RHoK – The Next Steps for Ushahidi Hacks

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is a short and mighty sprint of brains colliding to prototype on solutions on real world problems. RHoK was held on December 2 -5, 2011 around the world. We were delighted to see some projects use Ushahidi.
Being part of a global hacking community supporting open source software is very important to Ushahidi. Community members participated in various cities or virtually. They answered questions, taught each other, and happily, gave us feedback on how we can improve. We hope to support some of the project leaders as they continue to work on these initiatives.
Here are some of the weekend highlights:
Water Quality reporting
The co-winner of RHok Montreal, Watervoices, collaborated with RHoK Toronto to build an Ushahidi deployment focused on giving people voice about water quality in Northern Canada. The WaterVoices project was co-lead by Steve Sauder and Melanie Gorka. The teams in both cities included front-end and back-end software developers, international development specialists, emergency managers, graphic designers, open data advocates and researchers. The prototype is currently offline, but you can follow their twitter account (@mywatervoice) to see how they will proceed. To learn more, see a WaterVoices video featuring the RHoK Montreal team members.
Another highlight of this project was testing an easy-to-use application that lets people use Tropo to input data into Ushahidi via SMS. Thanks to the Tropo team for this! It is now available on Github for other people to use and test.
Offline to Online Communications
How to give voice when technology is unavailable is a huge quandary. There were a few hacks that worked with existing solutions testing to Ushahidi. The Reflab team with Francesco Ciriaci leading the charge built an HTML5 hack for reporting Offline/Online. This hack is something that Ushahidi would like to see continue. During RHoK, the DRC map was unable to receive SMS reports due to connection issues. We will be connecting with the various hackers and groups involved during the weekend on this to see how to move it forward, including Geeks without Bounds, Reflab, Mozilla, Tropo and more. The RHok Zurich team worked on Message Carrier (another offline/online communication tool). The code is listed on github.
Also see Francesco Ciriaci’s post on his Mobile Web App for Ushahidi.
Other Ushahidi RHoK Hacks
RHoK Montreal worked on a Security Alert App for Humanitarian Workers. Medicins San Frontieres provided invaluable use case input to the team who created this Ushahidi prototype using Tropo. To learn more, see their presentation and videos (see Part 1 and Part 2).
For two RHoK events (including Rhok Portland this month), Pascal Schuback has been hacking away on SAARRA: Situational Awareness and Rapid Assessment Application using Ushahidi. He continue to work away at this and would really like to know how to have the ruby app work with Ushahidi software. If you have knowledge and can assist, let us know.
Luis Hernando Aguilar, RHoK Bogota lead, had a team of people collaborating on the “Sistema De Control de Simulacro” using Ushahidi to test within official humanitarian simulations.
RHoK Boston participants lead by, Rufus Pollack, hacked on a Pybossa to Ushahidi Geodoing Microtasker (github link).
And, lastly, we’re really excited to see Open NASA’s multi-partnered efforts with The Catalyst Map. Various cities built prototype on how actions plus activists can be connected to big data. Stay tuned for more on that topic.
RHoK in over 30 cities can be very hectic with global collaboration and juggling hacks. If we missed any active projects that used Ushahidi at RHoK or if you want to elaborate on the detail, please add comments below.
We’re excited to see these projects come to fruition and hope to see the next steps!