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Winter project how ushahidi is and will change the face of crowdsourcing

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  • 1. WELINGKAR INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT SPECIALISATION PROJECT ON HOW ‘USHAHIDI’ CAN CHANGE THE FACE OF CROWDSOURCING, CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND INCIDENT REPORTING (“Study and Non-Profit Business Model Proposition”) BY NITIN GAOPANDE PGDM E-BIZ 2008 – 10 (MARKETING) ROLL NO 27 PROJECT FACULTY GUIDE PROF. DR. GITHA HEGGDE
  • 2. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping STUDENT DECLARATION I, Nitin Gaopande, student of PGDM E-Biz (2008-2010) Batch have completed project on the topic “How ‘Ushahidi’ Can Change The Face Of Crowdsourcing, Crisis Management And Incident Reporting” under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Githa Heggde, Dean, Marketing Department, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Bangalore Campus. This project has been submitted in partial fulfillment of PGDM E-Biz program. The said project report has not been submitted to any other University/Institution for the award of any other degree/diploma. Nitin Gaopande 2
  • 3. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping PROJECT COMPLETION CERTIFICATE This is to certify that project titled “How ‘USHAHIDI’ Can Change The Face Of Crowdsourcing, Crisis Management And Incident Reporting “is successfully done by Mr. Nitin Gaopande in partial fulfillment of his / her two years full time course ‘Post Graduation Diploma in Management’ recognized by AICTE through the Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, Electronic City, Bangalore. This project in general is done under my guidance. ___________________________ (Signature of Faculty Guide) Name: ______________________ Date: ______________________ 3
  • 4. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping ACKNOWLEDGMENT It is my immense pleasure that I place on record my deep sense of gratitude to almighty and to all who have contributed to the successful completion of my project work by sharing their valuable knowledge, views and by helping me on various occasions. I am grateful to Prof. Dr. Githa Heggde, for her valuable guidance and inputs throughout this project. I will be failing in my duty if do not express my deep sense of gratitude to my family and friends for the warmth, love, constant encouragement extended to me, so as to fulfill my dreams and ambitions. Nitin Gaopande 4
  • 5. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping Table of Contents 1  Executive Summary ............................................................................................7  2  Introduction .........................................................................................................7  3  History of Ushahidi .............................................................................................9  3.1  Development ..................................................................................................9  3.2  Technology ..................................................................................................10  3.3  How Ushahidi Works...................................................................................10  4  World Wide Implementations ..........................................................................12  4.1  UnitedForAfrica ...........................................................................................12  4.2  Democratic Republic of Congo ...................................................................13  4.3  The Crisis Map of Haiti ...............................................................................14  4.4  Vote Report India.........................................................................................15  4.5  Wild Life Tracker ........................................................................................18  5  Proposed Models ...............................................................................................19  5.1  Citizen Reporting @ 737678 (REPORT) ....................................................20  5.1.1  Concept........................................................................................................... 20  5.1.2  What is different with CR@737678 ............................................................... 21  5.2  Pin Pointed Advertising ...............................................................................23  5.2.1  Concept........................................................................................................... 23  5.2.2  How Pin Point Advertising works .................................................................. 23  6  How Do We Know It Works ............................................................................24  6.1  Case Study ...................................................................................................24  6.2  Findings .......................................................................................................25  7  Challenges ..........................................................................................................27  8  References ..........................................................................................................28  5
