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Crisis Mapping and the Middle
East: revolutionizing the
technology

Anahi Ayala Iacucci
Innovation Media Advisor
anahi@crisismappers.net
Crisis Mapping
Crisis Mapping can be described as combining the
following 3 components: information collection,
visualization and analysis. All of these elements are
within the context of a dynamic, interactive map. So
typically people use the following taxonomy:
1. Crisis Map Sourcing
2. Crisis Map Visualization
3. Crisis Map Analysis
: CROWDSOURCING, MAPPING, AND
CROWDFEEDING TOOL

Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, began as a one-off
deployment for mapping reports of election violence after the
December 2007 Kenyan elections. Ushahidi is a crowdsourcing
mapping system that people to report into the platform by web
submission, SMS, Twitter or e-mail. The Ushahidi platform is right
now being used in more than 30 countries and 60 projects, from
electoral monitoring in Burundi to violence in Congo to Early
Warning system in the Rift Valley.
WHAT IS USHAHIDI?
Platform
Methodology
WHAT IS USHAHIDI?

Platform
Methodology
Case studies:
• Egypt: “The Bee Project”

• Sudan: “The Jan30 Crowdmap”
• 2,700 reports
• 211 pictures
• 323 videos
• 91.3% ✓
• 56,928 hits
Editorial Board
Cairo

Mansoura

Said

Assuit

Alexandria

Regional Coordinator
Verification Team

Mapping Team

Electoral Monitors

Journalists

NGOs

Crowd
SECURITY
• Lebanon Team
• US support (SIPA New Media Task Force
Team, VTC)
• Security protocols with different options
• Phone check in case of arrest
• Use of Skype for internal communication (PSW)
• Last minute plan to overcome Egyptian law on
SMS
• Multiple copies of the platform
• Separate Domains
• Keeping Constant contacts with the National
Security
HOW DO WE EVALUATE
THIS PROJECT?
GOAL 1: TO HELP EGYPTIAN CITIZENS AND
INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS LEARN MORE ABOUT THE
ELECTORAL PROCESS

• Publication of the
electoral laws in Egypt
• Publication of the
Egyptian constitution
with amendments
• Publication of
applicable human rights
conventions
• Publication of up to
date news on the
electoral process and
electoral campaign
• 40,000 visited the
website
GOAL 2: TO HIGHLIGHT AND SEEK REDRESS OF
VIOLATIONS OF ELECTORAL LAWS

• There are 1500 case of electoral
violations in front of Egyptian courts…
…but we don’t know if those violation
complains are related to the use of
this platform, or if the presence of the
platform has (or will be) in any of
those cases
GOAL 3: RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT CITIZEN RIGHTS
AND THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTICIPATION IN THE
ELECTORAL PROCESS
• Online Network where on going discussions were happening:
Web Site (media monitoring and electoral education)
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter Account
Blogs (two: one in English and one in Arabic)
• Media Coverage
5 Programs on BBC & BBC Arabic Channels.
1 Egyptian Channel (10 O'clock Program)
Articles and features in more than 10 different languages
More than 100 Press releases (many language) (Local &
International) (Printed & Online)
GOAL 4: TO PROVIDE EGYPTIAN CITIZENS WITH
ACCURATE INFORMATION AND
DOCUMENTATION OF ELECTION-RELATED
VIOLATIONS

• 2700 reports
• 44,000 visits from Egypt
• 90% of reports were verified
GOAL 5: TO EMPOWER LOCAL PARTNERS TO
ADVOCATE FOR CLOSER ADHERENCE TO
ELECTORAL LAWS AND FAIR PRACTICES IN THE
CAMPAIGN AND ELECTION PERIOD

U-Shahidi had an impact on
the discussion in local and
international media about
the elections.
Sudan: January 30th, 2011
Transparency and security
Social Media ..or dangerous media?
Outcome:
• The platform was closed after 2 weeks
• All of the activists in Sudan ended up closing
their FB pages and disconnecting from
Internet for some time
• Several people were
arrested, tortured, intimidated or
disappeared
Problems
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Not enough organization on the ground
Protesters were very much predictable to the NCP
members
No previous knowledge on the ground of digital and
social media
Very skilled tech savvy repressive regime
No previous experience in this kind of operation
from people on the ground
What is next?
People will use new
technologies no matter
what!
(and even if they do not
really know how..)
Technology is not bad..
people are!
The more people have access
to technology and the more
technology it is easy to
use, the more we need to be
there to teach, share, inform
and build local capacity.
What do people not necessarily
know?
1. Data Protection
2. Security
3. Do Not Harm
4. Privacy
Are we in front of the rise of
new rights?
•
•
•
•
•

Right to internet?
Can the internet harm?
What is privacy on Facebook and Twitter?
Can you remotely violate a national law?
Intelligence vs privacy
So, what to do?
1. Share lessons learned
2. Create new protocols, new standards
3. Talk about failures and risks
4. Make sure people do know what they do
(easier to say than to do)
5. Get the broader community involved
6. Let people understand that if there is no
preparation on the ground technology can only
make it worst
Thank you!

