Overview of Ushahidi Platform v3.0
- Ushahidi is a tool for collecting, managing, and visualizing data.
- Data can be collected from anyone, anytime, anywhere by SMS, email, web reports, mobile applications, and twitter.
- Posts can be managed and triaged with filters and workflows.
- Data can be managed and visualized in different ways : on a map, as a list, or in different charts and tables through the activity view.
While anyone can use Ushahidi, traditionally it has been a tool used by Crisis Responders, Human Rights Reporters, and Citizens & Governments (such as election monitoring or corruption reporters). We also serve environmental mappers, asset monitoring, citizen journalism, international development, and many others.
The biggest change in v3 is the unification of the administrative interface with different types of views. There is now a single interface to manage all your data. Volunteers can now work directly on the data view, with permissions on what any particular person can see being set by role. While the guide will go into a full description of each part of the interface, this introduction gives a sample of what is to come:
- Reports are now posts: The name change from reports to posts is a recognition that data collected might not just be a traditional ‘report’ of an event.
- Surveys: Posts are no longer a fixed form with built in fields. You can customize them by creating many surveys, with different stages and custom fields to collect the data you need.
- Posts now have tasks: Each post is now made up of a number of tasks. These can be made required (or not) before the post is published. This lets you build the workflow you need.
- One interface for all posts: We no longer have separate views from managing posts and viewing posts.
- Messages directly as ‘posts’: The old ‘messages ’ views are gone. New SMS or twitter messages now come in directly as ‘unknown’ posts, meaning they don’t yet belong to a survey, that are ready to be structured, completed, and published quickly and easily.
- Collections: Aggregate and save a group of posts, share them via a URL link share
- Saved Searches: You can create any search you want, save it, it continues to aggregate information, and the check again later for updates. Saved Searches are available from your deployment’s main menu. Sign up for notifications on your saved search to stay up to date as the posts that are most important to you are submitted to the deployment.
- Visualization: Every data set can be viewed as a map, lists of data, or a chart. Just select the time frame and variables you want to compare at any time.
- Customize: Add a description, create a new survey, configure how data flows through your deployment, and more - all from your deployment’s settings.
- Security and Permissions: Controlling who has access to system functions and data is a critical aspect of every crowdsourcing platform. Ushahidi v3 is arranged around a role-based security model that conveys permissions to each class of user. These permissions can be customized. The code is also written in a way that allows for clients to more easily extend certain software classes to meet their needs. You can also make your deployment completely password protected, visible only to users with login credentials.
- History of Posts and Messages
- In the process of turning an initial report from the field into a verified, published report, many people may touch the data. Someone may translate it, another may geolocate it, and a third may verify it against other data. Sometimes, additional information needs to get associated with the report, such as an image, document, or other set of messages.
- To facilitate the aggregation and review of this network of data around the data, we built a history for every Post and Message. Your team can now add its commentary, ancillary documents to each Post and Message.
- The management of reports through its lifecycle requires management of the state of the report, especially when multiple teams are involved in moving reports from unverified, untranslated states to verified, geolocated reports. Workflows support this management.
- More than 90% of the work in an Ushahidi deployments happens behind the scenes. Unsurprisingly, most of our development efforts went to supporting this (often invisible) process.