Reading the Wikimedia blog I stumbled over this interesting post. They mention a framework called Ushahidi (Swahili word for “testimony’) with its subproject SwitfRiver which can be used to track and verify the reliability of news concerning current trending topics, possibly helping editors of Wikipedia to enhance the quality.
Digging into I found out the framework is used for live mapping (collection, aggregation and visualization) of disaster and event related messages sent via all different kinds of transports (e.g., twitter, facebook, email, sms…). One example is the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Where it helped to coordinate all the s&r teams.
As I find it quite fascinating how much people who sit at home in their living rooms might be able to help others in a disaster region, I’d like to suggest this talk:
Ever thought that it would be cool to just collaborate with others while writing a document? Well ok, there are wikis but I mean real-time. Not that it’s new or anything (google docs, wave), but EtherPad recently became one of my favorites for this (thanks to Andreas Wagner).
It’s a no login website, you just need the URL and can start. You can host EtherPad yourself if you don’t trust the server.
It’s a great tool for brainstorming in a group (no more poor guy having to log everything, simply add it yourself), writing down some thoughts, coordinating things in a very interactive way.
Mozilla put up a public EtherPad, just try it here and don’t miss the cool time-slider.