Formhub was developed originally as an internal mobile data collection tool, based on Open Data Kit (ODK) Collect, for projects at the Earth Institute, including the Nigeria Scale-Up Initiative and the Millennium Villages Project.

The management at the Sustainable Engineering Lab (SEL) (known then as Modi Research Group) decided to allow others with similar needs to use it as well, and that’s how the current came into being.

It proved a popular decision, and several years later, there are 7,097 unique user accounts, with over 2.6 million individual form submissions posted so far.

Now that the mobile data collection needs for the original projects which spawned formhub are coming to an end, and formhub’s original developers and maintainers have moved on to greener pastures, there is an internal debate at SEL about the future of the web service.

Whereas the source code will continue to be available for anyone to fork and contribute improvements, there may not be enough administrative and developmental resources here at SEL to continue to support as a free and open-to-all service.

We do care, though, about the community of users who have made formhub an important part of their mobile data collection efforts, and so we will be offering the formhub community of users new options for running their own independent instances of formhub, to suit their own needs.

The first of these are public, pre-built server images which contain everything necessary to run formhub in a stable, self-contained environment with minimal technical configuration:

We have written these guides to be as simple as possible, even for users with minimal technical experience, but we welcome comments and suggestions for improving them.