  • 6. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping List of Figures Page S.No Figure Name No 1 Fig 3.1 Diagrammatic representation of Ushahidi Implemented Server 11 2 Fig 4.1 UnitedForAfrica 12 3 Fig 4.2 Tracking the Eastern Congo Conflict using Ushahidi 13 4 Fig 4.3 The Crisis Map of Haiti 14 5 Fig 4.4 Vote Report India 15 6 Fig 4.5 Reported Incidents 16 7 Fig 4.6 Dashboard in Ushahidi Implementation 16 8 Fig 4.7 Report Approval Dashboard 17 9 Fig 4.8 Wild Life Tracker 18 10 Fig 6.1 Incident Reporting for Kenyan Crisis Mapping Project - Graph 26 List of Tables Page S.No Table Name No 1 Table 5.1 Proposed Sightings/Incidences for reporting 21 2 Table 6.1 Incident Reporting for Kenyan Crisis Mapping Project 26 6
  • 7. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 1 Executive Summary This report aims to put across the various implementations of an innovative crowdsourcing software application platform called Ushahidi, and the benefits that have been realized out of it. Worldwide implementations of the platform for social causes are discussed. It further also looks at the Indian perspective and the implementation of the said platform in an Indian scenario. The effectiveness of the platform as a whole is discussed using a case study involving empirical data. At the end, the paper also put across two India specific implementation models (Non-profit and For-profit) utilizing Ushahidi platform and create value out of it for the crowd. Few of the challenges and limitations of Ushahidi are also discussed. The aim of this report is to pu 2 Introduction Perhaps the best way to generate awareness amongst people is not an FM radio or TV channel or to create a centralized real time database is not a limited set of people finding out information and then collating it. Perhaps the best way is to source it from the crowd itself. CrowdSourcing is not a buzz word but it is one of the most effective ways to generate intel from a huge population that has got it, but may not have the means to share it. And it is said that Necessity Is the Mother of Invention. This is quite true in case of an open source software platform called as USHAHIDI. Ushahidi is a Swahili word meaning “Testimony”. The software has evolved from a website with the same name that was developed in the aftermath of Kenyan Elections 2007. The website was a result of a necessity to report acts of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout. Over the last few years this has developed and grown into intelligent software to map 7
  • 8. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping citizen reporting on a huge scale. It is natural that Kenya, where m-Pesa was launched first to enable money transfer from mobile-to-mobile using mobile currency, would be the country to gift the world another innovation called Ushahidi. This research paper aims to put across various models that have been based upon the Ushahidi platform and have been successfully implemented to source various type of info from the crowd. The paper also aims to highlight the singular implementation of Ushahidi in India viz. www.votereport.in and aims to put across possible models that can be implemented. We also propose a model similar to ones implemented for Chile and DRC(Democratic Republic of Congo) in the domain of disaster and crisis management. 8
  • 9. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 3 History of Ushahidi 3.1 Development Ushahidi is a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Ushahidi's roots are in the collaboration of Kenyan citizen journalists during a time of crisis. The website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phone. This initial deployment of Ushahidi had 45,000 users in Kenya, and was the catalyst for us realizing there was a need for a platform based on it, which could be use by others around the world Ushahidi uses the concept of crowdsourcing for social activism and public accountability, serving as an initial model for what has been coined as 'activist mapping' - the combination of social activism, citizen journalism and geospatial information. Ushahidi provides a mechanism for local observers to submit reports using their mobile phones or the internet, while simultaneously creating a temporal and geospatial archive of events. In simple words the testimonies or reports by citizens are put up on a Google Map or any other geospatial archive of event (simply a map with a parameter) Ushahidi has grown into a non-profit organization whose Vision is To create a platform that any person or organization can use to set up their own way to collect and visualize information One of the most striking feature about Ushahidi is that it is completely in-house built technology. The site was initially developed and run by several bloggers and software developers, all current or former residents of Kenya: Erik Hersman, Juliana Rotich, Ory Okolloh and David Kobia 9
