glad to hear you considering odk! i've put the answers inline.
We’ve found ViewWorld and DiMaGi. Are there other companies that could
assist us in customizing ODK?
we generally recommend dimagi, but there are plenty of others. i'm assuming
those who are interested will contact you directly.
In Malawi, coverage is not very good. So I think we need an offline
solution. Is this possible with ODK?
everything in odk is explicitly designed to work offline. for form design,
you can run build locally or use py2xforms or a text editor. for hosting the
data, you can run aggregate locally or use kobo post processor. for the
actual data collection, the mobile client works great without a network
connection. see http://opendatakit.org/use and
http://code.google.com/p/opendatakit/wiki/TrainingGuide for more.
Input into ODK must be just 24 fields (see attached, small file), but
output is quite advanced (see attached, large file). To do this, would
once data gets into aggregate (or wherever), you can export it to csv or
excel or stream it to some web service. from there, you can write your own
scripts to do whatever -- including building another excel sheet, a
standalone java app, a web site, etc.
if there is anyway to build a web site for your users that replaces the big
excel sheet, that's what i'd do. i understand you might not have
connectivity, but shipping around a big (and likely outdated excel sheet)
finally, i should note that there is a bit of information at
http://opendatakit.org (especially in the research and press sections) and
http://code.google.com/p/opendatakit (mostly the wiki), and at
http://groups.google.com/group/opendatakit (search for what you want). the
mailing list (cc'ed) is especially important because it allows me (and
others in the community) to answer good questions like these only once.
hope this helps, if not, please ask more questions on the mailing list.