Online Program

Technology Advancing Data Collection: Implementing Thin Client Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing Into National Agricultural Statistics Services’ Field Data Collection Program
*Michael W. Gerling, USDA-NASS 

Keywords: Agriculture, CAPI, Data Collection, Wireless Broadband, Mobile Hotspots

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) surveys agricultural operations across the United States. Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) involves an interviewer going to the respondent with the questionnaire on a computer (generally a laptop) and recording responses onto the laptop. Past CAPI solutions have centered around data and the data collection instrument residing on the laptop, leaving the data (including personal information) vulnerable if the laptops are stolen or compromised. NASS’ CAPI solution is an innovative thin-client approach which leverages wireless broadband technology and a recently completed Web based data collection system named Electronic Data Reporting System. In general, a field interviewer using a tablet computer (Apple iPad) accesses the Internet using broadband wireless technology. The field interviewer then accesses NASS’ Web data collection site and brings up the questionnaires that need to be completed by that particular agricultural operator. The interview is completed real time over the Internet with no data ever residing on the tablet. Will show how thin client CAPI can be secure, efficient and cost effective.