Tahrir Sqaure, Egypt during Arab Spring

Every one of the social movements that used the Ushahidi Platform, from disaster response to election monitoring to municipal services, have succeeded because of lowering the barriers for using the platform. While there are key needs across all deployers of the platform, every  movement and every cause has its own unique needs. Enter customizable platforms that enable people with little tech expertise to setup and use a tool that …

Announcing Ushahidi v3.0.0-beta.2 release!

In line with our 2 week release cycle, we churn out yet another beta version of Ushahidi today, dubbed Ushahidi Platform v3.0.0-beta.2.

This release is NOT ready for production, and remains largely a developer release. However, you can get a sneak peek of what we currently have on our demo site.

What’s changed?

A few improvements have been made since our first beta release

Facebook is quickly becoming the richest available source of real-time crisis reporting. Using CrisisNET we’ve been monitoring over 2,000 public Facebook pages focused on Middle East conflict since we launched the platform earlier this month. While data from these pages isn’t always perfect, it’s proven to be an invaluable resource for understanding conflict as it happens on the ground.

Knowledge from the Noise

Traditional, curated reporting data …

The excitement around big data for social good is palpable, and its capacity for change is enormous. However, in order to realize this capacity the humanitarian community needs to embrace a fundamental shift in the relationship between data and crisis.

Insights from massive datasets have revolutionized economics, marketing, transportation, and other for-profit industries, but crisis data gathering and analysis remains as fractured and chaotic as the disrupted communities it attempts to serve. Collecting information about …

(Guest post by Taha Kass-Hout and Hend Alhinnawi from Humanitarian Trackerwhich is a non-profit global forum that connects and empowers citizens using innovation in technology to support humanitairan causes. Taha serves as Founder and CEO, and Hend the Co-Founder and COO of Humanitarian Tracker) Humanitarian Tracker (HT), a volunteer-based non-profit organization, has been crowdsourcing information from Syria over the past 3 years.  As you’ve all heard by now, 14 years after its eradication, Polio has re-emerged in Syria. What you didn’t hear was that several reports from the ground were received and published by Syria Tracker, a project of HT, weeks before it became mainstream.

OtterBox_Wireless_600w Crowdsourcing, the idea of soliciting information from citizens and relying on their participation to achieve certain goals is almost 10 years old. We ourselves, have been building products that allow users to collect, curate and visualize information since 2008, relying solely on the power of the masses. In the last few years, internet enabled sensing devices have permeated every day life, through mobile devices and through very cheap and accessible electronic sensors. We've wondered for some time now how we might combine the perceptive abilities of the crowd with the long term sensing capabilities of machines to help us deal with issues of verification and continuous monitoring. Machine sensing is precise and incontrovertible for the most part, which is why we feel it plays a role in the crowdsourcing conversation.

Slayer aka Kuo-Yu Chuang is a founder of GeoThings, the chair of the OGC Open Geo SMS Standard Working Group, and is also from Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). He is also an Ushahidi trusted developer and long standing member of the Ushahidi community. Slayer made an ignite talk at the 5th Annual Crisis mapper's conference(ICCM), held in Nairobi last November, with a focus on his work at GeoThings. GeoThings employs a 2-tiered approach to crowdsourcing for disaster information collection and co-ordination. Here's a video of his presentation below.