Sugestão Web: Ushahidi Platform, "allows everyone to create the narrative"

What is the Ushahidi Platform?

Ushahidi founders and others discuss the origins of and rational behind the platform

Um caso prático: aplicado ao Terramoto do Haiti

# Site oficial | Blog

Transcrição do texto:

• Imagine a way for people all over the world to tell the story of what was happening to them — or around them — during a disaster or emergency

• It would need to be easy to use. Something that almost anybody can do. And it would need to be deployable worldwide.

• And thatʼs why weʼve created Ushahidi ("testimony" in Swahili) Platform.

• Born form the post-election violence in Kenya in 2008, the platform kept Kenyans current on vital information and provided invaluable assistance to those providing relief.

• Since then the Ushahidi Platform has grown into a large open-source project impacting a number of communities around the world.

• It was deployed in the DR Congo to monitor unrest.

• Al Jazeera used it to track violence in Gaza.

• It was used to help monitor the 2009 Indian Elections.

• And to help gather reports globally about the recent Swine Flu outbreak.

• Anybody can contribute information. Whether itʼs a simple text message from a SMS-capable phone, a photo or video from a smartphone, or a report submitted online,
Ushahidi can gather information from any device with a digital data connection.

• After a report is submitted itʼs posted in near real-time to an interactive map that can be viewed on a computer or smartphone.

• But the most powerful feature the platform offers, is the ability to take the core application and deploy it yourself to suit your communityʼs needs. Since the Ushahidi Platform is open-source, anyone can improve the service in anyway they see fit.

• Our growing community of developers are constantly at work improving Ushahidi to bring it to as many people as possible — including working to bring native applications
to todayʼs most popular mobile devices.

• With the Ushahidi Platform, itʼs easier than ever to get critical and timely information to those that need it most, on a platform that almost everybody can use.

Mais um caso prático: aplicado ao referendo no Quénia

Outro caso prático: aplicado às Cheias da Polónia

Poland: How the Ushahidi Platform Was Used to Respond to Flooding

Floods are unpredictable and when it happens it proceeds quickly, there is always not enough time to prepare for that and to provide enough supplies, tools and support as needed. Then it is important to have robust information flow and quick access to updates about the current situation. IT solutions and support can help and with them one can have an overview about the flood progress as well as important events.Such case was in Poland in 2010. Besides “normal” needs during such a situation, there were no IT systems nor portals about the situation, current status and events. There was also no time to develop a system from the scratch and provide a full functional solution. Here Pretius – a company from Warsaw, Poland – was approached by Stocznia (http://stocznia.org.pl) – an NGO organization from Poland – to help fill this need.
Their development team came to an idea that they could use an existing system and tailor that to the particular needs. The requirements have been gathered, defined and based on them the research has begun with one target – find an open source product to quickly develop the requested disaster management system. Two potential solutions have been investigated – Sahana and Ushahidi. The choice was not obvious as both systems didn’t offer all the needed functionality and Pretius even thought about developing their own solution.
The approach Pretius took in this case was gaining the open source tool, identify all the missing parts based on the requirements gathered before and finally develop those features by themselves. The time-to-deliver period was very short – about two weeks – so they have decided to go for one of the software options: Ushahidi. That application offered the most features they wanted yet missing few important ones.
Pretius development team has thoroughly analyzed the product and found out that one of the versions of Ushahidi suits best the current needs for Polish flood disaster management. That was the Haiti instance that was merged with current (in those days) version from github site (https://github.com/ushahidi). There was one problem though. The rush and lack of time in development of the Haiti disaster release (as it was a sudden and completely unexpected event) made the Ushahidi development team concentrate on the features, and not on the quality of the source code. There were lots of tweaks, hacks and uncommented parts which Pretius had to analyze, understand and alter into the source code. They have perfectly managed the task and the result was the Polish version using most of the Haiti features with many extensions developed by Pretius themselves. There were many important customizations made, including the look&feel part – the original layout was not perfect as well as the Polish localization was done. That version can be downloaded also from github (https://github.com/pretius-ushahidi).
The software Pretius prepared was launched under the following URL: http://alert.powodz.ngo.pl. The visits were increasing every day after launch and one of the mostly used features was the possibility to subscribe to new alerts in the defined area radius what caused users subscribe to the newsletter and track all the surrounding accidents where some help could be useful. A lot of people in need have received goods, food, utilities and other help from users who were tracking what was going on and reacting. There were even some cases where the amount of help was overwhelming and exceeded the survivors’ expectations. In general for now there are 229 reports between June 25th 2010 and October 22nd 2010.
Although the site based on the open source product was created in such short period of time it was useful and many people got help after publishing their alerts and the feedback was very positive. In this case Pretius presented not only their development and technical skills but also the positive attitude that they want to bring help to people who are in need. The side effect of this commitment is the new version of the software that can be further used by anyone in similar circumstances with silent hope that it won’t be needed anymore.
Pretius has been created by the group of experienced project managers specializes in realizing projects for companies from the telecommunications and governmental sectors in Poland. In recent years the company has been developing in a dynamic way, assembling around a team of great talented specialists, who are successfully realizing other projects for a wide range of customers and also their own products.

por Robert Olejnick *:

* This is a guest blogpost by Robert Olejnick of Pretius. He, Jakub Górnicki and his team in Poland participated in BridgeCamp 2010, where they shared their improvements to the platform, and their experience with using the platform in Poland. They were instrumental in translating the platform into Polish

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