The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
With three open-source platforms working to crowdsource and map people’s insights, Ushahidi – a two time Knight News Challenge winner - has quickly grown from one project in Kenya to uses in 132 countries around the world.
Everyday, people use Ushahidi’s tools to bridge information gaps in their communities, by doing things like mapping healthcare resources and monitoring disease outbreaks in Honduras and gauging riot violence and transportation problems in London.
In Kenya, small-scale farmers use iCow, a mobile and Web information service that runs on Ushahidi’s Crowdmap platform, to send text messages about agricultural resources across the three largest networks in the country. The Ushahidi-based system takes the crowdsourced information and plots the locations on a map, helping farmers in rural areas find what they need to support their livelihood.
In Indonesia, Waspada allows people to use cell phones and the Internet to map crimes in Jarkata on a minute-to-minute basis. The project also uses Crowdmap, and will soon feature a forum for talking about crime, providing a monthly analysis on crime, a ‘lost and found’ and a Web app to track missing or stolen goods.
Many of these projects have gained from the Ushahidi Community website. Launched in February, the site is a new place for users to talk about their experiences with Ushahidi products like Crowdmap, a drop and go version of the original Ushahidi platform that lets users crowdsource information in minutes, and SwiftRiver, a system funded by the News Challenge that helps to verify information emerging from social media in a crisis (think text messages and Tweets during the Haiti quake). The site also informs people of ways they can contribute to ongoing projects around the world.
For the full list of countries using Ushahidi, check out their website. To learn more about how the Knight News Challenge invests in groundbreaking projects that promote informed and engaged communities, visit newschallenge.org.