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Ushahidi is an open-source platform for collecting and visualizing information about crisis situations.

The site was developed in 2008 by Ory Okolloh to map reports of post-election violence in Kenya. Though Ushahidi was founded in Kenya, its staff members are distributed around the world.

Ushahidi is a nonprofit and received seed funding from the international nonprofit Humanity United and a grant through the Knight News Challenge and the Omidyar Network. As of 2012, its primary source of funding remained foundation grant funding.

Ushahidi allows users to submit reports via phone, email, text message or Twitter. Those reports can then be collected and mapped through Ushahidi’s platform and used for relief efforts, humanitarian aid or journalistic reports. In 2010, the group developed SwiftRiver, a tool to further sort and prioritize that information. It has also developed Crowdmap, a cloud-based version of the Ushahidi service.

The site has been used to map various events in the developing world, including the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, election monitoring in India and violent incidents in Pakistan. The Arabic-language television network Al Jazeera used Ushahidi to track conflict in Gaza in 2009. The platform has been suggested as a way for news organizations to use crowdsourcing to track large-scale crises, as well as slow-developing but wide-ranging stories.

About Ushahidi:

Ushahidi’s Knight News Challenge video:

Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier on the news media’s use of the platform:

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
July 16, 2013 / Caroline O'Donovan
Ushahidi hosts panel discussion on crowdsourced crisis mapping in Syria — Ushahidi — the crowdsourced mapping technology — has grown from one project in Kenya to more than 100 countries around the world. Today, they hosted a Google Hangout with three organizations utilizing Ushahidi’...
Feb. 27, 2013 / John Wihbey
What’s New in Digital Scholarship: Why can Facebook posts be super-memorable, and did tweets direct bombs in Libya? — Editor’s note: There’s a lot of interesting academic research going on in digital media — but who has time to sift through all those journals and papers? Our friends at Journalist’s Resource, that’s who...
Feb. 26, 2013 / Caroline O'Donovan
New guidelines could make SMS a more powerful tool for disaster relief — A new set of guidelines aimed at helping disaster relief workers better use SMS in crisis scenarios was unveiled Monday at the Mobile World Congress. “Towards a Code of Conduct: Guidelines for the use of SMS in Nat...
Feb. 20, 2013 / Joshua Benton
Press Publish 7: Michael Maness on Knight Foundation’s priorities and how to ensure impact — The head of Knight's journalism initiatives talks about who it funds and how it tries to give its projects life beyond a grant's expiration date....
Jan. 17, 2013 / Joshua Benton
A new class of Knight News Challenge winners focuses on mobile in the developing world — The common thread through several of the eight winners: turning underpowered phones into information engines....

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: August 22, 2012.
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