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This week, we released the Akvo FLOW Dashboard 1.6.10 and FLOW app 1.13.0, which contain a number of bug fixes and two big enhancements.

First of all, we dealt with a big problem that we became aware of recently: that not all images were being transferred correctly from the device to the dashboard. The result of both a bug and environmental factors such as a weak 3G signal, this has led to significant numbers of images not making it to the server. To fix this, we now retry the transmission of images that have failed to transfer three times during each synchronisation — which means that whenever the app is opened and data is synched, images get another shot of taking the leap. In addition, on the server side we now check if images have arrived and, if not, we request the device to resend the images.

Together, these measures should ensure that images are transferred correctly from now on, and that any images that were not sent by previous FLOW app versions but are still present on devices in the field will be resent. This is really important, so a word of advice: please update the FLOW app to version 1.13.0. You can contact Akvo to get the latest version.

Because we know that getting the FLOW app to all the users in the field can be a hard task, we decided to take this opportunity — never waste a good opportunity — to make a second enhancement: the FLOW app can now update itself automatically whenever a new version is available. When the app is opened, it contacts the Dashboard for the latest news. If a new version is available, the user can download and install it immediately. We hope that will make the work of field managers a bit easier.

At the request of the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), we made one additional enhancement: double data entry. Some types of data, such as unique identifiers, social security numbers, and email addresses, are very important to get right, but easy to get wrong. The usual solution employed is to require the user to type the data twice, and only to proceed if the two fields are identical. You can now specify this as an option on free text questions when you define a survey. The device will show two input fields, and provide feedback on whether the answers provided are the same. WSP have tested this feature in Liberia, and it drastically brought down the error rate they were seeing on customer ID numbers they register as part of a survey.

As always, the release information for the Akvo FLOW Dashboard can be found here and the Akvo FLOW app releases can be found here.

Mark Tiele Westra is product manager for Akvo FLOW.