Open Data Kit for data driven marine management in Fiji

Published: 02 February 2017
Last edited: 08 August 2017

The MACBIO project assists its partners in developing effective approaches to marine management. In 2015 the project was requested to support the design and development of open-source mobile solutions for data collection in locally managed marine areas in Fiji, among others. Thorough research and testing of existing platforms and proven examples identified Open Data Kit (ODK), as a suitable open source solution, especially in combination with KoBoToolkit.


Education, training and other capacity development activities
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

In general, app development was carried out in an iterative, responsive way. This approach proved to be very efficient and effective, and led to an increasingly improved app. It is important to note that training, tests and iterative improvement with all relevant stakeholders should not be underestimated, before successfully using an app in the field. Keeping the approach in house had clear advantages for responsiveness.

Lessons learned

Strategic approach: Objective and the added value of an app

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel: Initial market research, discussions with stakeholders and the study of lessons learned
  • Proof of concept phase is important: Low cost building block systems
  • Devil is in the detail: User contexts, internet and electricity availability , costs and modalities of data plans etc
  • In house, iterative approach with quick feedback loops
  • Development step by step with users
  • Open source, compatible and scalable approaches, to avoid duplication of development effort, dependencies & lock in effects
  • Data sensitivity issues are important, also for building trust