Presentation on theme: "Mapping Crises* Marc Ellison Felicia Pacentrilli Heather Yundt *Downloadable from"— Presentation transcript:
Mapping Crises* Marc Ellison Felicia Pacentrilli Heather Yundt *Downloadable from
Introduction What is Ushahidi? Some misconceptions Components of a Ushahidi instance Case studies: elections, wars and disasters Other applications of Ushahidi Current developments Conclusion – a success or a work in progress?
What is Ushahidi? Originated from electoral violence in Kenya in 2008 Kept Kenyans current on crisis and provided assistance to relief workers Swahili for “witness” or “testimony” A crisis mapping tool and/or an early warning system Global citizen journalism: allows people around the world to tell their story during a disaster or emergency situation Free, easy to use, deployable worldwide
What is Ushahidi? Not the first of its kind o o ex.html ex.html o cida/cidaworldmap.aspx cida/cidaworldmap.aspx
What is Ushahidi? Jargon Explained 1 : “crowdsourcing” Anyone can contribute reports, photos and video via , SMS, tweets, or an online form Reports are posted in “near real-time” Jargon Explained 2 : “open source” application You can tailor the code to better suit your needs You can deploy it yourself to suit your community’s needs Over 4,000 downloads Jargon Explained 3 : “Crowdmap” Allows anyone to set up an Ushahidi site in 5 minutes – it’s as easy as opening a Gmail account or activating a Wordpress blog
Some misconceptions Ushahidi manages deployments– NO – they primarily develop, and offer limited support Crowdsourced information is statistically representative – NO – the implementation and data collection methods are up to you Crowdsourced information cannot be validated – NO – it can be, albeit more time-consuming, and it also allows you to gather data from previously untapped sources
Ushahidi components An example: tracking the H1N1 virustracking the H1N1 virus The map itself i.e. density bubbles, zoom, satellite view Categories i.e. police action, aid distribution, infrastructure, logistics, violence, hate speech, positive events, campaign promises, results Interactive timeline graph Twitter feed Report submission via SMS, , tweet or online form Alerts for your area
E L E C T I O N S ‘Verification’ guides and electoral procedures Is Africa Ushahidi-ready? Case studies: Kenya 2008, Tanzania 2010, Cote d’Ivoire 2010 Electoral overview
‘Verification’ guides and electoral procedures A number of guides are posted on the Ushahidi community page. Deals with: o how to verify reports o considering your audience o how the project can be made sustainable o how to address privacy and protection issues o considering how to respond to report submissions Linda Kamau, software developer, on election procedures and time
Is Africa Ushahidi-ready? Increase in mobile phone use – a common denominator Total African mobile subscriber base is roughly million people (30% of total) Total African mobile subscriber base is expected to reach 561 million (53.5%) by Increasing access to high- speed internet Increase in usage of social media: Facebook, Twitter and blogs
Example: Kenya 2008 27 th December 2007: election 30 th December 2007: govt issued publication ban Observers noticed electoral irregularities 1 st January 2008: incumbent president Mwai Kibaki announced as winner Triggered tribal- and politically-motivated attacks Impact of bloggers Joshua Goldstein/ Juliana Rotich (2008) Evolution of the ‘hate medium’: radio in Rwanda, SMS in Kenya
Kenya: sample SMSs By 2007, Kenya boasted over 11 million mobile phone subscriptions: roughly 30 per cent of its population SMSs intercepted by protestors: o “Fellow Kenyans, the Kikuyu’s have stolen our children’s future...we must deal with them in a way they understand...violence.” o “No more innocent Kikuyu blood will be shed. We will slaughter them right here in the capital city. For justice, compile a list of Luo’s you know...we will give you numbers to text this information.” SMSs sent to Ushahidi: o "Police battled youths who set fire to roadblocks; the police shot indiscriminately, “targeting anyone on sight”; one man was shot in the stomach as he stood in front of his house.” o "A 13-year old boy was laid to rest next to his uncle´s house; the burial was attended by hundreds of residents who wailed and lit up bonfires."
