[We're excited about some of the great new products, redesign and tweaks coming out in 2011 for Crowdmap, as well as the SwiftRiver and Ushahidi platforms. This post will give you a taste of what's coming in early 2011.] Earlier this year we launched Crowdmap.com, a website that allows anyone to create their own ad-hoc mapping communities around whatever topics are important to them. Then someone described our mapping platform as "checkins with a purpose", a nod to popular social media apps that allow users to state where they are at any given moment. Then it was only a metaphor, but today we're embracing that comparison. To kick off 2011 we're excited to announce the newest member to our family of products, checkins for Crowdmap! Crowdmap:CI, or Crowdmap Checkins, allows users to create ad-hoc checkin communities like Foursquare or Gowalla, complete with mobile applications and web portal. This checkin functionality works with both the Ushahidi platform and Crowdmap.com allowing for the rapid deployment of a 'checkin' community. Existing users of our mobile data collection products will find that Crowdmap:CI isn't that different, it's simply faster making it easier to drop location points. We recognize that submitting elaborate reports to maps is not always the most efficient way of logging information. Sometimes users just want to drop quick notes that represent data points allowing them to enter details later. For instance: the locations of wells while touring a rural village, or potholes around a metropolitan city, or simply dropping pins while on a vacation for the memories of where to return to. Crowdmap:CI is an attempt to make this data entry process quicker, allowing users to focus on location first, and everything else later.
Perhaps the coolest thing about using this versus some of the bigger closed source alternatives is that your organization or group doesn't have to share data with a bunch of other users you don't care about or know, rather the service can be deployed for your own bounded groups. Each deployment of Crowdmap also has it's own API for users and organizations who want to build their own robust applications on top of what we offer. The points of different users can be viewed together or individually. This is convenient for groups where each individual has an assignment to map different objects or in scenarios where it's important to denote how many tasks each individual has accomplished. The beta Crowdmap:CI app is available for Android with iPhone support on the way. There's much more coming with the launch including the ability for admins to create their own rules for Rewards and Badges.
What else can you use Crowdmap:CI for?
Quickly leaving bread-crumb trails while surveying (geo-caching).
Journalists can use Crowdmap to map points of interest and notes, for themselves or for their editorial teams.
Have everyone in a company checkin as they move around the world on business trips and conferences to gain perspective of where everyone is and what they're doing.
Mark the location of items or landmarks
Organize group checkin campaigns around conferences, causes or public gatherings.
Start Using it Today!
Much like Crowdmap, SwiftRiver, the Ushahidi platform and other Ushahidi products, Crowdmap:CI is free. If you are an organization with the need for a large number of users checking in at once, options for creating your own rewards and badges, or customized designs we have several premium offerings that will be available soon. Crowdmap:CI is scheduled to launch in late January 2011. Find out about the premium offerings or start using the beta today by emailing us here. Big thanks to Ahmed Maawy who worked with me over the holidays to build the CI prototype, Brian Herbert who heads up Crowdmap.com and Henry Addo (pictured above) who's work laid the groundwork for the Android app!