Ushahidi is an open source company that specializes in the building of free and open source software for information collection,visualization and interactive mapping. Ushahidi which means “testimony” in Swahili was a website initially designed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Ushahidi has come to represent the people behind the Ushahidi platform.
Since early 2008, the group has grown from an ad hoc group of volunteers to a focused organization. The team comprises of individuals with a wide span of experience ranging from human rights work to software development. The team is made up of volunteer developers primarily from Africa, but also Europe, South America and the U.S.
What is the Ushahidi Platform?
The Ushahidi Platform is a free open source software you can easily download and utilize to build your own information collection and visualization service. Ushahidi is designed in PHP and makes use of MySQL as its database. The entry requirements for running Ushahidi is pretty low and easily run on any regular web host.
- Free and Open Source – Ushahidi is free for you to download and use. It is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).
- Interactive Mapping – One of the most powerful ways to visualize information is to display it on a map. Ushahidi provides a rich set of mapping tools.
- Dynamic Timeline – Ushahidi provides the ability to track your reports on a map and over time. You can filter your data by time and then see when things happened and where,as its also tied to the map.
- Multiple Data Streams – Ushahidi allows you to integrate numerous data input streams from SMS,email,twitter and web forms.
To begin playing around with Ushahidi and building your own information collection system, simply visit the www.ushahidi.com to know more about the platform. You can download Ushahidi from http://www.download.ushahidi.com. The Ushahidi website also provides a demonstration of the platform in use. Visit http://demo.ushahidi.com to view the on-line demo of the platform. You can also follow @ushahidi on twitter and visit their facebook page at http://facebook.com/ushahidi .