Kenya 2008 (cont.) 9 th January 2008: violence escalating in the Kibera slums in Nairobi and the towns of Kisumu, Kakamega, Eldoret, and Naivasha in the Rift Valley “For the reconciliation process to occur at the local level the truth of what happened will first have to come out. Guys looking to do something - any techies out there willing to do a mashup of where the violence and destruction is occurring using Google Maps?” – Ory Okolloh’s blog, 2008 Ushahidi is born: created by Kenyans and US developers in one week By 28 th January, the death toll was approximately 800
Kenya 2008 – data analysis 465 reports on Ushahidi Who filed reports to Ushahidi? Verification: not all reports were accurate, but were subsequently adjusted in a few hours Some reports were simple transcripts of paper’s lead paragraphs Some linked to YouTube videos Some linked to YouTube videos Ushahidi documented cases of violence not covered by mainstream media Provided a digital archive or "memorial" of sorts for the events that happened in Kenya
Example: Tanzania 2010 Incumbent Jakaya Kikwete came to power in 2005 Came to power on anti-corruption ticket In 2005, Some 97% of Tanzanians say they can access a mobile phone 2,000 regional monitors have been trained and are sending in consistent information from the polling stations 15,000 NGO members 31 st October 2010: election Linda Kamau on advertising Linda Kamau on election monitors
Tanzania - screenshot
Tanzania – data analysis 1 st November 2010: 4,000 reports submitted to Ushahidi team By 6 th November 2010: only 1,634 reports verified 1 report took at least 20 minutes to corroborate Verification issues: one blogger complained of how a report they submitted was mere hearsay – states the report he submitted was never changed from verified 5 th November 2010: Kikwete wins 61% of the vote Ushahidi reports appear to corroborate BBC reports that result has been widely accepted Linda Kamau on backlog
Example: Cote d’Ivoire 2010 Recent unstable political history Election due since 2005, postponed 6 times With all the ballots counted from Sunday's first round, incumbent Gbagbo won 38% and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara 32% A second round of votes will be held on 28 th November 2010 80% turn out Low number of Ushahidi reports – why?
Cote d’Ivoire - screenshot
Cote d’Ivoire – data analysis 60 reports as of 6 th November 2010 SMS service suspended Co-founder Erik Hersman stated this would not affect Ushahidi – as “Ushahidi supports multiple ways of sending information in.” Army has closed all land borders until today, reinforcing sea ports and airports with strict security measures. Accusations of vote rigging No violence as of 6 th November 2010
Electoral overview Technological constraints Verification process Huge amount of manpower required to verify data Framing of an election – no social or historical context Goldstein/Rotich – summarised digital tools allow for increase in citizen activism/journalism, but also predatory ethnic-based mob violence and hate speech Elements for Kenya’s success: free press, active blogosphere and good internet connectivity Co-founder Erik Hersman stated Ushahidi “has made organizations realize the need for including bottom-up information…it’s no longer top-down information from government and the media… The people's voice, their ability to know what's going on around them and using that in a more holistic understanding of a situation are now possible ”
D I S A S T E R S Haiti earthquake 2010 Pakistan flood 2010 Disaster overview
Example: Haiti earthquake 2010 On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti More than 230,000 people died, some of Haiti ’ s most populous areas suffered mass destruction and 1.5 million people were left homeless The traditional response system lacked the ability to prioritize data that came from outside sources Ushahidi provided a way to capture, organize, and share critical information coming directly from Haitians through social media and text messages
Haiti: earthquake in pictures
Haiti: data analysis Ushahidi was deployed in the first two hours following the earthquake Within four days of the earthquake, 100,000 reports from the ground had been received Approximately 85% of Haitian households had access to mobile phones at the time of the earthquake Although 70% of the cell phone towers in Port-au-Prince had been destroyed in the disaster, they were back online before Ushahidi became operational 4636 project volunteers translated 25,186 SMS messages and numerous , Web, and social media communications, resulting in 3,596 reports that were actionable
Haiti earthquake - screenshot
Haiti: local deployment A Haitian ICT company called Solutions pooled its resources to create an interactive crisis and needs-mapping platform called “ Noula ” or “ we ’ re here ” in CreoleSolutions The concept is simple: Haitians call into a call center for free that is staffed by trained operators, and communicate critical pieces of information on their situation or request information Info is sorted, categorized, geolocated and placed on noula.ht Noula has teamed with the Haitian government and agencies to coordinate mapping cholera reports using SMS text alerts linked to their computer platform for GPS visual mapping and tracking of cholera
Example: Pakistan flood 2010 The flooding started in the north in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KPK) in July 2010 and quickly spread to other provinces Heavy monsoon rains have caused the worst floods in living memory in Pakistan More than 1,700 people are thought to have died, with almost 21 million people affected Throughout the country, nearly 5 million people are without shelter. An estimated 8 million people require immediate assistance to meet their basic food needs
Pakistan: in pictures
