California, US: Esri announced a partnership with Ushahidi that will improve the collection and use of crowd-sourced information during large-scale emergencies. Ushahidi is a non-profit organisation that allows local observers to submit reports to the Ushahidi Web platform using their mobile phones or the Internet during a crisis. Esri is providing software, services, and training to support Ushahidi’s Web platform. The result is better information more readily accessible by decision makers and the public, the company said.
Both victims and witnesses of a crisis or disaster can request assistance or report conditions using text messaging capabilities of their personal phone or Internet-enabled device. These reports are collected, geo-referenced and then mapped on Ushahidi’s web-based map. Esri and Ushahidi will now work together to make this information available to more people, including those using Esri GIS technology. This will provide access of Ushahidi information to relief and response organisations that use GIS analysis and modelling for humanitarian response and relief.
“Ushahidi has provided an invaluable information service during crisis events, such as the Haiti earthquake, by supplying a social media platform to capture and communicate critical information for response and relief services,” said Russ Johnson, Director of public safety solutions, Esri. “Esri wants to support these efforts by making available GIS tools that assist in analysing, displaying and publishing critical information on the Ushahidi platform.”
Patrick Meier, Director of crisis mapping at Ushahidi, said, “Esri’s technology will provide Ushahidi users with access to extensive GIS data and advanced analytical tools.”