Disaster responders and do-gooders in the tech community worldwide have been paying particularly close attention to Ushahidi, a non-profit tech company that specializes in developing free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping.
Through Ushahidi, users can build maps and add content that can be of great value to disaster responders. The possibilities of what content can be uploaded to a map are endless: everything from road closures to areas hard hit by disasters.
For example, Ushahidi was used during the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand, helping community members and disaster responders identify important information such as where fuel, pharmacy and grocery stores were open.
This gives you an idea of what the map looked like:
Although it has nothing to do with crisis mapping, I especially love this map of favourite hamburger restaurants as a simple example of what an Ushahidi map can look like, how useful it can be and how easy it is to use.
Here in Canada, we're looking at ways Ushahidi could be used to support our disaster management teams from across the country. We'd love to hear your ideas on how you think mapping can be useful in Canadian disasters.
Want to learn more about Ushahidi? Check out this podcast for an interview with Heather Leson of Ushahidi. In it, Heather talks about Crisismapping, CrisisMappers Network, Ushahidi, Security and Hackathons (specifically Random Hacks of Kindness).