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What is mobile data collection?

Mobile, or digital, data collection is the process of collecting any kind of data point digitally, using mobile devices like phones and tablets or a computer. With SurveyCTO, you can even collect data digitally while offline, using our offline-capable SurveyCTO Collect app on both Android and iOS mobile devices.

What are the benefits over paper?

There are numerous benefits in shifting from paper to digital including cost savings, higher quality data, better security, and increased convenience and ease in the data collection process from survey form design to automatic integration of survey data into other tools and platforms. We have done a detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of each method of data collection – paper vs digital – in a blog post here.

Who is Dobility, Inc.?

Dobility, Inc., the company behind SurveyCTO, was founded by Dr. Christopher Robert, a technology veteran who took a decade off from technology to live in the developing world, get three degrees in public policy, and become a development economist. The SurveyCTO platform grew out of Chris’s experience 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. Leveraging skills honed as a technology entrepreneur earlier in his career, Dr. Robert quickly assembled a small team and developed the prototype for SurveyCTO. Dobility was born. You can learn more about our story, mission, and our team here.

What is SurveyCTO?

SurveyCTO is a mobile platform designed for rigorous research or M&E projects, and other data collection efforts, in field settings. SurveyCTO facilitates the collection of high quality, secure data – even in offline environments. To learn more about the SurveyCTO platform, check out our product page, learn how other organizations are using SurveyCTO, and sign up for a free trial to evaluate the platform yourself!

Who uses SurveyCTO and why?

Thousands of organizations in over 150 countries rely on SurveyCTO for high quality data they can trust. SurveyCTO is used by academic and research institutions around the globe that need high-quality, rigorously collected data, as well as international development organizations and impact evaluation teams that have complex survey instruments and complex workflows. See use cases on our blog or on our users page.

What are the system requirements for SurveyCTO?

The SurveyCTO server console, which is where you design your forms and manage your project, and SurveyCTO web forms will run in any modern web browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft EDGE. They may work on Internet Explorer (IE) but, as IE is no longer supported by Microsoft, we do not recommend you use IE.

The SurveyCTO Collect app, used for collecting data offline, is available as both an Android application and iOS application that will run on any device running those operating systems. For the Android app, the device must be running Android v4.4 or higher to run the latest version of SurveyCTO Collect. If you are using an older Android device, we currently offer legacy versions of the app that you can use with limited functionality. Please note that we do not officially support these legacy versions and that you are free to use them at your own risk. For the iOS app, the device must be running iOS 11.0 or higher. You can read this documentation topic that gives detailed guidance on procuring appropriate devices.

Does SurveyCTO work offline?

Yes! The SurveyCTO platform was designed specifically for collecting data digitally in offline settings. You can complete the entire lifecycle of your project fully offline – design forms, sync them to your mobile devices, collect actual submissions, sync the collected data off the devices onto a laptop where it is automatically aggregated, and export the data for analysis and learning, all offline. To learn more about how our offline features work, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial and test and evaluate the platform. Once you have signed up, you can read our detailed tutorials on how to design forms, sync forms (from a laptop to your devices) or data (from your devices to a laptop) offline, and collect data offline using our SurveyCTO Collect app, available on both Android and iOS devices.

What languages are supported?

Your actual survey forms and questions can be in any language, even languages that use non-Latin fonts and those that have scripts that are read from right to left. SurveyCTO also supports multi-lingual forms, so you can design your forms to allow your respondents and surveyors to switch between multiple languages.

The SurveyCTO Collect Android app interface – so the main screen and buttons surveyors would see before they opened the actual survey form – is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Bengali, Nepali, and Portuguese. If you want the actual Android app interface in additional languages, in certain cases, we can build a new version of the app with translations for the new language supported (whether we will be able to do this depends on our existing commitments and the popularity of the additional language among other users). If you would like to further discuss this option, please contact us at The SurveyCTO Collect iOS app interface is only available in English.

The SurveyCTO server console and documentation, as well as the web form interface (the buttons that are independent of your survey form, which can be in any language) are available in English only at the moment. However, since the documentation is publicly-available, you can translate it on your web browser.

Who can access my data?

SurveyCTO takes security of your data seriously; we’ve always designed the platform to go above-and-beyond in terms of security relative to other digital data collection tools. Hence we support “zero knowledge hosting”: SurveyCTO comes with an at-rest encryption feature that lets users encrypt their forms using a public/private key pair only they possess (so this key pair is kept by the user and not stored on our servers). When using this feature, only the user who possesses the private decryption key (and anyone they choose to share that key with) can view the collected data. Even we, as the providers and engineers behind SurveyCTO, cannot see that data.

So you, as the user, fully control who can access your data. Only the people who you assign data-access user permissions to can access your forms and data and, if you use the public/private key-pair encryption option, even amongst those only users who have the private key can decrypt your data.

To learn more about our encryption features, if you have a SurveyCTO trial account, you can read our encryption topic in our documentation.

Is SurveyCTO HIPAA compliant?

No. While our server infrastructure is incredibly secure and could meet the technical requirements of HIPAA compliance, being HIPAA compliant also requires that we sign a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) with any users who want a HIPAA-compliant SurveyCTO server. We are not signing BAAs at this time.

Is SurveyCTO General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant?

Yes! However, to ensure your specific SurveyCTO server is fully GDPR compliant we will need to sign a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) with you. If you wish to sign a DPA to make your server GDPR compliant, please contact us at and we will send you our standard DPA for signature.

Does SurveyCTO offer other services like custom branding, custom applications, as well as survey programming and testing?

We used to offer such services but no longer do so (except trainings; please read more on that in the question below). However, we’re happy to help connect you with consultants and vendors who focus on providing such services. If you would like us to connect you to someone who can provide such SurveyCTO services for you, contact us at to learn more.

Does SurveyCTO offer trainings in-person or via webinar?

Yes! We provide both in-person trainings and 2-hour live webinars for a fee and can tailor the content of the trainings to your organization and your staff’s existing knowledge and capacity. To learn more about our training, our fees for such trainings, and discuss other related details, please contact us at

What emails does Dobility send out?

Please see our response on our Email FAQs page.

How can I change my email subscription preferences?

Please see our response on our Email FAQs page.

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