Ushahidi Tool is a "free and open source mapping and content management system which can be used by organizations worldwide in... crisis-related situations. The main goal of the [tool] is to create a system that facilitates early warning systems and helps in data visualization for response and recovery." ("Ushahidi," 2012)
'"Ushahidi", which means "testimony" in Swahili, was a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Since then, the name "Ushahidi" has come represent the people behind the "Ushahidi Platform". The original website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phone. This website had 45,000 users in Kenya, and was the catalyst for realizing there was a need for a platform based on it, which could be use by others around the world.'
Ushahidi now serves as a prototype and a lesson for what can be done by combining crisis information from citizen generated reports, media and NGOs and mashing that data up with geographical mapping tools.
The Ushahidi platform has been used to monitor elections in India, Mexico, Lebanon and
Afghanistan. It has been deployed in the DR Congo to track unrest, Zambia to monitor medicine stockouts and the Philippines to track the mobile phone companies.
Ushahidi is free for you to download and use. It is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)." ("Ushahidi," 2012)
The hosted version of the Ushahidi Tool is called Crowdmap which allows you to set up your own map of Ushahidi without having to install it on your own web server.
Specific Options Mentioned
- Dynamic Timeline: Track your reports on the map and over time. You can filter your data by time and then see when things happened and where, as it's also tied to the map.
- Interactive Mapping: One of the most powerful ways to visualize information is to display it on a map. The Ushahidi platform gives you rich information mapping tools.
Multiple Data Streams: The Ushahidi Platform allows you to easily collect information via text messages, email, twitter and web-forms."