Wright, J.A., Gundry, S.W., Genthe, B., du Preez, M., Moyo, S., Potgieter, N. and Ndamba, J.
Technical Note: Use of hand-held computers for collecting water quality data in developing countries.
Water International, 29, (4), .
A novel system is described for recording and storing details of water samples collected from rural African households and the water sources that they use. The system makes use of handheld computers for data entry instead of paper-based records. Bar codes are used to track water samples from the field to the laboratory, where total coliforms and Escherichia coli counts are enumerated for each sample. Participating household members and their water sources are documented using instamatic photography, enabling more rapid identification on subsequent visits. The system significantly reduces the lag-time between data collection and analysis. The use of bar codes and direct data entry reduces transcription errors that occur with paper-based recording.
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