  • 10. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 3.2 Technology Ushahidi is built on the Kohana web framework, a fork of the CodeIgniter framework. It includes built-in support for Clickatell SMS gateways, and the official Ushahidi-hosted websites use the commercial service. Ushahidi provides the option of using OpenStreetMap maps in its user interface, but requires the Google Maps API for geocoding. Emerging Technologies that Ushahidi is currently trying to integrate are • Timeline and Map work • Frontline-SMS integration and extension • Geocoding Accuracy • Bayesian Modeling: for use in automatic classification (finding the right category) of reports • Sahana integration • Heatmapping: Depending upon the elevation view of the map, heatmapping (polygons) will be used instead of point data • News and Incident Clustering: figure out how to cluster both citizen reports and mainstream news reports. • Charts and Graphs: Beyond mapping and timelines, data should be able to be seen in charts and graphs • Authentication: Background credibility scores based on past information/reports sent in by individuals. Ability to manually set this in the admin panel. 3.3 How Ushahidi Works Ushahidi is a gift to the silicon valley1. Ushahidi enables you to send an anonymous message about an incident occurring at the location where you are. This can be sent using multiple input sources like SMS, Twitter, Email or a Web Form. This depends 1 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/weekinreview/14giridharadas.html 10
  • 11. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping upon the available input process for the particular implementation. Ushahidi.org in itself is not responsible for the implementation. Ushahidi may provide with Infrastructure and Hosting space, and independent NGO’s and software developers come together to create a specific implementation with a certain objective. Below is a simple block diagram of how Ushahidi implementation works. The “map interface” is an optional aspect which can be configured using the compatible API. Fig 3.1 Diagrammatic representation of Ushahidi Implemented Server There can either be a long number or a short number (4636 as in case of Haiti), that can be configured to be sent SMS to. Citizens can send SMS reports and incidences to this number. Specific codes can be configured in the system to simplify the type of incident to be reported. The general pattern to report the code is votereport #TOWN (or PIN-CODE) #CATEGORY DETAILS SOURCE 11
  • 12. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 4 World Wide Implementations 4.1 UnitedForAfrica The pioneer implementation of Ushahidi happened for South Africa, to report individual incidents of low to higher fatality rate. The citizens can send an sms to 31864 or 31972 (as shown in the figure below. As shown the filter can be done by categories. Real time incidences are recorded and mapped on to the particular location. Fig 4.1 UnitedForAfrica 12
  • 13. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 4.2 Democratic Republic of Congo Tracking the Eastern Congo Conflict using Ushahidi. This is similar to the pioneer project in South Africa. Fig 4.2 Tracking the Eastern Congo Conflict using Ushahidi 13
  • 14. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 4.3 The Crisis Map of Haiti The Crisis Map of Haiti represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date crisis map available to the humanitarian community. The information here is mapped in near real time and gathered from reports coming from inside Haiti via: SMS, Web, Email, Radio, Phone, Twitter, Facebook, Television, List-serves, Live streams, Situation Reports Volunteers at Ushahidi's Situation Room at the Fletcher School, in Washington DC, Geneva, London and Portland are mapping the majority of the reports submitted to Ushahidi in near real-time. The volunteers then identify GPS coordinates for the reports and geo-tag the reports on the Ushahidi map. Each report is first read at least once by Situation Room before being published on the map. This Ushahidi deployment represents a joint initiative with members of the International Network of Crisis Mappers (CM*Net). Fig 4.3 The Crisis Map of Haiti 14
  • 15. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 4.4 Vote Report India Vote Report India Vote Report India (votereport.in) is a collaborative citizen-driven election monitoring platform for the 2009 Indian general elections. Users contribute direct SMS, email, and web reports on violations of the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct2. The platform will then aggregate these direct reports with news reports, blog posts, photos, videos and tweets related to the elections from all relevant sources, in one place, on an interactive map. Vote Report India will not only increase transparency and accountability in the Indian election process, but also provide the most complete picture of public opinion in India during the elections. Fig 4.4 Vote Report India 2 eci.nic.in/eci_main/Model_Code_Conduct.pdf 15
