GEO COLLECTOR BOT: A TELEGRAM-BASED OPEN TOOLKIT TO SUPPORT FIELD DATA COLLECTION
Keywords: Field Data Collection, Survey, Telegram Bot, FOSS4G, Volunteered Geographic Information
Abstract. Georeferenced field data collection has become a popular practice allowing everyone to contribute to mapping objects or reporting events. The spread of mobile devices - capable of recording and sharing location coordinates, media and features while on the go - is primarily accountable for such diffusion. Accordingly, a number of mobile apps and software frameworks have been developed and released to perform field data collection. These frameworks allow to customize and dispatch collection forms as well as to manage contributors and records through web interfaces or database management systems. From the contributors’ perspective, specific mobile client apps need to be installed to access selectively the collection forms and contribute to the data collection on the field using their mobile devices. This operation might inhibit the sporadic contribution of occasional users who may not be willing to install additional software. To overcome this limitation, this work presents the Geo Collector Bot, an alternative software toolkit to empower field data collection projects avoiding the development and/or the installation of a specific mobile app on contributors’ devices. The Geo Collector Bot is a configurable Telegram-based chatbot enabling to dispatch of data collection forms that can be activated and filled in through Telegram chats. The ultimate goal of the presented work is to provide an alternative free and open-source software framework suitable for general-purpose field data collection applications. Development patterns and system architecture are described in detail alongside future improvements and outlooks for the Geo Collector Bot project.