|Risk Assessment and Management Solutions for Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases|
Cell–phone based application for field capture of mosquito surveillance data
Mobile data capture is an emerging information technology with potential for incorporation into a data management system. It provides the opportunity, through mobile computers (laptops or netbooks), personal digital assistants (PDAs; also known as palmtop computers), remote sensors, or even cell phones, to move the stage of electronic data capture all the way down to the initial data capturing session in the field or laboratory. Mobile computing has been potentiated with the advent of faster, cheaper low-power processors and more robust wireless data tranmission technologies. The technical limitations of mobile devices are constantly changing and mobile internet access is now achieved in most large urban areas of the world, including those in developing countries.
The basic workflow for mobile data capture involves initial capture of data on the mobile electronic device followed by upload into a central data repository. Uploading data can be done by direct connection or by transmission of data over wireless networks (Wi–Fi or cell phone networks). In an ideal scenario, the data–capturing device also has capacity to act as a Global Positioning System receiver and thus generate data for the spatial location where data were entered.
We are engaged in a proof–of–concept project for mobile data capture, on cell phones, of surveillance data for immatures (larvae and pupae) of the dengue virus vector Aedes aegypti (for more detail: http://www.cs.colostate.edu/ddss/). The project is conducted in collaboration between Colorado State University, Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan, Mexico and Servicios de Salud de Yucatan, Mexico. Field testing is done in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
Our software to support cell phone-based capture of data relating to surveillance of container–inhabiting Aedes aegypti immatures has two major components:
The server side is developed in Visual Basic.Net (http://visualbasic.net/) and PostgreSQL (http://www.postgresql.org/). The client applications for the cell phone are developed for the Android operating system (http://www.android.com/). Android is royalty free and provides an open source development environment including a virtual machine, an Eclipse plug–in development tool, an emulator for testing the application before installing it on a phone, and tools for encrypting and publishing the application. All the client applications are being developed in Java (http://www.java.com/en/). These applications use a local database on the cell phone, which was developed with SQLite (http://sqlite.org/), the database system that Android supports.
The server side currently includes the following:
The console is used to enter and update personnel information (e.g., case workers, managers, or administrators), geographic information in terms of geo–entities (e.g., neighborhoods, blocks, and premises), and container types where mosquito immatures are found (e.g., buckets and tires). Task assignment involves defining the surveillance and control activities and their locations, selecting the personnel who will perform the tasks, and scheduling the tasks.
The cell phone-based application can connect to the main database server using three options:
Workflow for using the cell phone-based application
The client application on the cell phone implements the following:
The application only saves information entered by users who are authorized to work on a specific cell phone. The cell phone is authenticated using the phone IMEI number and the SIM card number, and the user is identified by username and password.
After a user provides his/her username, the application automatically loads the tasks assigned to that specific user and activates a dropdown list for tasks to be completed. The user then provides his/her password and chooses a task to work on. The application then provides a GUI for collection of relevant data. After the data collection form is completed, the user can either send the collected data directly to the main server or save the data locally in the cell phone database
Please follow this link to see a movie clip with
more detail about the application:
Funding for this project was provided by the National Institutes of Health (1R21AI080567–01A1).