Crisis Mapping without Maps: Frontline SMS
April 5, 2011
Guest Speaker: Adam White, GroupShot
Group Presentations: UNICEF, MoH, WFP
Group Blogs Due: RC, CRS
Throughout the world, even where significant barriers of access to technology remain, mobile phones are transforming the way people connect to the world. Frontline SMS is an easy-to-use platform that “turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a communication hub.” In this class, students will learn how to set this platform up in addition to learning the benefits of using SMS technology.
- Learn to set up Frontline SMS instance (stand alone)
- Learn to integrate Frontline SMS with Ushahidi
- Discuss program considerations of a Frontline SMS Deployment, such as:
- Deciding when to use Frontline SMS instead of a mapping platform
- Safety and ethics
- Integrating Frontline SMS with other appropriate technologies and program goals
Readings (due to copyright laws, some readings are available here)
- Article: “SMS as a Tool for Election Observation,” Schuler, Ian. Innovations: Vol 3; Issue 2. MIT Press. (Spring 2008).
- Report: Meier, Patrick & Coyle, Diane. UN Foundation Vodaphone Report: New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts. (2009)
- Article: Coyle, Diane and M. B. Childs. The Role of Mobile Phones in Disasters and Emergencies: GSM Association, 2005.
- Video: Erik Hersman on Reporting Crisis Through Texting, Erik Hersman, 2009
Assignments Due (midnight on 4/8)
- Teams will be required to create a KML file from the SMS data they received and customize the visualization. The goal is to facilitate information sharing among the other organizations.
- Teams will explain the benefits/limitations of their map in either a presentation and blog post. Please see the list above for which teams are presenting and which are blogging. Questions to think about:
- Why is data visualization necessary? And what are other ways the data could have been presented?
- What was the target audience for this information?
- For full assignment, see here.