Ushahidi: Bearing witness to a remarkable idea

Just recently I came across this remarkable example of the power of social software and open source - Ushahidi.

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. The result is a simple website mashup, using user-generated reports and Google Maps.

It's a simple - but powerful idea. Here is a video with more details: What is Ushahidi? from Ushahidi on Vimeo.

"Ushahidi" means testimony or witness in Swahili. It is a free and open source project with developers hailing from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Netherlands and the USA working on it. The goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.

This volunteer group of open source developers have overcome some significant technological challenges and are always looking for help.