Ushahidi is an¬†open source¬†Data Collection¬†tool which allows users to crowdsource information and automatically visualize it via¬†Mapping¬†and other forms of¬†Data Visualization. The user is able to collect data from a variety of sources: from direct SMS messages (allowing the tool to be used to gather information in low-connectivity environments) from live forms, from¬†Twitter¬†mentions, and direct upload. After collecting the data, the tool allows the user to manage their data, users to search and apply filters, organize into collections, and collaborate where needed. Ushahidi can generate automatic¬†Email¬†and¬†SMS¬†alerts when pre-determined event occur.
Ushahidi is available for download and self-hosting free on¬†GitHub:¬†download here.
For users who can not host their own files, a free hosted version of Ushahidi provides access to a basic feature set. A single user can collect unlimited posts using a specific form, collect information through web forms and¬†Email¬†and generate a map and timeline based off the data. Paid services (starting at $99 per month) allow for unlimited posts and surveys, more users, and a greater diversity for data gather (using¬†SMS¬†and¬†Twitter). Nonprofit and grassroots organizations who are aligned with Ushahidi’s mission, have a large-scale projected impact, and are unable to afford the paid tiers of Ushahidi can apply for¬†free hosting.