Ushahidi, Inc. is a non-profit software company That Develops free and open source software ( LGPL ) for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. Ushahidi ( Swahili for “testimony”, closely related to shahidi which means “witness”) created a website [2] in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential electionthat received eyewitness reports of violence reported by email and text Google Maps map. [3]

The organization 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 offers products that enable local observers to submit reports using their mobile phones or the internet, while simultaneously creating a temporal and geospatial archive of events. [4]



The Ushahidi platform is built on the Kohana web framework, a fork of the CodeIgniter framework. It includes support for Nexmo SMS and SMS SMS Gateway. Furthermore, the official Ushahidi-hosted websites use the commercial service. [5] Ushahidi provides the option of using OpenStreetMap maps in its user interface, but requires the Google Maps API for geocoding . Ushahidi is often set up using a local SMS gateway created by a local FrontlineSMS set-up.

Releases and codenames

  • 1.0 Mogadishu – 10 December 2009
  • 1.2 Haiti – ~ 22 January 2010
  • 2.0 Luanda – 22 November 2010
  • 2.1 Tunis – 9 August 2011
  • 2.2 Juba – 13 March 2012
  • 2.3 Juba – 24 April 2012


See also: Crowdmapping

Crowdmap is designed and built by the team behind Ushahidi, a platform that was originally built to crowdsource crisis information. As the platform evolved, so did its users. [6] Crowdmap now allows users to set up their own deployments of Ushahidi without having to install it on a web server. Since its release in 2010, prominent deployments of Crowdmap have documented the global Occupy movement and the London London anti-cuts protest . [7] [8]

On 31 December 2010, the Ushahidi team announced Crowdmap: Checkins, a geosocial add-on to Crowdmap that allows users to create a white-label alternative to sites like Foursquare and Gowalla . [9] [10] Rather than filling out submission forms online, checkins allow Crowdmap users to expedite data entry to their deployment, [11] Ushahidi describes the effort as “checkins with a purpose”. [12]

SwiftRiver (discontinued)

SwiftRiver was designed as a suite of intelligence and real-time data gathering products that complement Ushahidi’s mapping and visualization products. Often referred to as the SwiftRiver Initiative, the goal of the project was “to democratize access to the tools for making sense of information”. The project attracted a lot of interest from newsrooms. [13]

In December 2014, Ushahidi announced that it would stop development and support and reallocate the resources. [14]

SwiftRiver was a free and open-source platform that helped people make sense of a lot of information in a short amount of time. It was born out of the need to understand and act upon a wave of massive amounts of crisis which tends to overwhelm in the first 24 hours of a disaster. There has been a great deal of interest in Swift for other industries. The SwiftRiver platform offers applications which combine natural language / artificial intelligence process, data-mining for SMS and Twitter, and verification algorithms for different sources of information. Citation needed ]


Beginnings in Kenya

Ushahidi ( Swahili for “testimony” or “witness”) is a website created in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential election (see 2007-2008 Kenyan crisis ) That file Managed eyewitness deferrals of violence feels in by email and text-messages and Placed Them We have Google map . [3] It is also the name of the open source software developed for that site, which has been improved, released freely, and used for a number of similar projects around the globe.

The Kenyan site was developed and run by several bloggers and software developers. They include Erik Hersman , Juliana Rotich , Ory Okolloh , and David Kobia . [15] The site was initially proposed by Okolloh, developed cheaply, and put online within a few days. [15] [16] International media, government sources, NGOs, and Kenyan journalists and bloggers were used to verify eyewitness testimony. [15] [17] [18] The site was also used to facilitate donations from abroad. [18]

An analysis by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government found that Ushahidi was better overall at reporting acts of violence as they began. The data collected by Ushahidi was superior to that reported by the mainstream media in Kenya at the time. The service was also better at reporting non-fatal violence. [19]

On 23 December 2010, Ushahidi Co-founder and Executive Director Ory Okolloh announced that she was stepping down from her role to become Manager of Policy for Africa at Google . [20] [21]

Post-Kenya crisis uses

Soon after-initial ict use in Kenya, the Ushahidi software Was used to create a similar website to track anti-immigrant violence in South Africa , in May 2008. [18] [22] The software since HAS-been used to map violence in eastern Congo , Beginning in November 2008. [3] [23] Ushahidi is used in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia in June 2009 to track drug stores in Southeast African countries. [24] Finally, it was used to monitor elections in Mexico and India, among other projects. [25] It was also used by Al Jazeera to collect eyewitness reports during the 2008-09 Gaza War . [25] [26] [27]

The post election violence in Kenya was the subject of a Harvard Humanitarian Institute study and mentioned in a Berkman Center report. [28] [29] [30]



In 2010, due to the earthquake in Haiti , Patrick Meier lancé joined efforts entre Ushahidi, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, UN OCHA / Colombia and the International Network of Crisis Mappers (CM * Net) to start the Haiti implementation. A few hours later many humanitarian / tech workers joined this initiative. [31] [32] Nearly 40,000 independent reports were sent to the Ushahidi Haiti Project of which nearly 4,000 separate events were plotted. [33]


Only a month after the Haiti earthquake, the 2010 earthquake in Chile prompted Patrick Meier to launch Ushahidi-Chile within hours of the initial quake. [34] [35] The Chile site is co-managed with the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in the United States, supported by Chilean Americans .

