FIELD UPDATE: How Mobile Devices Provide Real-Time Data for the Egyptian Referendum

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For the first time, an international observation mission will utilize mobile devices and formhub for collecting real-time data from its observers.

I’m here in Egypt as part of the election observation mission with Democracy International, where 80 international observers are being sent to 23 governorates to witness the conduct of voting for the constitutional referendum. Each team was issued with two  mobile devices: A Nokia 105 cell phone and a Nexus 7 Tablet. While mobile phones have long been a staple of campaigns and observer missions, the mobile app is still fairly new — and not without skepticism. The Romney 2012 campaign in the US bragged about using tablets and Orca for mobile coordination, only to experience a complete meltdown on election day.

Screenshot from Formhug

Screenshot from formhub.org.

The tech is neat, but we’ll also have the hard-copy forms to report our findings in the event of interruptions or hardware failure. While formhub may be faster, more accurate, more informative, and lower risk than paper, when it comes to highly reliable and resilient methods for data collection, it’s still tough to beat paper.

For now, anyway.

 

There’s more to formhub than Egypt and elections! Below is a neat visualization of 1 million formhub submissions from around the world. Want to learn more? Check out our upcoming course on Mobiles for International Development.

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