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Magpi (formerly EpiSurveyor)

Solution Type: Volunteer / Workforce management, Mobile Data, GPS enabled, Offline capabilities, Photo / Video capable, Monitoring & Evaluation, Collaboration & Communication, Email, Calendaring, Database management, analytics and visualization

Sectors: Agriculture, Education, Gender, Health, Peace Building, Poverty Reduction, Water & Sanitation

Platform: Android, iOS, J2ME, Web

Hardware: Basic phone, Feature phone, Smartphone, Tablet, PC (Laptop)

Pricing: Subscription, Freemium, Free Trial, Other

Magpi (formerly EpiSurveyor) is the longest-running and most widely used mobile data collection system in the international development sector, having been released initially in 2005, with more than 60,000 users in more than 170 countries worldwide (as of June 2016).  It includes components for mobile data collection using apps developed for iOS, Android, and Symbian -- as well as for data collection using SMS.  Magpi also incorporates broadcast messaging by SMS and voice.

Unlike other systems which require programmers or technical staff, Magpi is designed to allow anyone at all to create and deploy mobile data collection and messaging systems. Because specialized personnel are not required, Magpi is usually dramatically cheaper (even with a paid account) than systems that require specialized staff.

Magpi Mobile Data Collection

With Magpi, forms are designed using the web application ( and then data collection can occur by one of three methods:

  • using an app on a mobile device -- there are Magpi apps for Android phones/tablets, iPhones/iPads, and basic Symbian "feature" phones by Nokia.
  • using SMS from any mobile phone -- users with any phone at all can submit data to Magpi forms using plain SMS. SMS data collection requires a paid account.
  • via the Magpi web application at

Using the first two methods, data can be collected while there is no internet connection, and then uploaded later once a connection is available (that connection can be via cellular data, such as GPRS or 3G, or via wifi or cable).

Once data has been uploaded, it can be exported from Magpi to formats such as Excel (xlsx) or text (tab-delimited text file) or Microsoft access (mdb). Magpi Enterprise users can also use Magpi's integration with Zapier to automatically flow data to Salesforce, Google Sheets, or almost any other web product.

Magpi Messaging

Magpi incorporates a wide variety of messaging tools (in addition to Magpi's SMS data collection activities). Users can now create and send automated, scheduled messages to their contacts, using three methods:

  • SMS -- type a message and it goes out as a text message to a mobile phone.
  • text-to-speech -- type a message and it goes out as a phone call. When the recipient picks up, Magpi will read the message.
  • recorded audio -- record an audio message (in any language) and it goes out as a phone call. When the recipient picks up, Magpi will play the message.

Magpi messaging is used for everything from informing pregnant women at each stage of pregnancy, to providing emergency alerts, to performing disease surveillance.

Case Studies

A list of Magpi case studies may be found here:

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NetHope Solutions Center: Our Mission

NetHope’s mission is to act as a catalyst for collaboration, bringing together the knowledge and power of the leading international humanitarian organizations so that the best information communication technology and practices can be used to serve people in the developing world.

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