I’ve written a post on the Scraperwiki blog about a hackathon I attended where a small group of developers and people with experience of crowdsourcing in emergencies created a fantastic tool to inform populations in an emergency.
The primary application is non-journalistic, but the subject matter has obvious journalistic potential for any event that requires exchanges of information. Here are just some that spring to mind:
- A protest where protestors and local residents can find out where it is at that moment and what streets are closed.
- A football match with potential for violence (i.e. local derby) where supporters can be alerted of any trouble and what routes to use to avoid it.
- A music festival where you could text the name of the bands you want to see and receive alerts of scheduled appearances and any delays
- A conference where you could receive all the above – as well as text updates on presentations that you’re missing (taken from hashtagged tweets, even)
There are obvious commercial applications for some of the above too – you might have to register your mobile ahead of the event and pay a fee to ensure you receive the texts.
Not bad for 15 hours’ work.
You can read the blog post in full here.