Crowdsourcing crisis information

After reading the previous entries I in my turn started to think action in the actual location of the crisis. How could people who are affected by a crisis be empowered to help themselves and help WHO to help them… someone else has already thought about this before too, with good results. Ushahidi is a simple platform allowing anyone to report crisis information (e.g. what is happening, where) through text-messaging via phone, email or web. This information is gathered and visualized on a map. The reported incidents are further classified to color-coded categories.

Ushahidi website was originally made to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout in 2008. The opensource platform is now available for the use of any person or organization for crisis mapping purposes. I wonder if WHO has already heard about this? If not, they should.

Here’s a current example map, Al-Jazeera covering the activity happening in Gaza in January 2009. Check out also other deployments in Congo, South Africa etc.

Gaza map by Al-Jazeera

I think this is also related to the semantic technologies mentioned by Sebastian. This platform relates also to citizen journalism and empowers everyday people to contribute in the gathering of the data.

My own interest lie in the following areas, in short:
– visualizing information, mapping
– locative services
– mobile services
– envisioning tools and concepts which would help out in field conditions, on the spot of the crisis

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