Stephen E. Arnold: Open Data Collection with Ushahidi

Crowd-Sourcing, Culture, Data, Geospatial, Innovation, Knowledge
Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

Open Data Collection with Ushahidi

March 28, 2014

The crowdsourced data collection platform Ushahidi, now assisting activists worldwide, was first created to facilitate public accountability and social activism during crises in its home nation, Kenya. Not surprisingly, Ushahidi is also the name of the non-profit behind the open-source project. interviewed the organization’s director of data projects, Chris Albon, about the platform. The article prefaces the dialogue with a brief explanation:

“In a nutshell, it allows citizens to make reports in a collaborative way, creating crowdsourced interactive maps. With a very intelligent approach, Ushahidi gives citizens the possibility to use the web, their smartphones and even SMS to gather data, which makes this technology accessible almost everywhere and for everyone. Originally created in Kenya to serve as an instrument for social activism and public accountability in crisis situations, the software has proven to be a great companion worldwide in bringing advocacy campaigns to a successful end. The team behind Ushahidi has not only created a world-changing technology but also they share it with others since it is released as Open Source.”

Albon tells us that the core Ushahidi platform is now being used in 159 countries and has been translated into 35 languages, and explains it is being used by groups from small, election-monitoring non-profits to global organizations tracking disaster relief efforts. Journalists also make use of the platform. Albon notes that his group helped build iHub in Nairobi, an “innovation hub” and community workspace designed to facilitate collaboration and community growth. See the article for more on this and Ushahidi’s other projects, Crowdmap, Swiftriver, Ping, and BRCK. The interview wraps up with something to look forward to: the next generation of the Ushahidi core platform, v3, is on its way.

Cynthia Murrell, March 28, 2014

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