User Tag List

Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Ushahidi3443 days old

  1. #1
    Banned
    Molecular Biologist
    Last Online
    2010-12-19 @ 11:25
    Join Date
    2010-02-21
    Posts
    3,651
    Location
    In Your House
    Gender
    Y-DNA
    E1b1a8a
    mtDNA
    L2b1
    Race
    Sub-Saharan African
    Phenotype
    Sudanid
    Metaethnos
    Homo sapiens invictus
    Ethnicity
    African American
    Politics
    Nietzschean
    Religion
    Whatever is practical
    United States Switzerland United Nations

    Default Ushahidi

    Africas Gift to Silicon Valley: How to Track a Crisis
    By ANAND GIRIDHARADAS

    Could wiki technology find Osama bin Laden?

    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.

    After Kenyas disputed election in 2007, violence erupted. A prominent Kenyan lawyer and blogger, Ory Okolloh, who was based in South Africa but had gone back to Kenya to vote and observe the election, received threats about her work and returned to South Africa. She posted online the idea of an Internet mapping tool to allow people anonymously to report violence and other misdeeds. Technology whizzes saw her post and built the Ushahidi Web platform over a long weekend.

    The site collected user-generated cellphone reports of riots, stranded refugees, rapes and deaths and plotted them on a map, using the locations given by informants. It collected more testimony which is what ushahidi means in Swahili with greater rapidity than any reporter or election monitor.

    When the Haitian earthquake struck, Ushahidi went again into action. An emergency texting number was advertised via radio. Ushahidi received thousands of messages reporting trapped victims. They were translated by a diffuse army of Haitian-Americans in the United States and plotted on a crisis map. From a situation room at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, outside Boston, Ushahidi volunteers instant-messaged with the United States Coast Guard in Haiti, telling them where to search. When the Chilean earthquake struck, Ushahidi deployed again.

    A lot of things could go wrong with this model. People could lie, get the address wrong, exaggerate their situation. But as data collects, crisis maps can reveal underlying patterns of reality: How many miles inland did the hurricane kill? Are the rapes broadly dispersed or concentrated near military barracks?

    Ushahidi suggests a new paradigm in humanitarian work. The old paradigm was one-to-many: foreign journalists and aid workers jet in, report on a calamity and dispense aid with whatever data they have. The new paradigm is many-to-many-to-many: victims supply on-the-ground data; a self-organizing mob of global volunteers translates text messages and helps to orchestrate relief; journalists and aid workers use the data to target the response.

    Ushahidi also represents a new frontier of innovation. Silicon Valley has been the reigning paradigm of innovation, with its universities, financiers, mentors, immigrants and robust patents. Ushahidi comes from another world, in which entrepreneurship is born of hardship and innovators focus on doing more with less, rather than on selling you new and improved stuff.

    Because Ushahidi originated in crisis, no one tried to patent and monopolize it. Because Kenya is poor, with computers out of reach for many, Ushahidi made its system work on cellphones. Because Ushahidi had no venture-capital backing, it used open-source software and was thus free to let others remix its tool for new projects.

    Ushahidi remixes have been used in India to monitor elections; in Africa to report medicine shortages; in the Middle East to collect reports of wartime violence; and in Washington, D.C., where The Washington Post partnered to build a site to map road blockages and the location of available snowplows and blowers.

    Think about that. The capital of the sole superpower is deluged with snow, and to whom does its local newspaper turn to help dig out? Kenya.

    With every new application, Ushahidi is quietly transforming the notion of bearing witness in tragedy. For a very long time, this was done first by journalists in real time, next by victim/writers like Anne Frank and, finally, by historians. But in this instantaneous age, this kind of testimony confronts a more immediate kind: one of aggregate, average, good-enough truths.

    Were moving beyond the idea that information is completely true or completely false, said Patrick Meier, a student at Fletcher who directs Ushahidis crisis-mapping operation.

    So what will it mean to bear witness in the future? They say that history is written by the victors. But now, before the victors win, there is a chance to scream out with a text message that will not vanish. What would we know about what passed between Turks and Armenians, between Germans and Jews, if every one of them had had the chance, before the darkness, to declare for all time: I was here, and this is what happened to me?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/we...idharadas.html


    I've actually played with this website, it is pretty interesting. It is a useful site for the media and some international development associations. What is amazing to me is no one thought of doing it before.

    Have any of the Latin American posters heard about this? Do you think it had any use for the Chilean Earthquake..?

  2. # ADS
    Advertisement bot
    Join Date
    2013-03-24
    Location
    ForumBiodiversity.com
    Posts
    All threads
       
     

  3. #2
    QBQ Banned
    Molecular Biologist pinguin's Avatar
    Last Online
    2014-05-10 @ 20:45
    Join Date
    2009-12-21
    Posts
    7,252
    Location
    Chile
    Gender
    Ethnicity
    Chilean
    Phenotype
    Saddam Husseinic
    Politics
    Humanistic
    Religion
    Free market genetics
    Chile Chile Mapuche Spain traditional Amazigh Hispanidad

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JackKnightstick View Post
    ...
    I've actually played with this website, it is pretty interesting. It is a useful site for the media and some international development associations. What is amazing to me is no one thought of doing it before.

    Have any of the Latin American posters heard about this? Do you think it had any use for the Chilean Earthquake..?
    Actually, the Internet and networks like Twitter helped many people to contact family and friends.

    After the earthquake communication networks collapsed, particularly cell phone networks. That was a weakness that has already been fixed, but that shouldn't repeat.
    We need to rethink our satellite communications and to make our networks earthquake tollerant.

    With respect to the pictures and movies of the quake, many of them were captured by amateurs and loaded into the web even before the news agencies were aware.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
<