Pakistan: local deployment “ As a technology and social entrepreneur, I have read hundreds of case studies and talks that a SMS is a ray of hope and decided to setup SMS based incident reporting. ” “ I want to bring first line of incident reporting live for millions of people in Pakistan. This requires technology, spreading the right word to millions, building team, logistics, resources and coordinating all the incident reporting. The last week was spent on the technology front. So, after sleepless nights, power shortages, worst news written on faces everywhere, the effort continued. With the help of few friends, I got access to short code 3441 in Pakistan. Next the Crowdmap was launched at Then, the short code integration was done. And the technology milestone is achieved. “Crowdmaphttp://pakrelief.crowdmap.com “ Team building is on way and spreading the message to millions of flood affected people is next big challenge. Remember, the mission is to save one hope by one SMS message at ” Faisal Chohan Ushahidi Pakistan Founder
Pakistan flood - screenshot
Pakistan: data analysis & what now? 1130 reports: majority related to issues of food, water and sanitation, health and shelter The situation in Pakistan is still dire: 10 dollars (US) can buy 1200 SMS alerts to journalists and workers on the ground. 25 dollars can ensure that 3000 flood-affected individuals can send a text to 3441 and report their observations The first Crowdmap deployments were for reporting incidents of flooding in Pakistan “ Unlike Haiti, by the time flooding in Pakistan took its tool, Ushahidi would be plug-and-play. In August, Ushahidi launched Crowdmap, a hosted “ in the cloud ” service. ” --Ory Okollah, Ushahidi co-founder More than 1,500 deployments of Crowdmap were realized in the first week of it going live
Disaster overview Filling the information gap in the very early emergency period Providing critical information about the needs of individuals and communities that may be lacking in rapid needs assessments Providing reports on sentinel events as well as reports that are time sensitive (such as outbreaks of diseases etc) Providing critical information from areas that are inaccessible either for logistical constraints or security threats Providing up-to-date situational awareness that can be very useful for teams on the ground Providing a source of data for cross reference
W A R S “Getting tweets from a warzone is so The latest social media advance combined tools like Twitter, text messaging, and online mapping to gather up first-hand reports...” – Wired magazine, January 2009 DRC 2008 Gaza 2008
Example: DRC 2008 Long, complex history of war Just under 2 million internally displaced people as of 2010 (OCHA) Over 17,000 sexual violence attacks in 2009 (U.N. Population Fund) 5,249,667 mobile subscribers (African Mobile Factbook 2008) = about 7.4% of population About 5% of the population has access to electricity (SNEL)
DRC: Ushahidi deployment Deployed in November 2008 – March 2009 Ushahidi managed the deployment Ran on Ushahidi ’ s servers Worked with FrontlineSMS Used local groups like HEAL Africa to report and verify
DRC: data analysis 233 reports in total (compared with 4,000 reports in Tanzania in one day) Most common report categories: internally displaced people, armed groups, humanitarian actions Most reports were made in and around Goma The vast majority of reports were made at the beginning of November. The numbers drop quickly afterwards.
DRC: why didn’t it work? Local support? Crisis fatigue? Unclear benefits?
Example: Gaza 2008 December – January Media blackout Al Jazeera English was the only English language media outlet on the ground Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros
Gaza: Ushahidi deployment Al Jazeera was the first major media outlet to utilize Ushahidi Riyaad Minty links up with Erik Hersman 4 ways to report: website; SMS; Twitter and
Gaza: in retrospect Majority of reports focused on aid, air strikes, rocket attacks and Palestinian casualties Verification Damage to infrastructure Responsibility of the media
Other applications of Ushahidi Atlanta crime map Atlanta crime map Wildlife tracking in Kenya Wildlife tracking in Kenya H1N1/swine flu monitoring H1N1/swine flu monitoring African medical stockout tracker African medical stockout tracker Snowmaggedon Snowmaggedon Zombie Apocalypse Zombie Apocalypse
Current developments Ushahidi 2.0 – out in a few weeks Plugins being developed for Facebook and YouTube Canadian Dale Zak working on smart phone apps Swift River: separating the message from the noise, wheat from the chaff Swift River Cloudvox: voice reporting Cloudvox FrontlineSMS: turns computer and a mobile into a 2-way group messaging hub. It works anywhere there’s a mobile signal, doesn’t need the Internet, a major advantage for many grassroots NGOs. You can send messages to wide groups of people, and collect responses to any questions/surveys you might want to run, all via text message. FrontlineSMS
Conclusion – a success or a work in progress? Another tool in the journalist’s social media arsenal Crowdsourcing and the ‘veil of ignorance’ Determining the veracity of reports Reliance on technological infrastructure ‘Wag the dog’ – Ushahidi and “information vandalism” Framing and journalist as cartographer No silver bullet Reliance on local advocacy, advertising and NGOs
Ushahidi: 10% of the solution
A final thought… “It’s a tool. It’s a tool we need to use to tell a story. Very often we get caught up in the hype, and we jump on the bandwagon, and we go out there and report on the here and now. And we forget what really makes us journalists, what we are here to do. It’s up to us to be there to tell the truth. Whatever it is. Because that’s the fundamental reason that all of us got into this business. The business models will come, but if you are not standing out there putting the information into context, providing depth and understanding to situations and conflicts around the world, then we are failing in our jobs. Because we need to go beyond that, even if it’s only 140 characters at a time.” – Riyaad Minty, head of social media at Al Jazeera.