Crowdmap: Real-Time Crisis Info Service

Blog | Telecoms | Web + Social

Charlie | Monday 16th, 2010, 12:00am BST

A crowdsourced website which was initially developed to keep track of post-election violence in Kenya and has since became a critical tool for keeping track of crises as they emerge has been rebranded and relaunched in order to broaden its use and availability worldwide. Initially called Ushahidi, meaning “testimony” in Swahili,¬† Crowdmap takes reports submitted via the web and mobile phone and visualises this information in real-time onto¬† maps of the affected areas. Speaking to The Guardian about the initial naming of this tool, Erik Hersman said:

We cared about the micro game. If we cared about the macro game, we wouldn’t have chosen the name Ushahidi! The feeling was that we needed to get this out there, even if it wasn’t perfect. We launched it on the Monday after a weekend of work, thinking it’s got to be better than nothing.

Since it’s initial launch, Ushahidi has been used to keep track of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the post-earthquake crisis response and recovery efforts in Haiti, violence in Gaza among many other uses and locations. Crowdmap is currently in its Beta phase and in addition to its original use as a crowdsourced crisis monitoring tool its is also highlighting its uses for learning¬† general information about local areas and businesses as well as how to survive an invasion of zombies: