NEWS16 October 2009

App promises to turn iPhone into ethnographic toolkit

Europe Technology

BELGIUM— Ethnographic research specialist EverdayLives is weeks away from launching an application that turns an iPhone into a data collection tool for in-field researchers.

The app, currently in beta testing, allows users to record audio and video clips, take photos and make notes while observing subjects.

Collected material can be categorised by project themes and each item is geo-tagged to store the location in which it was recorded before being sent to the researcher’s email account to be reviewed later.

Alternatively, material can be emailed to other people categorised as ‘followers’ of the research, whether that be the commissioning client or project manager, who can alert the researcher to interesting behaviours or events that might warrant further exploration or follow-up questions.

Siamack Salari, a partner at EverydayLives, said the app would be working its way through Apple’s approval process for the next few weeks. He said it is likely to be a paid-for app. Although the price is yet to be decided, it is not expected to be more than £5.

Versions of the app for Google Android and BlackBerries will also be produced, Salari said. After that, he said, the next step is to develop “a server-based service” that would allow users to upload captured materials to a “specially created interface” for review and analysis.

A video of the app in action can be found at Salari’s blog, Ethnosnacker. Thanks to our blogger Tom Ewing for bringing this story to our attention. Check out his thoughts on the app here.