Home > Design for Disability > Crowdmaps for crisis situations

Crowdmaps for crisis situations

Problem in crisis situations is the unknown state of the specific region – Where is help needed most? Which roads are still available? Where is fresh water? – and so on. The information is only available localy. During the riots after the election in Kenia in 2007 some people developed an open source map with its content based on latest user information. The platform is called Ushahidi, which is Suaheli and means witness. Users come together and contribute to the map to keep it up to date. Thereby the information can be based on different source – Twitter, Facebook, eMail, SMS … There is even an Ushahidi app for windows and android phones. But who can tell if the informant is trust worthy? To lessen problems of reliability of the source, attempts are made to use local reporters as contributors to the map content. The reports are requested to rate the reliability of their source. One not avoidable problem is that some of the people in crisis shaken regions simply do not have access to the internet or a handy (like many people in Kenia). However it is a good option to get the current status of a region after such an event like Fukushima.

In general the principle to form a map out of various contributing users is called crowdmap. Information is gathered from the web, news and cell phone. The map offers visualization of the information and also a timeline of the reported events. SMS contribution can be arranged in coorporation with SMS services.

Check here to make your own crowdmap:


Check here for an article on CNN:


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