June 4, 2020

Introducing SurveyStack, the new Data Collection Platform from the Our-Sci Team

When we first started Our Sci 3 years ago, we built our platform (Our Sci App v.1) around connecting hand-held instruments to mobile data collection apps. For the past few years, we have worked with numerous project partners, some who required integration with hand-held and other hardware tools and some that lean heavily on distributed data collection from large groups of volunteers and citizen scientists.

While working on these projects we have learned a lot of lessons. One of the biggest lessons was how much using only android mobile apps was limiting our projects, partners, and applications. So, 6 months ago we decided to develop a Progressive Web App that would be platform agnostic.

After many months of dedicated development, and applying all of the lessons learned in the past 3 years, we are happy to announce the release of SurveyStack, our new Data Collection Platform!!!

Features of the SurveyStack platform

How SurveyStack compares to Our-Sci’s 1st platform, ODK and Google Forms.

How you could use SurveyStack?

I’m a farm and want to run a small experiment with different planting methods across 20 varieties. I want to collect observational data (flowering, greenness, etc.) and track what I did through the season.  I can use SurveyStack to create a survey, collect observations, and quickly and easily compare results in real-time and at the end of the season.

I’m a large research project and need to onboard 100 farms. I can use SurveyStack to create a survey, onboard farms with both private (emails) and public (farm practice) information, simultaneously collect metadata from other services (soil information, historical weather data), and use a dashboard to track which types of farms I’m onboarding in real time.  Finally, I can directly save my results both to SurveyStack and to individual FarmOS instances for privacy-minded, long term storage.

I’m a lab and need to track samples from farm to lab and deliver results back. I can use SurveyStack to create sample intake surveys and lab surveys, using tools like QR codes for sample tracking. I can create a dashboard to track my samples in real-time from collector -> lab -> finished results, identify + solve problems in-season, and quickly merge and generate final datasets at the end of the season.  I can even deliver results back to users via a private email link with comparisons to their peers (percentiles), graphs, and charts.

Next Steps

We are happy to have the SurveyStack up and running, but its not complete yet! Currently, we cannot connect hardware tools to SurveyStack, something we plan to remedy in the next year. Beyond that, will continue to identify features that will meet our partners data collection needs.

Special Thanks to the Real Food Campaign, the Bionutrient Food Association) and OpenTEAM for their support in building SurveyStack.