffice 4.0+.
For downloadable Akvo FLOW 2-page flyers in English, French and Spanish, click here.
Akvo FLOW is open-source. Read more about what's coming in future releases on our product roadmap for developers page.
Akvo is geared to support partners through the implementation of FLOW. To access our help and support resources, please visit: Akvo FLOW support