Last weekend, I decided to finally test Ushahidi Crowdmap and sync it with FrontlineSMS. It turned out to be a great learning experience and really got me thinking about how these combined applications could be used. There is an upcoming project where these applications may prove very beneficial.
FrontlineSMS is quite familiar to me as I’ve conducted a lot of testing and also serve as a FLSMS forum support volunteer. Furthermore, Ushahidi and specifically the Crowdmap (the Ushahidi in-the-cloud service) application have always been of interest to me. There have been several Ushahidi deployments that have garnered global attention, one notable example is “Project 4636” for crisismapping following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. The Ushahidi blog has a nice detailed graphic summarizing the dataflow of Project 4636.
There were a few things I wanted to test:
1) Syncing FrontlineSMS to Crowdmap.
2) Gain more experience with the Crowdmap configuration.
3) Receive SMS messages into Crowdmap, analyze the reports and plug in the user supplied location data for mapping.
4) Receive Tweets tagged with #flsms2ush, with user supplied location data and map those reports.
On the Ushahidi blog there’s a helpful write up of instructions on how to sync FrontlineSMS to Crowdmap. Here’s my Crowdmap site, with the results of the SMS messages from FrontlineSMS and all tweets tagged with #flsms2ush, of course location data was provided in the txts and the Tweets.
Finally, this turned into a wonderful learning experience for both applications and it allowed me to gain a better understanding of how they compliment each other. In addition, there’s a good possibility I’ll be making use of FrontlineSMS and Crowdmap in an upcoming public health project.