  • 16. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping Reported Incidents are also shown on the website in the following format. The reports are updated real time and are constantly available to the public. Fig 4.5 Reported Incidents The dashboard to the administrators will look like this. The Ushahidi platform also supports language translation. So supposing the SMS is in local language the interface will translate it to English (desired language) to display on the website board. Fig 4.6 Dashboard in Ushahidi Implementation 16
  • 17. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping It is also possible to approve incoming reports source wise. Fig 4.7 Report Approval Dashboard At the same time, one of the most important feature is to reply back to the sender of the message which exactly is what a Crisis Management support system should do. 17
  • 18. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 4.5 Wild Life Tracker Ushahidi has also been used to implement a wildlife tracking project called the “Wild Life Tracker” by the NGO wildlifedirect.org. Fig 4.8 Wild Life Tracker The full list of Ushahidi implementations can be found on this link http://www.ushahidi.com/work 18
  • 19. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 5 Proposed Models Ushahidi is just not crowdsourcing aggregator software. It’s a revolution. It can be a global solution builder or supporter to global problems. Ushahidi platform can be collaborated with already up and running platforms to create a web of opportunity for social change as well business development. Ushahidi has been implemented in India only as one single project, as discussed in previous sections. Votereport as a pioneering success, with the project being endorsed by various communities as follows: • National Network for India (NNFI) is a non-profit organisation with a primary focus on electoral reforms and ridding Indian politics of criminals. • The Liberty Institute is an independent, non-profit think tank that leads “Empowering India,” an initiative that attempts to empower voters with information to promote transparency and accountability in politics. • Citizens for Justice and Peace is dedicated to the promotion of communal harmony, and promote values that will encourage the development of peace, justice and reconciliation in every sphere of society. • Women’s Political Forum is an enterprise aimed at identifying potential women leaders and developing a talent pool so that it can serve as a resource centre for future women politicians. India has its own set of problems to solve. They range from natural calamities to corruption, poverty to child labor, domestic violence to reducing number of tigers. The question to ponder is whether Ushahidi help in some of these problems. I would like to propose the following models, which are specific to problems in India and can be implemented either non-profit or for-profit. 19
  • 20. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 5.1 Citizen Reporting @ 737678 (REPORT) 5.1.1 Concept Citizen Reporting @ 737678 (which is REPORT typed on a T9 phone) aims to create citizen reporters from the huge population of India. The problems that this project aims to tap are ones which have always been creating tensions for Indians. These are very specific sightings/incidences which are not often reported because the platform where they should be reported are either not present or they are numerous and not integrated. For example to report illegal tree cutting incident, in the city of Bangalore, there is a support group called ESG (Environment Support Group). It is nicely explained how one needs to find out whether a tree being cut is illegal or not, and whether there has been a sampling planting done for the tree being cut. But the complaint has to be lodged at different locations, with different offices3. (as below) • District Forest Officer (Bangalore Urban Div) Office: Phone - 3343464 / Fax - 3344686 (Contact persons Sumana and Jagdish) • Range Forest Officer (Malleshwaram) - 3343543 (office) / 36766720 (Personal mobile of Mr Jeelani Pasha) • Range Forest Officer (Ulsoor) - 94480-82889 • Range Forest Officer (BTM Layout) - 94482-01406 • RFO Kaggalipura - Srinivas: 9448088811 • RFO Bangalore North Range (Peenya to Hessarghatta, Mekhri Circle to Vidhan Soudha) - Chinappa: 9845210780 • RFO Banashankari - Govindraj: 9845832690 This is what demotivates a citizen to report such a complaint. Similar demotivators exist when reporting incidents pertaining to other problems. 3 http://www.esgindia.org/campaigns/Tree%20felling/action.html 20
