Haiti Earthquake Damage: Ushahidi Crowdsources Crisis Information
Ushahidi, an innovative platform for aggregating mobile news, is being used to try to map the post-earthquake crisis in Haiti.
Ushahidi is an open source project that allows users to share information during crises. People can share information over the web or using mobile phones.
The page dedicated to tracking the current crisis in Haiti has a map illustrating the reported locations of collapsed structures, damaged schools, and blocked roads in the nation's capital of Port-Au-Prince. Another feature highlights fires, contaminated water supplies, trapped persons, and survivors. Unfortunately, most cell towers are down after the earthquake, complicating the effort.
Ushahidi has now been released in beta as an open source application that others can download for free and use to cover crises. NPR and the New York Times are both looking for ways to integrate the platform to cover the unfolding disaster after the Haitian earthquake.