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At TEDU 2009, Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.
Blogger (AfriGadget, WhiteAfrican), geek and power networker Erik Hersman is a key member of the African blog revolution. As a builder of Ushahidi, he helps expand the power of everyday people to share vital news via text.
Do you all know about Ushahidi? It's a web application that can show real-time mapped data, often sent in by people who have the best information - the guy standing on the street during the disaster, election, or other event.
Ushahidi means “testimony” in Swahili, and the app was originally developed to track events during a tumultuous election in Kenya. The idea was (partially) cooked up by one of our own Florida Creatives, Erik Hersman, who you may have seen at BarCamp, BlogOrlando or Happy Hour.
They use the word "crowd-sourced" to describe it, but to me, it's really about a network of individuals who act as filters and amplifiers for what would otherwise be a bunch of noise. There is no chain of command, so the information gets updated instantly without getting filtered through news media, government or other organizations.