After a few late nights at the office we have finally launched our interactive map for the situation in Gaza. The folks over at Ushahidi have been fantastic in allowing us to use their crowd sourcing platform for this project…. Our SMS system was set up and is powered by the guys at souktel (thanks to @Katrinskaya from MobileActive for putting us in touch with souktel)
The Ushahidi Engine is a platform that allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or timeline. Our goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.
As updates come in on the situation in Gaza, we update the map with the incident. People can have a look at the timeline and map to get a idea of how the entire event has played out from the beginning. The great thing about this platform is the “crowd sourcing” part… People in Gaza and around the world can submit reports through to the site in 4 ways:
1) Report an incident directly at: http://labs.aljazeera.net/warongaza
2) via SMS (text message) – If you’re in Palestine and on the Jawwal network, you can text in your report to the number: 37191
or if you’re anywhere else in the world you can send a text to: +45609910303
All messages need to start with the word GAZA so that we can track it… (eg: GAZA 5 aid trucks just arrived at the Rafa crossing)
3) If you’re on twitter*, you can submit a report by simply replying to our official AlJazeera account with your report @AJGaza (eg: @AJGaza airstrike just resumed in Khan Yunus)…
*If you still dont know what twitter is head over to CommonCraft and watch the great video that explains it
4) If you have images or video, you can email them through to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or upload them here.
I do wish the war ends soon so we dont have to actually test the platform out…. With the way its currently looking the end is not in sight, so lets just hope we can provide a great resource of information for the war.
Big ups to the other guys in our New Media team who worked through the nights to get this up…. Its amazing what one tweet can do (got in touch with @whiteafrican via twitter for this)
You can read more about the deployment on the Ushahidi Blog