Deployment(s) of the Week
This week, we recognise three outstanding projects as deployments of the week. Continue reading
This week, we recognise three outstanding projects as deployments of the week. Continue reading
This week, we recognise the efforts of the team at Volontaires internationaux en soutien aux opérations virtuelles (VISOV), who are crowdsourcing images of destruction and aid deployment in the wake of the Typhoon Yolanda in Philippines. This deployment, much like all other efforts being ran out there, will go a long way in helping to alleviate the suffering of the Filipino people.
This week, we recognise the efforts of the UNESCO team - appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world on World Teachers’ Day (October 5th, 2013).
Are you interested in using innovation to improve government performance and accountability? The first call for proposals for Making All Voices Count, a global initiative that supports innovation and harnessing technology for citizen engagement and government responsiveness, is now open. Register before 8th November, 2013!
Micromappers is now public and anyone can join in the efforts to help. The team at QCRI launched an early test of the platform as a result of the 7.7 magnitude earthquake, which killed several people and injured hundreds more in south-western Pakistan.
Read more about the launch on iRevolution.net, and results of the Micromappers response to the Pakistan earthquake.
We’re back after the long summer break. Join us for the next community developer call on Monday October, 14th, 2013. You’ll get to hear all about the new Crowdmap API as well as progress on development of Ushahidi v3 and more fun stuff. This month’s call will be in Europe and Africa friendly timezones.
This year’s CrisisMappers conference is proudly co-hosted by UN-Habitat & Spatial Collective; Co-organized by USAID & ESRI and co-sponsored by Humanity United, Google, QCRI, ICT4Peace, USIP, Azavea, iHub and Ushahidi.
Folks are encouraged to submit an Ignite Talk proposal and/or Self-Organized Session topic by October 18th at the latest. Both the Ignite Talks and Self-Organized Sessions are absolutely integral to the conference and an excellent way for you to share your work and ideas with the broader community.
Here’s more information on how to go about submitting your ideas for presentation at ICCM
We’re all looking forward to seeing you in Nairobi!
You probably read about us shipping products this year. We’ve given you lots of sneak peeks into the work the Ushahidi v3 team has been doing these last few months, and are happy to announce that we will be having a v3 developer release in the coming weeks, towards the end of October.
Have you heard about the awesome app our friends at Praekelt built? Read more about Ushahidi via USSD here. If you think this app would be beneficial to you when using Ushahidi in your country, and would be interested in making use of this service, feel free to jump into this github repository, and get in touch with the good folks at Praekelt foundation.
Happy Weekend Folks!
The mobile phone has been at the core of Ushahidi’s strategy when building tools for citizen engagement. Its ubiquitous nature makes it the easiest tool to use and ensure that a vast majority of citizens can actively participate. We’ve seen this to be the case in many past Ushahidi deployments, such as Uchaguzi( deployment to monitor the 2013 kenyan general elections). Most of the reports that came into the platform during that time were largely from mobile phones.
USSD is something that isn’t foreign to mobile phone users in Africa. Its a service that is interacted with, probably, on a daily basis. In Kenya, we use it to reload prepaid phones with airtime, or even subscribe for data bundles. USSD is largely used for menu-based information services, prepaid callback services and mobile-money services.
USSD, which stands for Unstructured Supplementary Services Data, is a protocol that allows for the transmission of information via a GSM network.
Users enter a USSD string and press call to send the message. A typical USSD message starts with a * followed by digits which indicate an action to be performed or are parameters. Each group of numbers is separated by a *, and the message is terminated with a #. For example, in Kenya, to find out what your airtime balance is on Safaricom, a user will dial *144#. Unlike SMS, USSD messages create a real-time connection during a session, that remains open, allowing a two-way exchange of a sequence of data.
We recently came across a tool built by our good friends from the Praekelt foundation running on Vumi, an agnostic mobile messaging platform that serves both NGO and commercial clients in Africa. Simon de Haan, a chief Engineer at Praekelt, whipped up a quick application (on a two hour flight) that allows for users to send in reports to ushahidi deployments via USSD. All his code is available on his github repository, and has been open sourced.
This application sends reports via Ushahidi’s REST API, and works with Classic Crowdmap deployments. Here’s a short demo of how it works with Simon’s test deployment on Crowdmap.
