Ushahidi Pollution Mapping in Louisiana

Matthew Hall | Civic Commons | June 13, 2012

For the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a non-profit dedicated to citizen sourced pollution monitoring, the Ushahidi platform for crowdsourced reporting and mapping was a natural choice for their already impressive toolset.  The “bucket” in Bucket Brigade is a low-cost air monitoring tool that citizens can deploy in their neighborhoods to gauge toxic releases from nearby chemical plants.  Ushahidi is a free and open source platform originally developed in 2008 for Kenyans to report and map post-election violence via text, email, or web.  Now the Ushahidi platform has spread all over the globe in deployments ranging from crisis mapping the Japanese earthquake of 2011 to “improving Beijing’s urban transportation” to providing a platform for the Bucket Brigade to build a crowdsourced pollution map called iWitness.  

The Ushahidi powered iWitness pollution map enables citizens to report chemical accidents and pollution related to the 2010 BP oil spill via text, email, or web.  These eyewitness reports combined with reports from the National Response Center (Federal portal for oil and chemical spills) are geotagged to an interactive map giving a clear picture of pollution trouble spots.  Citizens can also sign up for alerts to warn them when pollution is reported near their area...