Crisis Mapping

Monday, March 28, 2011

There is a new article on Technology Review featuring a "reporting platform" known as Ushahidi that makes it much easier to get general information about an area out, and has been extremely effective in doing so for the Libyan crisis.

Any cellphone or device connected to the Internet can add to the content on Ushahidi and instantly update the situation for anyone viewing it. Now they are updating the system to make it even easier to post articles, photos and other kinds of content along with each update.

An example of what this technology can do is map every area people have come into contact with flooding (like recently happened in the UK). In a crisis like Libya or the Japanese tsunami, problem areas and places to avoid are easily mapped out and anyone can check to see where those are with Internet access or a phone.

A journalist using this technology should be able to quickly analyze situations on even national scales and then act on them much faster than by using traditional means. Hopefully the time that is saved with Ushahidi or things like it would allow a journalist to get that information out there in a more complete version for the populace to read.

Photo Credit: Erik Hershman via Creative Commons



Raise your hand if you like to read really long stories? If you did, you are one of the few individuals who enjoys this activity.

If you didn't raise your hand, then let me introduce you to "The Atavist".

The Atavist was created in 2009 by one of Publishing Houses' editors, Evan Ratliff. Ratliff among other journalists, thought that by creating this program it would attract individuals who seek information at a quicker rate.

The Atavist is an interactive application that allows the reader to listen or watch the article before actually reading the article. This application is also known as a form of story telling.

In order to use the products, users must have the following gadgets: an iPad, a Kindle Single, or the nook.

Additonal features for this application include: current time lines, characters, and links to other helpful information.

The Atavist currently has 40,000 downloads, but Ratliff expects this number to quickly rise.

By offering this application, readers can receive their information at a quicker rate, and they will become more engaged with their news. The expectations for this application is that readers will recall the information longer than by articles with less engagement.

Photo Credit:


QR Codes For Dummies

One of the trends on Twitter this week has been QR Codes which is short for Quick Response Codes.

A QR Code is a matrix barcode readable by barcode readers and camera phones.

They can be found on magazines, signs, tv advertisements, websites, business cards or any other object that has information on it.

The QR Code has been around for a while now. It was invented in 1994 by a Japanese company, Denso-Wave.

The codes have been used in Japan for years, but they are just now becoming mainstream in the United States.

To be able to read these QR Codes you must download an app on your phone like RedLaser or Savvy Shopper.

Next, when you come across a code you turn on your camera on your phone and zoom in. It will scan the code and take you to a page with the information located on it.

If you would like to create your own QR Code for a business card or for other uses there are websites you can access such as

There will be many other items that QR Codes will be used for that we couldn't even imagine now. They are going to be a way of finding information.

Photo Credit: Steve Hall via Creative Commons


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