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Leading field survey platform launches first in-browser visualization tool for encrypted data

Dobility expands upon its tools for data security and quality with the SurveyCTO “Data Explorer”

CAMBRIDGE, MA – December 12, 2016 – Dobility today announced the launch of the SurveyCTO “Data Explorer,” a first-of-its-kind tool for visualizing encrypted data from the convenience of a web browser. Available exclusively to SurveyCTO users, the Data Explorer reaffirms Dobility’s commitment to translating research best practices into easy-to-use features.

Thousands of users in more than 50 countries use SurveyCTO to collect data with mobile phones, tablets, and computers for impact evaluations, monitoring and evaluation, mHealth, academic research, household surveys, exit polling, facility inspections, citizen science, adaptive testing, online surveys, job applications, and other types of data collection. Conducting surveys using mobile devices and tablets (rather than paper and pencil) has been shown to improve the accuracy of research data, and is typically more cost-effective as well.

SurveyCTO users often work with vulnerable populations and collect high-risk confidential information. The Data Explorer builds on SurveyCTO’s industry-leading encryption and enables SurveyCTO users to keep their subjects protected while benefiting from real-time data visualization and monitoring.

“Absolutely nobody outside the research or M&E team should be able to read collected data,” said Dobility founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Robert. “Not hackers on the internet, not Google, and not even our own highly-trusted server administrators. For the sake of convenience, many well-meaning users have allowed their data to be readable in the cloud – but they no longer need to make that trade-off, sacrificing data security for the convenience of data visibility.”

SurveyCTO’s Data Explorer enables users to view encrypted data in the browser with the user’s own 2048-bit encryption keys, visualize data in an integrated system that detects the data types of their fields and how they should be labeled, and catch data-quality issues from the first day of data-collection, among many other features. SurveyCTO’s standard security features include built-in encryption at the point of collection with the user’s own 2048-bit encryption keys, encrypted internet communication with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, data storage on the device’s removable memory card and internal memory, and 24×7 mirroring of server databases across multiple Amazon data facilities.

Building on a popular open-source platform, Open Data Kit (ODK), Dr. Robert first developed the prototype for SurveyCTO as a researcher on several Harvard-based development economics projects in Tamil Nadu, South India. The same technical challenges seemed to plague every project, and it became apparent that better technology could simplify the lives of research team members, reduce project costs, and improve data quality and security.

Since then, Dobility’s SurveyCTO platform has expanded significantly. Features introduced in 2016 include the Data Explorer, a drag-and-drop Form Designer, and a free “Community” edition for small-scale researchers, students, and NGOs.


About Dobility
Dobility, Inc. is committed to promoting the effective use of data worldwide. Funded by – and accountable to – its users, Dobility offers affordable, reliable, and professionally-supported technology that anyone can use. SurveyCTO, Dobility’s flagship software, is built atop the open-source platform Open Data Kit (ODK) and has been used in over 50 countries for impact evaluations, monitoring and evaluation, mHealth, academic research, household surveys, exit polling, web surveys, and other types of data collection. Founded in 2013, Dobility is led by Dr. Christopher Robert, a technology veteran and development economist with Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Learn more at

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For press information, contact Alexis Ditkowsky at +1.617.286.2669 x703 or