Louisiana, US

On 20 April 2010 BP’s offshore Deepwater Horizon oil rig rigged killing eleven workers and precipitating the largest offshore oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. [36] On 3 May the Louisiana Bucket Brigade(LABB) publicly released the Oil Spill Crisis Map, the first application of the Ushahidi platform in a humanitarian response in the United States. Citation needed ]

In the years since the BP oil spill, the LABB continues to use the map (now the iWitness Pollution Map ) as a repository of eyewitness reports and photos documenting the impacts of petrochemical pollution on human health and the environment. Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, St. Rose, and Chalmette. Since 2010 LABB has collected over 14,000 [37] reports, making it the largest and longest-running deployment of an Ushahidi instance. Citation needed ]

Washington, DC

In the wake of winter storms , the Washington Post and the web development company PICnet used the software to create a site mapping blocked roads and other information. [38] [39]


Elena Rapisardi, together with Giovanni Lotto, launched the first Italian crowdmap Open Foreste Italiana in order to list and map information to prevent and manage forest fires; The meaning of this project has been reported on the Ushahidi blog. [40]

Though OpenForeste Did not completely Call accounting achieve His goals, it Showed importance for Two Reasons: (1) Unlike previous forums, the platform Was Utilized in lack of an acting crisis or emergency to collect, map, share and information spread in order to future marriage and Potential emergencies, thus joining the awareness of the possibilities of Web 2.0 and a different approach to natural risk prevention; [41] (2) it was to Italy the knowledge and potential of Ushahidi, crowdmapping and social use of crowdsourcing , which was then used in several instances, both private and public,


Ushahidi was used in Russia to set up a map of help for voluntary workers after the 2010 Russian wildfires . Citation needed ]



Using Ushahidi, the Christchurch Recovery Map website lancé Was less than 24 hours partner after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. The site maps of services such as food, water, toilets, fuel, ATM s, and medical care. Information was gathered via Twitter using the #eqnz hashtag, SMS messages, and email. The site was founded by a group of web professionals, and maintained by volunteers. Citation needed ]

Middle East

This software allowed pro-democracy demonstrators across the Middle East to organize and communicate around Them What Was Happening in early 2011. [42] On 2 March, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) requested que la Standby Volunteer Task Force Be activated for Libya. [43] The Task Force’s Tech Team set up a password protected Ushahidi platform at OCHA’s request. This allowed users to contribute information about ground conditions as they occurred. [44]


In July 2011, Giuseppe Calamita [45] had created the first crowdmap to monitor a WIMAX / LTE Internet Service Provider to answer the issues not due to the ISP (jammer, etc.) citation needed ]


India Citizen Reports has been using Ushahidi since 2011 to collect and disseminate reports in various categories like civic problems, crimes and corruption. uses Ushahidi to map 3G network quality and Wi-Fi hotspots. Citation needed ]


Australian Broadcasting Corporation used Ushahidi to map the Queensland floods in January. [46]

United States

The MightyMoRiver Project used Ushahidi’s hosted service Crowdmap to track the Missouri River floods of 2011 . Citation needed ]


Transparency Watch Project is using the Ushahidi platform to track corruption reported cases in the Republic of Macedonia. PrijaviKorupcija is joined project by Transparency International and the Center for International Relations Allowing citoyens to report cases of corruption via ONE by sending SMS from mobile Their phones, sending an email, using the web form, the #korupcijaMK hashtag on Twitter or by reporting via Phone call. Citation needed ]


Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia)

Al Jazeera Balkans deployed Ushahidi Crisis Mapping Platform on 5 February 2012 to track the snow / cold emergency in the Balkans . [47]



Ushahidi announced Ping in response to the attacks on Westgate Mall in Nairobi. [48] The software was used to map out all the blood drive centers in Nairobi and let users quickly identify places to donate, which were either required or not. Among the goals of this map was to help ensure that when the Kenyan population came out to donate blood, they would know what donation centers needed their blood type the most. Citation needed ]

Sexul Harassment Claims

The CEO of the company, Daudi Were, was sent on compulsory leave with damning sexual harassment allegations, with the board being accused of complancency and possible cover-up to save a fund raising round. [49] [50] [51] [52]

Following the allegations, Ushahidi co-founder Ory Okolloh , who left the board in 2010 has strongly condemned the laxity with which the board has dealt with the issue, saying:

“More clarity on steps that have been taken and the timelines should be shared and those found guilty by their action or inaction should resign.” [53]

The Ushahidi board has issued an unsigned statement regarding the issue. [54]


The MacArthur Award for Best Achievement. [55] The awards received by Ushahidi so far include the following: True

  • The MacArthur Award – 2013 [56]
  • Global Adaptation Index Prize – 2012 [57]
  • Funding of US $ 1.4 million from the Omidyar Network [58]

See also

  • Crisis mapping
  • Uchaguzi
  • Commons-based peer production
  • Cognitive Surplus


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  46. Jump up^ ABC’s crowdsourced flood-mapping
  47. Jump up^ [2]Snjezna oluja nad Balkanom
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  55. Jump up^ [3]Official blog from Ushahidi
  56. Jump up^ [4]The MacArthur Award
  57. Jump up^ [5]Global Adaptation Index Prize, May 2012
  58. Jump up^ [6]Funding fromOmidyar1.4m

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