Open Source Help for Haiti

Shareable reader Bernice points us to this fascinating, Africa-based project: 

The earthquake in Haiti has rallied inspiring international support. But while the country’s damaged infrastructure has slowed the flow of aid to the thousands affected, a growing community of creators has been working to mobilize help in innovative ways -- and fast.

Ushahidi (which means “testimony” in Swahili) is a free and open source project that collects and visualizes information. Its website was initially developed to map reports of post-election violence in Kenya in early 2008; it’s since burgeoned into an organization and platform for anyone to use, particularly in times of crisis.

The project’s roots (and most of its programmers) are in Africa, but its volunteers are global; Ushahidi’s issue maps track everything from human trafficking survivors to crime incidence in Atlanta. The Haiti map is the most comprehensive so far, assisting relief workers by listing locations, down to the cross streets, of dire situations: individuals who need help, contaminated water, and incidents of looting.

The Haiti site draws information from everything from SMS to listservs to situation reports.
 Anyone in Haiti can submit a report via the website, email or text. Ushahidi also provides a full list of ways to help the relief effort.

Here's a video on Ushahidi:

What is Ushahidi? from Ushahidi on Vimeo.

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