From here, this report is directed into the deployment for report approval, and subsequently appears on the main map
At the moment, this service is running on one of Praekelt’s shortcodes on Airtel, one of Kenya’s telephone service providers.
Getting clean data from SMS has been a huge challenge when processing information coming into ushahidi deployments. Admins have to manually extract report locations and descriptions from SMSes received (assuming this information is provided). The information processing workflow for uchaguzi was structured in a manner to help mitigate some of the challenges mentioned above.
Here’s a look into the workflow of the team managing incoming SMSes for Uchaguzi. Nonetheless, we still had to shift over lots of volunteers to manage the flood of SMSes that were coming in, and sifting through messages that were relevant and those that were not was still a big problem.
This USSD app could go a long way in reducing the amount of time it takes to process reports that come in via SMS, through the simple structure it provides.
Vumi connectivity is available in the following countries:-
For more information, visit the Vumi Connectivity map.
Vumi has a per account fee of $50. USSD campaigns in South Africa can use Vumi’s codes and cost $.007/session. USSD campaigns in Zambia can use Vumi’s numbers and cost $.026/session and $50/month
For campaigns in the countries listed on Vumi’s connectivity map, other than South Africa and Zambia (the countries on the map listed as ‘by request) – there’s a cost to set up a clients code on Vumi and a storage fee of $.01/message.
For campaigns in countries NOT listed in Vumi’s connectivity map there will be an integration and code setup fee as well as a storage cost of $.01/message.
If you think this app would be beneficial to you when using Ushahidi in your country, and would be interested in making use of this service, feel free to jump into this github repository, and get in touch with the good folks at Praekelt foundation.
We applaud the efforts of Foodsync.org, utilizing the power of technology to reduce waste and connect surplus food to the hungry by mapping out food donations from participating vendors and delivery of these donations to organizations in the US.
The recent terrorist attacks in Nairobi shook all of us to the core. Thankfuly, all members of the Ushahidi Kenya team and their families are safe. The full team met on Monday, to figure out the best way we could use our tools and skills to help out in emergencies, and came up with two ideas.
We set up a crowdmap deployment to map out all locations of blood drive centers, in an effort to match these areas with those willing to help, dubbed Blood Donation Kenya.
We also built “Ping” , which is basically a binary, multichannel check-in tool for groups.It’s an easy way for small groups, families and companies to quickly check in with each other. We quickly wireframed out a list of needs, some design basics, and an architecture plan, and got a rough product up and running. The code is on available on Github.
If you’d like to help out with either one of these projects, get in touch with us.
Whenever news breaks out an emergency, government agencies and emergency responders jump into action on the ground and on Twitter, delivering critical and timely information and engaging with citizens. It becomes a source of important, and reliable information. This was the case in the recent Nairobi attacks.It was through twitter that we knew to stay away from the danger zone, of where to donate blood, of where to volunteer, and received updates on the rescue operations from the Kenyan government.
Twitter Alerts, a new feature that helping users get important and accurate information from credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communications services aren’t accessible, was just launched.
One of our community members, Justine Mackinnon, set up a crowdmap to collect messages of support and hope for Kenyans from across the globe.
“Many within our tight network of crisismappers and humanitarians around the world were rocked by the cowardly terrorism in Nairobi. It’s difficult to feel so powerless when people you know are hurting. In the spirit of fellowship and solidarity, this crowdmap has been created to share comments of support from around the world to the people of Kenya. Please feel free to add any thoughts you’d like to share. #SFK also works through Twitter ”
How Useful is a Tweet ?
*iHub Research is hosting a cocktail event to discuss “How Useful is a Tweet?: 3Vs Crowdsourcing Framework.”
Africa Hack Trip @iHub
The Africa Hack Trip team is visiting us in Nairobi, and are holding a barcamp and hackathon on the 26th and 27th of September.
— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican) September 26, 2013
Are you a pro at upgrading Ushahidi deployments? Would you be willing to help our good friends from Voice of Kibera(running v2.0b3) upgrade their deployment? Drop me a line: angela AT ushahidi DOT com
The team at SkyTruth just deployed Ushahidi for tracking damages to fracking equipment during the colorado flooding at http://coflood.skytruth.org. As part of that project they also wanted to publish all report photos as a photo-stream on Flickr. So, they built this plugin to do just that. Feel free to take it for a spin and share feedback!
Happy Week, folks. Stay safe!