Name: Ushahidi
$: Free
Examples: Documenting Sexualized Violence in Syria (featured image), Report on Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia
Level: Advanced
Use For: Gathering information


Ushahidi is a free online platform that can be used for crowdsourced mapping. To download Ushahidi a server and programming knowledge are needed. Crowdmap Classic is the hosted version of the Ushahidi platform and is much easier to use for those without programming knowledge.


For those who choose to download Ushahidi, there are a variety of plugins and themes that can be integrated with the platform. Reports can be submitted through SMS, email, or a form. SMS reporting relies on FrontlineSMS or Clickatell. The administrator can also select to turn tweets with specific hashtags into reports. Reports can be uploaded and downloaded by the administrator in CSV or XML format. Ushahidi uses Open Layers, however KML and WMS layers can also be added to the map if desired.




Name: Crowdmap
$: Varies
Example: Sectarian Violence Against Syrian Religious Minorities (featured image)
Level: Beginners
Use For: Gathering information; Fast, rapid deployment


Crowdmap is a product of Ushahidi that allows the user to create a map that other people can add information to. It’s platform works on desktop and mobile devices. Crowdmap is free and all maps are public. Crowdmap Plus costs $10 per month or $100 per year. It allows the user to create private maps, have access to a variety of map tiles, and use CSS to further customize maps.

When setting up a map the user can chose collaborators, whether or not to auto-approve posts by others, and if markers should be clustered. Connecting Instagram to Crowdmap allows the user to auto map Instagram hashtags. Those who are administrators of a map have access to statistics about the posts being published to the map.


Anyone can create a post that has text, an image and a location on the map. The person posting can choose if the post is public or private. If the person posting does not have a Crowdmap account or is not logged in the post will be published anonymously.

Crowdmap is very easy to use and does not require any prior mapping experience. There is also a helpful guide about how to use Crowdmap. The guide includes a comparison of the new version of Crowdmap, discussed here, to Crowdmap Classic which is explained in the Ushahidi post.