By Nina Mulamba
Ushahidi, the Kenyan-born tech company that ignited the tech revolution in Africa has released a total re-imagination of its flagship service today; empowering anyone to gather reports from anywhere, anytime. Having taken seven years to put crowdsourcing on the map, Ushahidi is on the verge of changing the way information flows again.
Since 2008, Ushahidi has deployed 90,000 reporters in 159 countries providing coverage of issues ranging from violence in Syria to disaster relief efforts following the earthquake in Nepal in real time.
“Over the past seven years, we have been learning and innovating. We have released two versions of Ushahidi; we built SMS Sync, built two versions of Crowd map, built Swift River, and built Roll Call. We nurture innovation through programmes like ‘Making All Voices Count’ and Resilience Network Initiative. This success has served to tell us one thing: we are only at the beginning of this journey. There is still a lot of work to be done. We need to stay curious, always innovating, always questioning,” Ushahidi Deputy Executive Director Daudi Were said.
Ushahidi deployers’ experience with the crowdsourcing service spawned four critical advancements that the company integrated into its release today, giving deployers unrivaled control over the data they collect and the stories they tell.
Collect meaningful data
Deployers need to gather information from a range of sources and services such as Twitter and use a wide range of devices. Ushahidi, in recognition of this fact, now provides built-in support for gathering data from social media services, RSS, and remote devices.
Get the real-time pulse
Ushahidi also launched a new ‘Activity’ view, where deployers can see notifications regarding new posts, revisions, and users. This comes after deployers told Ushahidi that seeing a collection of submitted reports wasn’t enough therefore they needed a living timeline to show them what’s happening within their area of deployment at any given moment.
Respond to issues
Ushahidi re-imagined its service to help people highlight what matters to them with a new feature called “Steps.” The feature is baked into Ushahidi’s improved “Post Types,” which allow deployers to customize the structure of the data that they’re gathering. That structure includes a series of steps so that teams can triage tasks, like translating or verifying a post. These breakthroughs make it simple for teams to control how information flows through their deployment stations and respond quickly to developing situations.
Tell your story
Maps are the bedrock of Ushahidi. They’re a compelling way to explore information. But deployers also use Ushahidi today to work with data that begs to be viewed in graphs. So today’s release includes two new ways to view a deployment’s data: Bar Chart and Timeline. Along with Map and List views, coupled with powerful filters, Ushahidi gives teams the tools necessary to make smart decisions as an event unfolds.
Source (Ushahidi Press Release)