Really glad to see this project getting some attention!
Widgets for notoriously error-prone data like location and date/time as well as replacing free text with dropdown options where possible made the difference for us.
ODK works really well for us, and the fantastic developer community has been greatly supportive addressing feature requests and bugs (quickest fix: Clint Tseng fixed an ODK Build bug reported mid-workshop within 2h). I'd like to see the industry heavyweights like ESRI being that responsive :-)
Cheers to the ODK community!
Obviously, data needs to be digitized at some point. In my experience, even though it's duplicate work, users would rather reenter the data when they get home, on a PC, with a keyboard and mouse. ODK does have some decent tools for that, but they're all based on a dead standard, XForms.
Two major perks to using the ODK type tools - many folk have smartphones with browsers on them, so running ODKCollect or especially Enketo is accessible, and the logged data gets pushed up to a server as soon as possible. The latter point was really useful for us - I spun up a quick app in Shiny (https://www.shinyapps.io/) which would give some plots based on the data collected so-far, and after the first day or two the survey administrators found a hiccup in how one of the enumerators was answering a question (they were incorrectly tagging the locations they were visiting, which would have caused havoc to relabel later!) I think that sold a lot of us on the value of these tools.
Totally agree about XForms. Shame it's not more widely used. I did get a lot of mileage out of using XLSForm (http://xlsform.org/) to write the survey first though.
If you have an idea on how we could make this foundational tech more visible to other devs, shoot me an message!
On the other hand, bring-you-own-device is a risky business move anyway because App Store rejection is a very real concern. It was a problem more than once for that project.
It's also run by great people.
Kobotoolbox provides a useful interface for previewing your data and building forms. Also an api for pulling collected data into other platforms
See this readme https://github.com/kobotoolbox/kobocat for reference