The Ushahidi team is proud to announce the long awaited Ushahidi iOS app!
The Ushahidi mobile apps play a crucial role for gathering incident reports for a number of reasons. One, gps-enabled devices can gather exact latitude and longitude helping provide an accurate incident location. Two, camera-phones allow the user to take photos on the spot of the incident. Three, 3G enabled devices can upload the incident report as they happen, which is critical during times of crisis. Four, when internet is not available, multiple reports can still be collected and uploaded at a later time when the device is connected.
We currently have mobile apps for the Windows Mobile, Android and J2ME platforms. The iOS app has been in the works for awhile now, so we’re excited to finally add iOS to that collection and have it available for the community.
The iOS app is available for both the iPhone and iPad, with a few optimizations for the iPad’s larger screen size. As expected, it supports both Portrait and Landscape modes. The app allows viewing and submitting of reports to multiple Ushahidi deployments, which is becoming increasingly important since the launch of Crowdmap. Since the list of deployments or reports can grow quite larger, the app offers filtering and sorting allowing the user to quickly access the information they need. The application also remembers the last deployment or report visited, returning upon relaunch. The user can toggle between the report list and report map, to view incidents near their current location. Incident reports can also be shared via email or SMS. User’s will also find the user experience similar to the Apple Mobile Mail app, with a Compose button in bottom right ToolBar and Next/Previous buttons in the NavBar to easily move through reports and photos. Like the other Ushahidi mobile apps, the iOS app can create incident reports in a disconnected state, and upload once the internet becomes available.
A few interesting settings worth mentioning. Enabling the Discrete Mode On Shake will allow the user to quickly flip the current view to a web browser hiding their current activity; this could be useful while entering sensitive information, for example during election monitoring. Enabling the Download Maps For Offline Viewing will take advantage of Google Static Maps so map images can be downloaded and viewed when the device is in a disconnected state.
We’re proud of this first version, but this is just the beginning. We plan to roll out an update soon adding multi-lingual support, improved location selection, push notifications, optimized iPad interface and Twitter sharing.
As usual, your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Big thanks to Erastus Njuki for all his help during the development process.