CSIRO researcher Alistair White using the FAIMS module for geochemical sampling as part of the Capricorn Distal Footprints Project. (C) CSIRO, Alistair White 2015.

Field Data Collection Platform

The FAIMS mobile data collection platform helps researchers document cultural and natural heritage. The app allows people to collect information using their personal Android devices in many settings including remote locations with no internet access. As well, we help organisations get the information they need to improve awareness and develop appropriate management strategies. Better strategies have the potential of building more readiness and engagement in the participating communities, thereby boosting our social and natural environment.

It is is a world-class, open-source platform for developing mobile systems to acquire structured, text, geospatial, and multimedia data during field research. Designed cooperatively with practitioners to address the requirements of research under difficult conditions, it can be customised for projects across many domains, with applications in university, government, and business sectors. It is being used across Australia and internationally

FAIMS developed and deployed community-driven software developed in response to researchers’ expressed requirements. The development consists of a flexible data capture platform consisting of a ‘core’ Android application that can be deeply customised to particular research activities. Customisations can be readily shared, adapted, and redeployed. The system accommodates gigabyte-sized datasets and hundreds of devices. FAIMS works offline, automatically synchronises data collected by multiple teams, eliminates double-entry, and automates export - saving time and reducing errors. It also fosters the creation and sharing of syntactically and semantically interoperable datasets by, e.g., embedding URIs in records to link to online ontologies. All software is licenced GPLv3 and freely available on GitHub.

The mobile platform consists of an offline-capable Android mobile application supported by an Ubuntu server. The server may be local (for projects working in remote areas without internet access), but in many cases it is delivered as a cloud service (for projects that have regular - but not necessarily continuous - internet access).

We offer extensive documentation on how to get started with the FAIMS Mobile app. Or contact us at enquiries@fedarch.org for help making your module.

Features include:

  • Full offline functionality using a local server (after instantiation all features of the modules and server work without internet connection, including the GIS).
  • Easy synchronisation and backup across multiple mobile devices and a local server.
  • File management (storing photographs, scanned drawings, digital vector drawings, audio recordings, and other arbitrary files in designated folders on the server, and connecting them to records in the database).
  • Mapping / lightweight GIS, including the display of vector and raster data, and the manual creation of vector shapes.
  • Full versioning (the ability to review and, if necessary, reverse all changes made to a dataset) achieved through an append-only data store.
  • Customisable data storage and user interfaces, including logic. Data schemas and UIs are created using XML definition files. Customisable logic includes defaults, validation, “repeat any record” (or a selected record), and other automation to speed data entry.
  • Dataset compatibility from the moment of creation. As part of project setup, users can alias core concepts in archaeological recording with their own terms. This initial process replaces resource-intensive manual column mapping at the time of ingest into a repository while still producing semantically compatible datasets for regional and comparative research (a process accomplished through a novel application of localisation / internationalisation).

Get started!

Download the FAIMS mobile app from the FAIMS website and trial our demonstration modules. Use the Getting Started guide to learn about the FAIMS mobile platform:

  • Getting Started guide

  • Download FAIMS APK
  • Click on the downloaded APK file and install it on your device.
  • Go to Settings>Security and scroll to Device Administration  Check “Unknown sources”
  • Navigate to your downloads and run the APK you downloaded to install FAIMS.
  • Then return to Settings>Security>Device Administration and uncheck “Unknown sources”
  • Open the FAIMS Mobile app, click the ‘Connect to Demo server’ button on the bottom left.
  • You should now see a scrolling list of the available ‘modules’. Modules are FAIMS digital recording forms that can be tailored to specific projects and unique research workflows.
  • Click on any module and download it to your device (may take minutes).
  • Press the ‘Load the module’ button and explore the module!


Access the FAIMS Mobile Platform user documentation here:

For support with all FAIMS tools, access the knowledge base here: