My philosophy is that data collection software and its operation should reflect the needs of the research, rather than the more-common situation where the capabilities of the software determine the design of the research.
I have marketed a program called Event-PC since 1988, used for collecting observation data from a Windows- or Apple-based laptop. While I still sell that program, exciting new options became available for behaviorial data collection.
I shifted my efforts for many years to writing custom programs for behavioral data collection on Palm OS-based PDA’s. I have written programs for 40-45 projects now, a number of them in Psychology, Animal Behavior, Biology, Fisheries, Anthropology, and the National Primate Research Center at the University of Washington, but also at UCLA, Princeton, two labs at Indiana University, Oregon State University, Washington State University, and many others. My programs are in use in lab settings as well as zoos (Woodland Park, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati, in a single, cooperative project), and in the field: Glacier Bay Alaska (murrelets), Kenya (baboons), the San Juan Islands (orca) of Washington, and tracking jaguars in Brazil.
Now we (my business partner, Arthur Davis, and I) have adapted the EVENT-Palm software and custom-design business model to Android and iOS apps: EVENT-App.
Basically, we write custom programs for researchers, generally for $250-500, but it depends a bit on how fancy they are, and therefore how much time they take… simple ones take about 3-5 hours, so I guess it’s about $50/hour for programming. We can send sample programs, like the one that is in use in my research, for you to try out, if you like.
If you are interested, what I require from you is a very complete description of the way that you want to collect the data. It is VERY easy for me to tweak/customize your software, once it’s working smoothly, and simply resend it to you electronically, and I do this regularly, even to researchers in the field, and if it’s really minor, for free.
I do not provide the Palm PDAs or tablet/smartphones themselves but do have some advice about models and purchasing.