Articles

Ushahidi

In Community Examples on March 17, 2010 by Jim Luke

Africa’s Gift to Silicon Valley: How to Track a Crisis

Ushahidi.com

FOLLOW THE DOTS Reports from residents were used in Haiti to pinpoint locations of earthquake victims.

Snowmageddoncleanup.com

In Washington, D.C., Ushahidi partnered with the Washington Post to warn of snow-covered roads.

Imagine if any Pakistani could send an anonymous text message to the authorities suggesting where to look. Each location could be plotted on a map. The dots would be scattered widely, perhaps, with promising leads indistinguishable from rubbish. But on a given day, a surge of dots might point to the same village, in what could not be coincidence. Troops could be ordered in.

This kind of everyone-as-informant mapping is shaking up the world, bringing the Wikipedia revolution to the work of humanitarians and soldiers who parachute into places with little good information. And an important force behind this upheaval is a small Kenyan-born organization called Ushahidi, which has become a hero of the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes and which may have something larger to tell us about the future of humanitarianism, innovation and the nature of what we label as truth.

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