  • 21. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping Citizen Reporting @ 737678 would be an implementation of Ushahidi to report the following sightings or incidences. Sighting/Incidence #CODE Child Labor Sightings (CHLD) Illegal Tree Cutting (TREECUT) Pothole Sightings (POTHOLE) Garbage In Open (GRBG) Overflowing Sewers (SWER) Broken Water Pipes (BRPIPE) Contaminated Water (BADWATR) Absent Nurses/Doctors (NODOC) Domestic Violence Incidences (VIOL) ATM not working (ATMN) Table 5.1 Proposed Sightings/Incidences for reporting 5.1.2 What is different with CR@737678 The basic Ushahidi concept will eventually be fulfilled. What we achieve using CR@737678 is listed as follows: 1. Never before done spatial distribution of above mentioned problems. The spatial distribution for the problems mentioned above can help in the long run to know the correlation between occurring and location specific data. 2. The service being anonymous and pertaining to long running problems in India will attract huge number of users. 3. Collaborations with atleast 2 community service groups working on each of the above mentioned problems. The collaboration will be of the following type 21
  • 22. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 3.1. Direct notification sending to the authorities which are allocated to the specific area. This is due to the reason that it is not so easy to change the way the system has been built. Taking the same example of illegal tree cutting, it is not very easy to make sure a centralized reporting office for any such incident irrespective of the location. Hence CR@737678 will ensure that based on the location, found using the co-ordinates of origin, the notification will go to concerned authorities. 3.2. In case of child labor sighting, notification will be sent to 3.2.1. Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India (www.labour.nic.in) 3.2.2. UNICEF India - Child protection (www.unicef.org/india) 3.3. Pothole Sightings, Garbage In Open, Overflowing Sewers, Broken Water Pipes, Contaminated Water will be reported to Municipal Corporation for the location where the pothole sighting has been reported. 3.4. Absent Nurses/Doctors reporting will be notified to PHFI : Public Health Foundation of India (www.phfi.org) 3.5. Domestic Violence Incidences reports will be immediately notified to nearest police station superintendent. Every police superintendent will be required to have his mobile registered with CR@737678 3.6. Broken down ATM incidents will be notified to respective bank customer care. Code: #ATMNO #<bank name> Source 22
  • 23. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 5.2 Pin Pointed Advertising 5.2.1 Concept The concept of this kind of service is to create a for-profit business model by reversing the way Ushahidi works. A person utilizing this service will be able to know all the offers that are available to him in shops, stores, malls in the radius of 1 km around her. This is virtually a Location-Based Advertising model which may not be unique but is unique in the way it is implemented. By sending an SMS in the format “PPA #category” to a specific number 737772, the sender will be able to get information through sms about all the current offers related to the “category” The category can range from apparel, food, restaurants, exhibitions, beauty, clinic, hospitals, pubs, buffet, rockshow etc. 5.2.2 How Pin Point Advertising works 1. PPA will have advertising inputs from shops, stores and malls in the city. The offers will be entered into the implemented system directly by the owners exhibiting the offer, or will be entered indirectly. 2. Since PPA is based on the Ushahidi platform, real time snapshot of where the shoppers are currently present can be found out. 3. The advertisers would also be given liberty to have real time offers entered into the system through SMS medium. 23
  • 24. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 6 How Do We Know It Works 6.1 Case Study We see here that Ushahidi is an extremely potent solution for Crisis Mapping. HHI or Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is largely recognized as the principal founder of the Crisis Mapping field as it is know today. Launched in 2007, HHI's Program on Crisis Mapping and Early Warning (CM&EW) set out to connect an active community of Crisis Mappers and to formalize the field of Crisis Mapping. Between 2007 and 2009, HHI's Program documented best practices and lessons learned through the lens of new technologies and methodologies Ushahidi is a major partner with HHI and continues to collaborate with the initiative to help improve their crisis mapping platform. The major projects discussed and elaborated in section 4 above fall in the field of Crisis Mapping. Patrick Meier, PhD, Co-Director of Crisis Mapping Program, alongwith his subordinates conducted an empirical study to measure the effectiveness of these projects. Kenyan Elections was chosen as a case study to assess the role of citizen journalists in crisis environments as compared to the mainstream media. Event-data analysis was used to code reports of violent and peaceful events as documented by about a dozen citizen journalist bloggers between December 27, 2007 and January 27, 2008. Similarly for mainstream media, data ranging from print media (national newspapers) to radio and television program was analyzed. Ushahidi data was also included to carry out a three way comparison between mainstream news media, citizen journalism and a dedicated crowdsourcing platform. 24
