The FAIMS Mobile Platform is open-source software for offline data collection on an Android device. FAIMS stands for Field Acquired Information Management Systems. The platform was established by archaeologists in 2012 to support the capture and management of digital field data in difficult terrain. It is now used by researchers from many fields in diverse situations.
A brief history of the project
In December 2019 the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) awarded a team of researchers led by Macquarie University $600,000 over three years to build a digital platform for data collection in the field and offline (read the announcement here). This was matched by $720,920 in co-investment from project partners.
This project will see the re-build of FAIMS Mobile a robust data collection tool now at the end of its digital life, making the most of current software stacks and research infrastructure. FAIMS 3.0 will accommodate diverse data capture, localisation and complex workflows, and provide seamless synchronisation, backup and version control, just like FAIMS Mobile. It will also be cross-platform (Android, iOS and Desktop) and self-serve allowing uses to customise and deploy modules through a graphic user interface (See Our Design Approach).
Why are we doing it? Fieldwork is time consuming and researchers are always looking at ways to increase efficiency in data recording in the field but that’s not the full story. We are also required to share our data in wholly reusable ways following FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles. This is far more easily done when that data is born digital but creating bespoke software is expensive to build and onerous to maintain. FAIMS 3.0 will allow researchers to customise their workflows from a shared platform.
The FAIMS project launched in June 2012, funded by the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources program. FAIMS developed a mobile, offline, multi-user collection platform for structured, free-text, geospatial, and multimedia data. The project also supported enhancements to the Heurist online data refinement and analysis service developed at the University of Sydney, and established an Australian implementation of the Digital Archaeological Record, an online data archive developed by Digital Antiquity (USA).
Between 2014 and 2016 operations were funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities grant and from 2016 to 2018 by a NSW Research Attraction and Acceleration Program (RAAP) grant. This was supplemented by consultancy income from field deployments at partner institutions.
- FAIMS Project launched at University of New South Wales with NeCTAR eResearch Tools grant
- FAIMS 1.0 released
Awarded Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities grant
Commenced LIEF grant (2014 to 2016)
- FAIMS moved to Macquarie University
FAIMS 2.0 released
- FAIMS begins operating as open-source software consultancy
Awarded NSW RAAP grant from NSW government (2016 to 2018)
FAIMS undertakes market analysis via CSIRO ON Prime
- FAIMS 2.5 released
- FAIMS wins US Bureau of Reclamation / US Geological Survey innocentive.com prize for ‘FAIMS 3.0’ proposed design
- Successful ARDC Platforms investment
- Commenced 'FAIMS 3.0 Electronic Field Notebooks' Project
- Alpha v0.1.0 was released in June
FAIMS has a 9-year record of successful software development, deployment, client support and community-building. The focus of FAIMS3 will be sustainability based on our CSIRO ON Prime experience, including 70+ interviews that have defined technological priorities in the proposed re-engineering. The new system will be self-service, with an open-source core supporting research transparency but value-adding services that can generate revenue to share the cost of long-term maintenance of the software.