Anahi Ayala Iacucci
Innovation Media Advisor
anahi@crisismappers.net

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Crisis Mapping and the Middle East: revolutionizing the technology

  • 1. Crisis Mapping and the Middle East: revolutionizing the technology Anahi Ayala Iacucci Innovation Media Advisor anahi@crisismappers.net
  • 2. Crisis Mapping Crisis Mapping can be described as combining the following 3 components: information collection, visualization and analysis. All of these elements are within the context of a dynamic, interactive map. So typically people use the following taxonomy: 1. Crisis Map Sourcing 2. Crisis Map Visualization 3. Crisis Map Analysis
  • 3. : CROWDSOURCING, MAPPING, AND CROWDFEEDING TOOL Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, began as a one-off deployment for mapping reports of election violence after the December 2007 Kenyan elections. Ushahidi is a crowdsourcing mapping system that people to report into the platform by web submission, SMS, Twitter or e-mail. The Ushahidi platform is right now being used in more than 30 countries and 60 projects, from electoral monitoring in Burundi to violence in Congo to Early Warning system in the Rift Valley.
  • 6. Case studies: • Egypt: “The Bee Project” • Sudan: “The Jan30 Crowdmap”
  • 7.
  • 8. • 2,700 reports • 211 pictures • 323 videos • 91.3% ✓ • 56,928 hits
  • 9. Editorial Board Cairo Mansoura Said Assuit Alexandria Regional Coordinator Verification Team Mapping Team Electoral Monitors Journalists NGOs Crowd
  • 10. SECURITY • Lebanon Team • US support (SIPA New Media Task Force Team, VTC) • Security protocols with different options • Phone check in case of arrest • Use of Skype for internal communication (PSW) • Last minute plan to overcome Egyptian law on SMS • Multiple copies of the platform • Separate Domains • Keeping Constant contacts with the National Security
  • 11. HOW DO WE EVALUATE THIS PROJECT?
  • 12. GOAL 1: TO HELP EGYPTIAN CITIZENS AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ELECTORAL PROCESS • Publication of the electoral laws in Egypt • Publication of the Egyptian constitution with amendments • Publication of applicable human rights conventions • Publication of up to date news on the electoral process and electoral campaign • 40,000 visited the website
  • 13. GOAL 2: TO HIGHLIGHT AND SEEK REDRESS OF VIOLATIONS OF ELECTORAL LAWS • There are 1500 case of electoral violations in front of Egyptian courts… …but we don’t know if those violation complains are related to the use of this platform, or if the presence of the platform has (or will be) in any of those cases
  • 14. GOAL 3: RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT CITIZEN RIGHTS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTICIPATION IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS • Online Network where on going discussions were happening: Web Site (media monitoring and electoral education) Facebook Fan Page Twitter Account Blogs (two: one in English and one in Arabic) • Media Coverage 5 Programs on BBC & BBC Arabic Channels. 1 Egyptian Channel (10 O'clock Program) Articles and features in more than 10 different languages More than 100 Press releases (many language) (Local & International) (Printed & Online)
  • 15. GOAL 4: TO PROVIDE EGYPTIAN CITIZENS WITH ACCURATE INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION OF ELECTION-RELATED VIOLATIONS • 2700 reports • 44,000 visits from Egypt • 90% of reports were verified
  • 16. GOAL 5: TO EMPOWER LOCAL PARTNERS TO ADVOCATE FOR CLOSER ADHERENCE TO ELECTORAL LAWS AND FAIR PRACTICES IN THE CAMPAIGN AND ELECTION PERIOD U-Shahidi had an impact on the discussion in local and international media about the elections.
  • 18.
  • 20. Social Media ..or dangerous media?
  • 21. Outcome: • The platform was closed after 2 weeks • All of the activists in Sudan ended up closing their FB pages and disconnecting from Internet for some time • Several people were arrested, tortured, intimidated or disappeared
  • 22. Problems 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Not enough organization on the ground Protesters were very much predictable to the NCP members No previous knowledge on the ground of digital and social media Very skilled tech savvy repressive regime No previous experience in this kind of operation from people on the ground
  • 24. People will use new technologies no matter what! (and even if they do not really know how..)
  • 25. Technology is not bad.. people are!
  • 26. The more people have access to technology and the more technology it is easy to use, the more we need to be there to teach, share, inform and build local capacity.
  • 27. What do people not necessarily know? 1. Data Protection 2. Security 3. Do Not Harm 4. Privacy
  • 28. Are we in front of the rise of new rights? • • • • • Right to internet? Can the internet harm? What is privacy on Facebook and Twitter? Can you remotely violate a national law? Intelligence vs privacy
  • 29. So, what to do? 1. Share lessons learned 2. Create new protocols, new standards 3. Talk about failures and risks 4. Make sure people do know what they do (easier to say than to do) 5. Get the broader community involved 6. Let people understand that if there is no preparation on the ground technology can only make it worst
  • 30. Thank you! Anahi Ayala Iacucci Innovation Media Advisor anahi@crisismappers.net

Editor's Notes

  1. Sherif