discussion / Software and Mobile Apps  / 14 January 2023

Phone / tablet for behavioural observations

Hi all. I'm looking for a suitable model of tablet or mobile phone for entering live observational data in the field. It needs to be rugged and have a decent battery. The screen should preferably be less than 8 inches and have a good brightness (for observations in the sun). Observations are generally done in Excel, but this could perhaps be changed if it doesn't work out anymore. Suggestions and advice are very welcome :) 



If Cybertracker is not suitable, try Claris Filemaker 

Not for free ( but your university may have a license already ), but allows you to design your own apps on phones ( iOS only ) and desktop. You'll get a low-code relational database software. Very easy to get started and there is a very active support community for all your questions. FileMaker Go ( for free ), the software to install on the phone, has easy access to GPS, compass and other phone sensors.

For the phone-part you'll be limited to iOS, but I find them good. Just now, I tried the screen of my iPhone 12 mini, and an iPad pro in full sun ( at 11 AM in Costa Rica ), which works fine ( not excellent, but I doubt that exists, unless you use something with e-paper ). Please be aware that full sun is not good for any electronics.

For the desktop part, FileMaker is available for Mac and Windows.

Please note. I am a FileMaker developer myself, so I have an interest ;-)  But even if I wasn't I would have mentioned FileMaker here since I used it a lot for my own research before I became a developer