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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

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:

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