New Magpi-Dropbox Photo Integration

Dropbox Photo Integration Comes to Magpiiu-2

We’re very happy to announce new Dropbox photo integration that will give our users much more complete and flexible control over their photos.  Dropbox is a product that everyone at Magpi uses every day, so we know from experience it’s a great solution – and free for basic use!

Beginning July 28th, if you collect photo data with Magpi, your photos will be stored in your Dropbox account (but still also visible in Magpi).

Leveraging the Best of the Internet

Magpi was the first web-based data collection solution available for global health, and for nearly 15 years we’ve been working to integrate with the very best online tools available, including Google products, Zapier, OpenFn, Salesforce, and more.  This strategy has enabled us to avoid reinventing the wheel (at user expense) while still offering the most complete functionality around.

Based on requests from users, last year we began to explore how to integrate Magpi’s photo capabilities with other online tools offering even greater control over photos – while at the same time maintaining the kind of tight security and low cost that has made Magpi the most reliable and affordable mobile data collection solution for tens of thousands of user around the world.  We examined dedicated photo products like Google Photos, and dedicated file storage systems like Box and Sharepoint.

Our choice: Dropbox.  The easy-to-use free filesharing tool with more than 500 million users that has revolutionized the way we share and store our digital files.

Why Dropbox?

For years, Magpi’s photo capability has allowed users to easily collect photographs as part of their data collection activities with our Magpi mobile apps – but the photo management tools on our Magpi website have been very basic. Photos for a particular form have been stored on the Magpi servers, and a link button to each photo provided in the data tab for that form:


This meant that in order to organize photos or manage them, users have been required to download photos one-at-a-time from the data by clicking the link button in the data file (or the equivalent link in the downloaded data file): not ideal!

With the new Dropbox photo integration, you’ll still be able to see a link to each photo in the Magpi data file — just like now – but you’ll ALSO be able to

  • securely view and organize your Magpi photos on the Dropbox website OR on your desktop or laptop computer or using the Dropbox Android or iOS apps
  • back up your Magpi photos automatically
  • securely share some or all of your photos with others
  • much more easily download groups of photos (or all of them)
Magpi Dropbox photo integration

Dropbox browser photos page

Organization Tools

Magpi will automatically create a unique folder on your Dropbox account for each Magpi form containing photos. Your Magpi photos will need to remain in that unique folder in order to maintain the link with Magpi, however, you’ll be able to define albums to organize your photos without disturbing the link with Magpi.

You’ll also be able to download a copy of all your photos at once, which is currently not possible with Magpi – and you’ll be able to do all this from the Dropbox website, from your computer’s desktop, or from beautiful, secure, and intuitive Android or iOS apps.


dropbox android

Dropbox Android app

Many of our users collect very confidential data, and so security is almost top-of-mind for us – and Dropbox is one of the most widely-used, tested and secure products available.  From the Dropbox site:

  • Dropbox files at rest are encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
  • Dropbox uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect data in transit between Dropbox apps and our servers
  • SSL/TSL creates a secure tunnel protected by 128-bit or higher Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption
  • Dropbox applications and infrastructure are regularly tested for security vulnerabilities and hardened to enhance security and protect against attacks
  • Two-step verification is available for an extra layer of security at login
  • If you use two-step verification, you can choose to receive security codes by text message or from any Time-Based One-Time Password (TOTP) app, such as those listed here
  • Public files are only viewable by people who have a link to the file(s)

Dropbox is designed with multiple layers of protection, including secure data transfer, encryption, network configuration, and application- and user-level controls that are distributed across a scalable, secure infrastructure.

Read more about security.

Get A Free Dropbox Account

For existing Magpi forms with photos, the system will continue to work the same as always for now: your photos will be stored on the Magpi servers.  After July 28, in order to collect photos with Magpi using any new forms, you’ll need to have a Dropbox account and link it to your Magpi account.  We’ll be providing complete instructions shortly.

Free Dropbox accounts include 2GB of file storage. At an average Magpi photo size of less than 200k (0.0002GB), that means that you’ll be able to store more than 10,000 photos.  And Dropbox has a variety of other accounts available offering enhancements like audit trails and granular access controls, as well as more space.

Sign up now for a free Dropbox account (if you don’t have one already).

More to come

Dropbox is a great solution for online storage, and we can imagine lots of other useful ways to integrate it with Magpi for the benefit of users.  As we roll out this new photo integration, we’ll be listening to users and working to add more Dropbox functionality – including the ability to export your data files directly to Dropbox. If you have ideas about this, let us know, and stay tuned for more developments!


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