Ushahidi’s crisis map-based platform is providing a swift and efficient way for those in Haiti to ask for help and for those on the ground giving aid to give it. The humanitarian community has never had such an up-to-date, comprehensive tool before and, seeing it in action, it’s really breathtaking (on the real map, there are colored markers but the screengrab wouldn’t let me pull the real map).
Those in need can not only express their needs — but also where they are geographically to increase the likelihood that aid will arrive quickly. Geographic coordinates are currently being gathered through:
Twitter just announced that it’s focusing on geo-locating abilities so, conceivably, in the near-future people can be found by their tweets alone.
As for how the map actually is getting populated, Tufts’ Fletcher school volunteers in addition to those at Ushahidi are assisting.
The Ushahidi Haiti website(www.haiti.ushahidi.com) also provides news, pictures, video and links for how to help. Those looking for help reaching those in Haiti can utilize the Google Crisis Response Person Finder
Ushahidi which means “testimony” in Swahili, was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Ushahidi has since been used to track violence in Atlanta, Vote Report India, Tracking violence in the Congo amongst other really important causes.
Next time I’m asked why I think social media is so amazing? One word answer with a million possible applications: Ushahidi