We spent an inspiring few days last week in Holland with Dru Borden and Chris Fagiani, the software development duo behind one of the hottest mobile reporting tools any of us have seen to date.

Photo (left to right): Luuk Diphoorn, Thomas Bjelkeman, Dru Borden, Chris Fagiani, Peter van der Linde. Amsterdam, Netherlands. 12 April 2011.

With the backing of Water for People, a US non-profit, Dru and Chris have developed FLOW. It stands for Field Level Operations Watch and makes it easy to run on-the-ground surveys with Android-based mobile phones. The system has been deployed first to monitor water points – something that is central to the work of most of Akvo’s partners. We were all impressed by the way they’ve thought through the whole problem of how to make this work in real-life. Surveys are deployed remotely to phones, they can be designed very easily online with nice guidance along the way, the system emphasises accurate geolocation and encourages the sharing of photos, and results can be mapped in really interesting ways on the web. The tool isn’t available as open source right now, but they want it to be, and that’s something we could help make a reality.

There are so many reasons for Akvo and FLOW to work together that it would be almost criminal for us not to. Right now we’re talking with Dru, Chris and Water for People founder Ned Breslin to work out what we’ll do first.

See more on Akvo.tv: Mark talks with Dru Borden and Chris Fagiani, as they sit down with Akvo’s Thomas Bjelkeman at the beginning of several days of face-to-face discussions between our organisations: