Thursday, March 5, 2015

Recommendations for Ushahidi

The Ushahidi Project demonstrated the potential of crowdsourced  maps for targeted disaster response, providing a useful foundational model for the international community to leverage and improve upon in advance of future emergencies. The following recommendations highlight several targets of opportunity. Disaster response professionals must work with the crisis-mapping community to develop standardized practices for data collection, categorization, and dissemination that meet the needs of field operators.

• Crisis-mapping deployments should leverage local knowledge and response capacity by working with in-country community-based organizations as both providers and consumers of crowdsourced data.

• Disaster preparedness programs and emergency disaster response organizations should integrate mobile-phone enabled crowdsourcing into information-gathering and communication systems and proactively build trusted networks of verified reporters in the case of emergency.

• Collaboration on the creation of accurate maps does not need to wait until disaster strikes.
Governments, international organizations, NGOs, and mapping enthusiasts should combine efforts to consolidate information within OSM, to keep geographic information current, and to lay the foundation for key disaster-related services that will be useful in case of emergency.

• Analytic tools should be developed and integrated into crisis-mapping platforms to identify and detect early warning signs of conflict.

• Additional research needs to be conducted to understand how best to communicate mobile-reporting instructions to populations. Effective messaging will include information on how to submit information that is actionable and locatable as well as instill confidence in individuals that reports of sensitive issues will be kept confidential.

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