I was just watching Clay Shirky’s recent TED talk and he talked about the Ushahidi project, which is a free, open-source platform that allows people to set up websites that can collect and aggregate data sent in by people using their mobile phones with SMS messages and pictures. This is the perfect way to structure what I talked about earlier in the crowdsourced activism post.
I’m not a programmer, so I would have no idea how to set it up, but if there is anybody in Kuwait who has the passion and the time to use the free platform that Ushahidi provides to build the website then I will do everything I can to help. The way I imagine it working is that the website will be using the Ushahidi platform to collect data sent in by people in Kuwait who would photograph things and places they feel need fixing. The genius of the platform is that doesn’t need a human being to physically collate and map the data, it all happens automatically. Someone posts a picture of a neglected, overflowing garbage dump and the system would use the GPS tag in the image to place it on the interactive map.
At first, it will just be a map of images, but it can be used as both a shaming device that would spur the government into action as well as a wonderful tool to know more about the city in general, and get a feel of what places look like that you don’t normally hang around in.
A less ambitious project would be to use their simpler ‘Crowdmap’ service to do basically the same thing, without having to program anything or host it on a web server. Maybe that’s a better idea for what we need…