A mobile electronic survey unit – A.K.A. A Cunning Use for Netbooks

Hi, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, mainly because I’ve been incredibly busy with Uni and work and haven’t had time for hacking on anything interesting at home. However, I’m going to tell you about a really interesting and quite novel use for netbooks that I’ve been setting up at work, hopefully someone else will find it useful and use it in a similar way…

A while ago my boss came to me with an idea. He wanted to purchase a number of netbooks and install LimeSurvey on each of them to be used as a mobile survey unit, that could be taken to schools, colleges, workplaces, etc. and used to collect data for research projects. I pointed out that if we were to install LimeSurvey on all the netbooks each would need an individual webserver and MySQL server, which apart from being a lot of effort would fragment the dataset and make it much more difficult to collect the data together.

Hence, I suggested that we setup one of the machines as the server and set it’s built-in Wifi to work as an access point for the others so they could access the server. This means that no external network access is required, you carry the server with you! Continue reading