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I need to be able to develop a custom form so I can have workers go door to door and collect survey information. Think census workers, but geared towards the upcoming election.

While I could develop a custom app, I expect to have to customize it heavily for each area, and make changes to the forms throughout the process.

In order to control costs we're not going with 3G service, so all the form data has to be collected on the device and saved until it's uploaded via wifi network (or any other method) later.

  • Are there any apps that let me design my own custom fields for form entry, and save the data on the device?
  • Simple database apps with custom forms or similar?

If I had my wishlist, it would also:

  • Automatically download the latest collected data when in range of a network.
  • Update a standard database server directly (MS SQL, Oracle, MySQL, other?).
  • Track the location the info was collected (difficult and imprecise, probably, since it's a wifi tablet only)
  • Allow hundreds of tablets to check in and upload to the central server at any time, including simultaneously
  • Prompts the survey recorder with a script - not just a form, but gives them what to say, what to ask, and leads them through a configurable tree of questions, some of which depend on previous questions answered. For instance once they indicate their political affiliation, it might skip questions not appropriate to save time.
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There are about ten apps that fit the bill - how do you need the data and will you ever need to have more than one device writing to the database store. Once you have narrowed down whether you can have the data live only on the device or where the data needs to go (and how often) - your recommendations will become much better targeted for the need. –  bmike Mar 23 '12 at 19:45
    
@bmike Interesting! I thought I'd have difficulty finding even one app, but I'll gladly list more desired features if that'll help narrow it down! –  Adam Davis Mar 23 '12 at 19:48
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The apps from FileMaker sound like they would be good candidates:

Bento (iPad & iPhone)

Use standalone or synchronize with Bento for Mac. Create and edit custom databases directly on iPhone or iPad or choose from 25 pre-designed templates.

and

FileMaker Go (iPad & iPhone, with FileMaker for Mac)

Create solutions using FileMaker Pro and access them on the iPhone and iPad using FileMaker Go.

Trivia: FileMaker is actually a subsidiary of Apple; they used to be Claris.

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You could use Bento for iPad. It allows you to create custom databases with great looking entry screens. It will also store information on the device until you sync it again.

enter image description here

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You can build an Editable PDF using Acrobat Pro and then use PDF Expert to fill in the forms, each user could then email them to a central email box for data collection.

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now this question has been edited my answer isn't really correct, unless you can export data from multiple PDF forms, which I know you can if you made the original PDF, but not if you didn't –  Graeme Hutchison Mar 23 '12 at 20:04
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From what you are asking you may want to try the iPad Survey App from Caretotell.

It will do this: - Automatically download the latest collected data when in range of a network. - Track the location the info was collected (difficult and imprecise, probably, since it's a wifi tablet only) - Allow hundreds of tablets to check in and upload to the central server at any time, including simultaneously - Prompts the survey recorder with a script - not just a form, but gives them what to say, what to ask, and leads them through a configurable tree of questions, some of which depend on previous questions answered. For instance once they indicate their political affiliation, it might skip questions not appropriate to save time.

But it will not automatically update directly to SQL server. You will have to manually export the CSV file from the web management interface and import it yourself (using phpmyadmin or similar). http://www.caretotell.com

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