Fantastic work to help in a crisis
Our current work for two global companies from both ends of the spectrum has led us to find some good work to benefit both parties. Shelterbox & G4S users may find themselves in areas without good communication networks. It could be from a lack of infrastructure in a country or that infrastructure has been damanged in some way. Either way if a worker is trying to co-ordinate themselves with co-workers, businesses and agencies in that region they need a working tool to do this.
A fine open source solution has been developed between two companies in Africa and the UK.
Ushahidi is a free and open source project with developers hailing from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Netherlands and the USA working on it.
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. Their goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.
As part of the problem is communication networks they have partnered with Frontline SMS to help.
FrontlineSMS is free, open source software that turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a central communications hub. Once installed, the program enables users to send and receive text messages with groups of people through mobile phones. What you communicate is up to you, making FrontlineSMS useful in many different ways.