SurveyCTO vs. Others

Proprietary vs. non-proprietary. Custom vs. open source. Paid vs. free. Consulting vs. Software as a Service (SaaS). Grant-funded vs. user-funded. Non-profit vs. for-impact.

Comparing mobile data collection platforms sometimes feels like comparing apples to oranges. What are the benefits and limitations of each platform? How do you even begin to evaluate them?

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when evaluating SurveyCTO and other mobile data collection platforms:

How is data security assured?

SurveyCTO security features include transport encryption, device-side data redundancy, server-side data redundancy, support for easy survey data encryption with your own public/private key pair, and the option for unencrypted data to be restricted to cold room computers (computers totally disconnected from the Internet and all other networks).

We encourage you to ask yourself: who can read my most sensitive data? Even when you host your servers with SurveyCTO, you can encrypt your data so that not even SurveyCTO engineers can ever read it. After all, shouldn't your team be the only ones who can read your data?

We also make it easy to more readily expose safe subsets of your data for visualization, monitoring, or sharing with others, keeping your most sensitive data safely encrypted.

How are users supported?

SurveyCTO employs a full-time development and support team. Support team members have years of experience conducting research in the field and are quick to respond to all support requests. SurveyCTO subscribers have access to extensive documentation in their server console and to articles and peer support in the SurveyCTO Support Center.

What is the funding model?

SurveyCTO utilizes a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. We provide a high-quality, stable, and supported service; users subscribe to SurveyCTO for the duration of their project at either our free "Community" level or a paid "Professional" tier. We believe this model enables us to be fully accountable to our users since our success as a platform is directly tied to their success. In contrast, some platforms are dependent on grants, a model that often leads to gaps in development and support if there are interruptions in funding. Grant funding can also distort priorities when the needs of users and funders diverge.

How easy is it to use?

SurveyCTO is designed with all of its users in mind – from the team designing the forms to the enumerators collecting data in the field. When you subscribe to SurveyCTO, there are no hidden costs or consulting fees. Contrast this to some platforms that are nominally "free" but require thousands of dollars in consulting fees to use successfully.

How is it built?

SurveyCTO is built atop Open Data Kit (ODK), the most powerful and widely-used open source platform for data collection. We took ODK as our foundation and then added hundreds of improvements, hosting, documentation, and support, in order to increase its reach, usability, and power.

What are the three features you absolutely need for your project?

Only you can answer that question!

We think SurveyCTO strikes the right balance between power and usability. Learn more about how SurveyCTO works, our features, our integrations, or our users. Or better yet, just try SurveyCTO for yourself!