Coral Collect vs Google Formw

Collection apps vs Google forms

If you are looking for a practical and simple way to replace paper forms with a digital solution, this article is for you.
Depending on the type of field operations you conduct, you may have to collect complex data – often without access to an internet connection.
The modern way to handle data collection is via mobile applications (or “apps”). Mobile apps, such as Coral Collect, generally offer more specialized features and are aimed specifically at meeting the needs of engineers, technicians, biologists, analysts, and other types of specialists working in the field.
Google Forms is a simple tool that can be used to enter questions that can then be filled out remotely later.

Mobile applications vs Google Forms

Basic functionalities

The basic functionalities of mobile applications and Google Forms respectively vary since as they are generally designed with emphasis on different use case scenarios.

Whereas mobile apps are generally designed with specific use cases or applications in mind like inspections, Google Forms offers a suite of tools similar to those of Microsoft Office (word documents, spreadsheets, and presentation tools), which are aimed at fulfilling a variety of different needs like surveys, events subscription or mobile observations, but are not geared to being particularly good at anything specific.

For data collection in the field during engineering projects or sample collecting operations, it is often necessary to create forms with GPS coordinates and other metadata included. In such cases, mobile apps are often more suitable for the task.

The table below compares some of the features that mobile applications include (we are using Coral Collect as an example) to those that are offered by Google Forms.

Mobile applications (e.g. Coral Collect )Google Forms

Create digital forms
Fill out forms in the field
View and export data on a dashboard
Suite of online tools (word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.) only accessible via Google Account

Data collection

Although Google Forms are commonly used during data collection operations, mobile apps are often more suitable for data collection in the field, particularly for operations that take place in areas with no internet access.

Mobile applicationsGoogle Forms
Carry out precise inspections of all types of fixed assets
Map all the data collected
Create technical forms for a wide range of fields (signatures, bar codes, GPS coordinates, photos, etc.)
Effectively create surveys (because you can easily provide links to question forms)
Create event registration forms

Data analysis and report generation

With some mobile applications, specifically Coral Collect, it is also possible to visualize data and export it in various formats.

Google Forms does have some compatibility with Microsoft Office formats (.docx, .xlsx, etc.) but is designed mainly as an online tool which syncs your documents to the Google Cloud (i.e. Google Drive) and is thus not ideally suited to offline document editing and exporting.

Mobile applicationsGoogle Forms
Visualization of data by means of online maps
CSV or Excel databases
PDF reports
Georeferenced data formats (kmz, GeoJSON and Shapefile)
Survey data is available in the form of bar charts, pie charts and text.
Users cannot filter the results, but the data is automatically exported as a Google Spreadsheet.

Offline functionality

Mobile apps such as Coral Collect allow you to fill out forms offline and sync your data later.

Google Forms, on the other hand, is specifically designed as a cloud solution, meaning that you need to be connected to the internet (and via your Google Account) to use it.

Mobile applicationsGoogle Forms
Certain mobile apps, in particular Coral Collect, allow you to fill out forms even you are offlineImpossible to fill out forms when offline, which is a big disadvantage for certain activities, particularly during field work

Pricing

Whereas Google Forms is free, mobile apps usually offer different options, including paid versions, which provide improved functionality or additional features.

Mobile applicationsGoogle Forms
Generally speaking, mobile apps offer an effective, but limited, free plan (or version) as well as paid plans (or versions) that provide more powerful features and greater customizabilityCoral Collect offers a free plan with full functionality for an unlimited number of users. Free

To find out more about Coral Collect, feel free to watch this video or head over to the Coral Collect information page here.

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