crowdsourcing – Mapping Threats to Public Space

[Guest blog post by Marek Čaněk, co-founder of and a PhD Candidate at Prague's Charles University and an activist in urban and migrant workers' issues]

Russia: Sustainability of Crowdsourcing Projects After Emergency and “Ushahidi” Chain Effect.

[This is a guest blog post by Gregory Asmolov, an intern at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, contributing editor to “Runet Echo” and a Russian language blogger. He and Alexey Sidorenko deployed the Ushahidi platform Russian].

Haiti, Web 2.0, and Humanitarianism: Change before you have to *.

[Guest blog post by Catherine Caron, a postgraduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she got a MSc in Development Management and wrote her dissertation on "The Impact of Web 2.0 Tools on the Humanitarian Aid Industry:  A Case Study of the Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake"]

Crowdsourcing and Chaos Theory

Below you’ll find the basis for my Ignite talk from ICCM10 in Boston originally titled “Veracity Blues: The Trouble with Crowdsourcing”.
Would you trust these guys with your data?

United States Institute of Peace Report on Ushahidi-Haiti

As many fans and supporters of Ushahidi recall, the Ushahidi−Haiti Project raised the profile of crisis mapping to a new level.  It demonstrated the potential of crowdsourced maps for targeted disaster response to a broad and empowered  audience and provided a useful foundational model for the international community to leverage and improve upon in advance of future emergencies.

How to cope with very large volumes of crowdsourced reports? Add more crowd!

[Guest Plot Post: Robert Munro is the Chief Information Officer at Energy for Opportunity and a Graduate Fellow in computational linguistics at Stanford where he specializes in methods for processing large volumes of information in less-resourced languages.]

Liberia Mapped

During my first few weeks in Liberia, I found myself at the mercy of my driver.  The lack of street signs and numbered addresses meant that finding an office inevitably involved stopping to ask a woman selling bananas, or going up and down nearby streets until we’d eyed each nook and cranny of the concrete honeycomb.  This isn’t how two mapping consultants go about their business, John and I thought; we had the power to do something, however small, about the disorder of Liberia’s capital.  So we set out on in John’s surfboard-adorned jeep with GPS unit in hand.

A Big Thank You to the Uchaguzi Volunteers!

Today is a day of gratitude! Peace has prevailed in Kenya and the Uchaguzi volunteers have filled the iHub and virtual Ushahidi community with positivity and productivity for the past two days.  Thank you, all!
The Uchaguzi project brought more than 70 volunteers to the iHub August 3rd and 4th (with at least 12 others joining remotely).  Volunteers helped map and process over 1400 messages as well as assisted our team of Ushahidi developers fix bugs that popped up during the Uchaguzi deployment.  The volunteers met the challenge with incredible enthusiasm, focus, patience, and a spirit of fun!  We couldn’t be prouder to have such a wonderful Ushahidi community!

Uchaguzi Midday Update

We’re midway through the main day for Uchaguzi, and all is going well. The tech team is working hard on fixing a couple bugs (we had issues with the Twitter feed and email reports earlier), but we’re now moving on that. We’ve got hundreds of incoming SMS messages and the election monitoring group we’re partnered with (CRECO) is doing a fantastic job of getting those incoming reports verified.

Uchaguzi: Kenya Video and Press Release

(video by Jon Shuler)

Here’s our press release on Uchaguzi in Kenya.
News Release:
Contact name: Erik Hersman
Phone: 0729 157 257
Contact email: [email protected]

Russia: Crowdsourcing assistance for victims of wildfires

[Guest blog post by Gregory Asmolov, an intern at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, contributing editor to “Runet Echo” and a Russian language blogger]

Uchaguzi: An Ushahidi deployment for Kenya’s 2010 Constitutional Referendum

Uchaguzi - Kenya decides on a new constitution
The Ushahidi platform was born out of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.  While the organizational mission is to keep improving the technology behind Ushahidi, the team is also invested in its continued use in Kenya.  Because of this, Ushahidi has launched (which means “elections” in Swahili) with 3 Kenyan partner organizations to monitor the August 4th Constitutional Referendum vote. 

Crowdsourcing with Humanitarians in Training

[Guest blog post: Sayon Dutta is an emergency medicine physician with prior training in aerospace engineering and currently is completing a research fellowship in applied technologies. His research includes GIS and mobile technologies in humanitarian emergencies and the utilization of medical informatics to improve patient care in the Emergency Department. He is a key contributor the the HSI simulation applied technology module. Jennifer Chan is an associate faculty member at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), an emergency medicine physician and public health provider. She is a technical consultant and field researcher for humanitarian NGOs with the Program on Humanitarian Effectiveness.

Read This If You Don’t Know What Ushahidi Is

Ushahidi is the name of both the organization (Ushahidi Inc) and the software. This sometimes leads to confusion. So lets elaborate on both.
Ushahidi Inc. is a non-profit tech company. We’ve always been a non-profit tech company. We are not a humanitarian, human rights, media or development organization. Please see our “About” page. The word Ushahidi is Swahili for “witness” or “testimony.” This was the name of the mapping platform we launched to document human rights abuses during the 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya. We chose to keep this name for future versions of the software and adopted the same name for the company when we incorporated.

Election Monitors and the Unwashed Crowd

Polling Station
I’ve been told that crowdsourcing of elections isn’t a wise move. After all, what value will anyone gain from gathering a bunch of yammering “l33t-speak” texting reports from the unwashed masses? Election monitoring should only be done by trained volunteers and their results analyzed by professionals.

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