I have recently come across a mobile phone app which might be interesting for mapping roads in cities after disasters. Waze has been designed to help drivers get a better idea of issues on the road, such as traffic jams, accidents, police or road hazards.
I just finished a four-week online course called “Tech Tools for Emergency Management”. The course is run by TechChange and covers some of the new digital tools that have been much talked about in the context of emergency response, such as Ushahidi, Open Street Map, Frontline SMS and social media in general.
I just noticed a post on Mobileactive.org on how technology was used by different organizations to follow the 2011 presidential elections in Liberia. The article focuses on the differences between election monitoring and crowd sourcing and also give some insights in the specific challenges that the organizers were faced with in Liberia. It’s worth reading: Technology in the 2011 Liberian elections: mobiles, monitoring and mapping
As many of you know, I’m quite critical when it comes to how to the impressive information gathering possibilities of crisis mapping tools turn into actionable information for responders. On LinkedIn someone shared a video with me today where Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier addresses some of these concerns.
For the past three days I have been following the coverage of the Liberia elections on liberia2011.ushahidi.com. Unfortunately, I’m far from impressed. To be clear: this is not the fault of Ushahidi: After all, Ushahidi is just the technical platform and it is the responsibility of others to feed the system information, but it shows the limitations of crowdsourcing information.
Liberians will go to the polls on 11 October 2011 to vote for a new house of representative, a new senate and – most importantly – they’ll decide who will be the president for the next six years. Ushahidi has set up a website to monitor the elections.
I just came across a really excellent post by Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier: “A List of Completely Wrong Assumptions About Technology Use in Emerging Economies”. If you have anything to do with using digital tools in a development context, I highly recommend you read this post. Though, of course, the problem is not limited to using web tools.
The BBC has now published elements process for verifying social media content, which makes for an excellent read. What emerges is a process that is more like that of a traditional intelligence agency, than what most people had in mind when joining journalism school.