Benghazi, Libya; Sendai, Japan; Queensland, Australia; Port-au-Prince, Haiti–when crisis strikes, collaborative tagging and updating of maps is helping to find the missing, warn of hazards, and give rescue workers information that can save lives. David Kobia, a computer engineer who founded Ushahidi in response to riots after Kenya’s 2007 presidential election, deserves much of the credit for crisis mapping. “Inspiration,” he says, “comes from the community itself, people who use the tools and make the most out of poor connections.”
Kobia describes his methods, and the challenges faced by Ushahidi, in this video from the 2009 International Conference on Crisis Mapping.
Haiti had a significant impact on Ushahidi because this was right in the backyard of America. There was such an effort to try to do something, and everyone was involved.