  • 25. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 6.2 Findings The findings of the study were in the form of incident reporting for Mainstream media vs Citizen Journalists (CJ) and Ushahidi (U). The data is as follows MAINSTREAM  CITIZEN     DATE  NEWS  JOURNALIST  USHAHIDI TOTAL  1  Thursday, Dec 27, 2007  5 6  0 11 2  Friday, Dec 28, 2007  1 0  1 2 3  Saturday, Dec 29, 2007  12 29  3 44 4  Sunday, Dec 30, 2007  12 11  7 30 5  Monday, Dec 31, 2007  4 9  6 19 6  Tuesday, Jan 1, 2008  3 14  7 24 7  Wednesday, Jan 2, 2008  13 12  3 28 8  Thursday, Jan 3, 2008  12 27  4 43 9  Friday, Jan 4, 2008  36 20  6 62 10  Saturday, Jan 5, 2008  4 13  6 23 11  Sunday, Jan 6, 2008  0 1  0 1 12  Monday, Jan 7, 2008  9 3  1 13 13  Tuesday, Jan 8, 2008  8 6  0 14 14  Wednesday, Jan 9, 2008  6 3  4 13 15  Thursday, Jan 10, 2008  19 4  6 29 16  Friday, Jan 11, 2008  8 3  1 12 17  Saturday, Jan 12, 2008  2 4  4 10 18  Sunday, Jan 13, 2008  3 0  0 3 19  Monday, Jan 14, 2008  18 1  4 23 20  Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008  9 2  4 15 Wednesday, Jan 16,  21  2008  15 12  20 47 22  Thursday, Jan 17, 2008  12 4  17 33 23  Friday, Jan 18, 2008  27 1  12 40 24  Saturday, Jan 19, 2008  14 8  5 27 25  Sunday, Jan 20, 2008  3 3  6 12 26  Monday, Jan 21, 2008  11 2  1 14 27  Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008  12 2  3 17 Wednesday, Jan 23,  28  2008  26 0  3 29 29  Thursday, Jan 24, 2008  14 2  1 17 30  Friday, Jan 25, 2008  9 1  2 12 31  Saturday, Jan 26, 2008  10 3  1 14 32  Sunday, Jan 27, 2008  15 2  6 23 25
  • 26. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 33  Monday, Jan 28, 2008  0 0  3 3 34  Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008  0 0  7 7 Wednesday, Jan 30,  35  2008  0 0  4 4 36  Thursday, Jan 31, 2008  0 0  6 6 Table 6.1 Incident Reporting for Kenyan Crisis Mapping Project The above data can be visualized as follows Incident Reportings 150 100 50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1213 1415 1617 1819 2021 222324 2526 2728 2930 3132 3334 3536 DATE MAINSTREAM NEWS CITIZEN JOURNALIST USHAHIDI TOTAL Fig 6.1 Incident Reporting for Kenyan Crisis Mapping Project - Graph It is noticeable from the graph that during the peak of total reporting, the mainstream media is almost always lagging behind the citizen journalist and Ushahidi reporting. Major findings that were derived from this study were as under: 1. Mainstream media reported actual death count before citizen journalists; however, on many accounts, mainstream media did not report on incidents leading to actual deaths, i.e., early warning signs; 2. Citizen journalist reports and Ushahidi reports did not overlap geographically with mainstream media reports 3. Citizen journalists tended to report as soon as violence started, well before mainstream media 4. The number of comments on citizen journalist blogs increased during the 30- day period, or during particular periods of violence 26
  • 27. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 5. The comment section was also used as a medium for real-time updating 6. Many citizen journalist bloggers used real-time updates sent to them via SMS, primarily from rural areas 7. Citizen journalism reports declined after the launch of Ushahidi 8. Ushahidi reports document an important number of violent events not reported by the mainstream media and citizen journalists 9. Contrary to news media and citizen journalist reports, Ushahidi data always had specific location information 10. Ushahidi reports also covered a wider geographical area than both mainstream news and citizen journalist bloggers. 7 Challenges Ushahidi is an innovative crowdsourcing platform and the way it tries to collect information from the crowd is novel. However there are few obstacles and challenges in front of Ushahidi. Below are some of them. 1. Data validation and Accuracy: The reporting that Ushahidi gets can be subjected to the question that whether the report is an authentic one or not. Possibility of the report being one to pose as a rumor starting one cannot be neglected. 2. Reverse of Crowdsourcing is Crowdfeeding: Being freely available, the same platform can be utilized by anti-social groups to crowdfeed wrong and unrest causing information 3. Control: Even though an open innovation based ideology, it may not be very clear with whom does lie the control and responsibility. Misuse of information is one critical aspect that will need to be taken care of. 27
  • 28. Winter Project – Ushahidi, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping 8 References 1. "The Role of Mobiles in Disasters and Emergencies", December 2005, GSM Association 2. Meier, Patrick and Kate Brodock (2008). “Crisis Mapping Kenya’s Election Violence: Comparing Mainstream News, Citizen Journalism and Ushahidi.” (Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, HHI, Harvard University: Boston). 3. http://irevolution.wordpress.com/2008/10/23/mapping-kenyas-election- violence 4. http://www.pmforum.org/library/RegionalReports/2009/PDFs/may/INDIA- Rao.pdf 5. http://votereport.in 6. http://www.vdomck.org/2010/03/nytimes-on-why-crowdsourcing-with.html 7. http://www.ushahidi.com 8. http://wildlifetrackers.wildlifedirect.org 9. http://www.esgindia.org/campaigns/Tree%20felling/action.html 10. http://twitter.com/Ushahidi 28