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Mesh 2012
May 23, 2012 Toronto Canada
Heather Leson

Discussion focused on maps for change with a number of Canadian examples.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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  • What is it - Ushahidi is a global free open source software provider. We create tools for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. \n\nHistory of Ushahidi - asks what do you see, what do you hear? Aggregates online and offline data - anyone can deploy. And, they have. Today I will give you some global and Canadian examples of mapping for change. \n
  • How has it been used? The core uses are election monitoring, crisis/emergency response and civil society. Deployers have been individuals and groups. including academics to GIS pros to activists to environmentalists, health science (doctors), software developers, journalists, NGOs and more. Examples:\nhttps://syriatracker.crowdmap.com/, haiti.ushahidi.com (offline),http://www.energyshortage.org/, sinsai.info. http://www.ourrio20.com/. http://designweeknyc.org/, http://www.liberia2011.ushahidi.com/\n
  • What are the parts?\nUse all the communication channels that are familiar to the community. Is SMS possible? Is radio outreach better? Will there be internet connectivity? What is your plan if there is not? This deployment made sure that all the NGOs were trained and that the local community was involved. It is election storytelling. argentinavota.org\n
  • How to report: http://www.cic.mx/tehuan/ CIC built a network of private, public and community based organizations to tell the city story. But, they went a step further. Collecting reports needs actions. So citizens were given a ticket by their city and a text message when Items were resolved. What was the success? A prototype to prove that with collaboration you can get things fixed and engage citizens. The Citivox team continues to build on their mission. The 5 steps are: name it, description, categorize it, locate it, source it and id yourself.\n
  • \nHow to build a community of practice- \nWhat is a digital volunteer?  standbytaskforce.com = 750 volunteers around the world. They can do it 24 hours, in shifts, skilled and coordinated. They learn from each event.  \n\nThis is Melissa Elliot, a Canadian Mapper. She is part of the core team of the Standby Task Force and leads the Reports Team. The group has built a field of out volunteering. They have open source documentation on how to be a crowdsourced mapping project. When they mapped in Libya, they were human sensors sifting through the barrage of information. They were asked to do this map by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Melissa is here to answer your questions about verfiication and some of the methods that her team has build. Suffice to say that each report is checked, cross-curated at least 3 times. Thanks to the MESH team for allowing her participation in today’s event.\n\n
  • What can kids do? \n\nWhat if a map is not an information tool but a teaching change tool? This is the 2012 AP Economics Class at Lowell High School in San Francisco, taught by Kristin B. Lubenow. They mapped the Cost of Chicken. Apparently, this is a base line measurement for food costs around the world. They learned that kids don’t know where their food comes from. The kids in India asked for category to map the cost of candy, because candy is very expensive in India. What else can we learn about food production and sustainability by collaborating with maps. www.costofchicken.crowdmap.com\n\n\n
  • What if a map can tell us about how we feel about something? Sentiment mapping dissolves borders. It can connect us and give voice to more people.\n\nCan it connect us to stories about local issues? The potential of partnerships and mobile can collaborate to tell the story: Al Jazeera, Ushahidi, diaspora, local communities, Crowdflower and Souktel. More than 4,000 text messages were received within just a few days. Of these, over 1,000 were translated from Somali into English by about 80 translators. The resulting map of Somali voices received over 25,000 page views. The message sent was “Al Jazeera wants to know: how has the conflict of the last few months affected your life? Please include the name of your hometown in your response. Thank you! “I lost everything: the whole older generation of my family is wiped out, 100%. No grandmother, no grandfather, no one of the last generation. Many other families were killed by crossfire and artillery shells; they were always innocent bystanders, they got caught in the conflict while they didn't have any stake in it.”\n\n
  • How can we connect open data to maps? Dale Zak and his team have created the soon to be launched U of S Health Facility Map!\n\nThe project is a partnership between Whitespace and BongoHive, developing custom Ushahidi theme for the U of S College of Medicine to map health facilities in the province.\nThe reporting page has been disabled, since we populate map with an initial data set. Commenting is enabled though, allowing staff and students of the College to ask questions about facilities.There will also be additional KML layers showing the boundaries of health regions in the province. Checkins is enabled, which means that College of Medicine staff and students can 'checkin'! \n\nSo it will show the location of students on placement and staff at health facilities.\n\n\n\n\n\n
  • What if we started to use the web in an aggregated view? What would this do for protest and engagement? What does the future look like if people have phones and are submitting real time data? Well Occupy did a test on May 2012 and added videos, photos. They have the most integrated media campaign. They are teaching others how to use all the tools together to get closer to their version of the story. \n\nmap.occupy.net\n
  • How can we get activated? Brad Anthony is a Vancouverite has build a Global Animal Welfare map. This is just one of his projects using the map as a community connector to his other outreach programs. He is building a program of global citizen journalism for animals, ecology and conservation using every tool possible http://www.labs.globalanimalwelfare.org/ This is just one stage of his plans. \n\n
  • Why Hackathons? We need our best and brightest globally and locally to solve real world wicked problems. As a Random Hacks of Kindness citizen, I’ve had the awesome pleasure to meet amazing people who want to change the world using all their skills. Kaleem Khan, attending MESH, provides UX and presentation training at RHOK Toronto. Please ask him questions about his experiences. We need a social incubation hackathon model for our country. Those of us in the trenches have been getting some support. but Water voices is a Canadian success story that uses offline and online strategies. An Ushahidi map, sms and programatic change with communities. \n\nAs of January 31, 2011 there were 131 First Nation communities under some type of drinking water advisory, and that just scratches the surface.\nTo address these advisories, and other water and sanitation-related issues in First Nation communities, we have developed the Water Voices project.  The mission of Water Voices is to drive innovative low-cost solutions to improve quality of life.  The project is composed of three inter-related components that work together to engage, promote, and improve First Nation access to water and sanitation. The innovative use of technology by Water Voices addresses a global need to enhance geo-spatial access to water data. The project has three big components - 1. community engagement, 2. comprehensive db of existing open data 3. youth campaign\n\nPhoto from Rhok Montreal: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71372939@N05/6453851443/in/photostream/lightbox/\n \n
  • This calls for vision. I have a few suggestions:\n\n1. map everything and often, not just emergencies (thanks OpenStreetMap for always promoting this concept to teach all of us)\n2. The individuals and groups that used to live on grant paper or in the comments are now giving voice to their own issues and topics. \n3. Ushahidi sees a rise of projects that don’t fit the model. They are not traditional community based organizations, NGOs, Govts or media. They are a hybrid of people who create at hackathons or people who are simply passionate Internet users. \n4. In Canada there is a the beginnings of this amazing ecosystem growing. We need a Sunlight Foundation that encourages and supports hacking for social good. There is this huge online community that just needs to be engaged. The ask is in trying to eek it out. \n\nAerial Mapping by Public Lab. Union Square, NYC. April 24, 2012. http://publiclaboratory.org/home\n
  • Testimony

    1. 1. Testimony = give voice Heather Leson MESH 2012
    2. 2. [components]
    3. 3. [how to report in 5 steps]
    4. 4. [Digital volunteers:Standby Task Force]
    5. 5. [Teaching moment]photo by Olga Werby
    6. 6. [Media + Volunteers + Diaspora]
    7. 7. [Data moment]
    8. 8. [Maps =change]
    9. 9. [Activism]
    10. 10. From Random Hacks of Kindness to socialentrepreneur [hackathons = change] rhokto.ca
    11. 11. thank you@heatherleson