CrowdMap allows users to gather information and turn it into a visualization. The system works by gathering information from websites, news sources and cell phones. The data collected is aggregated into a centralized platform. It can then be displayed on a map or timeline. The application works entirely online so there is no need to download software. CrowdMap allows users to build interactive Google maps that can help them plot reports and collect the data they need quickly. Timelines allow the user to track reports and maps generated over a period of time. The user can set date filters to determine what was happening and when it happened. Real Time tracking tools allow users to stay on top of the information gathered in a way that is easy to understand.
CrowdMap was developed in 2011 by the non-profit Ushahidi software company. Ushahidi was founded in January of 2008. Today, the team consists of around five members, including Executive Director Ory Okolloh, Director of Development David Kobia, Director of Crisis Mapping Patrick Meier, Director of Operations Erik Hersman, Director of Programs Juliana Rotich and SwiftRiver Director Jonathan Gosier. The company has received grant funding numerous times since May of 2009.
CrowdMap is unique because it allows users to gather information and compile it in a visual way. Users can map data out to learn what they need to based on what information was being gathered. A timeline feature allows users to place a time and location to the data collected, which helps add coherency and relevancy to the information being reviewed. The system is also web based, which means no additional software download is needed.
The CrowdMap website utilizes an eye-catching grey and red color scheme with a stylish sphere logo. Hints of light blue and grey elements pepper the site in a way that adds variety. The five main navigational links can be found in the dark grey header. Overall, the site is very easy to read and navigate. The maps and timelines are also stylish and organized, utilizing colors to provide enough contrast to make them readable at a glance.
CrowdMap is currently available to anyone for free. If the user is willing to take a few minutes to register, they can access all current CrowdMap features. The site is still in beta, so there is always the chance that this could change in the future. It is doubtful considering the company behind CrowdMap is listed as a non-profit developer.
CrowdMap offers a new way to gather, compile and present information. Users who collect information from the internet, news resources or cell phones can use CrowdMap to build a comprehensive data resource. The site is easy to use and the resulting maps and timelines are very well organized and attractive, making them functional for a number of purposes.