By Craig Regan
Crowd Sourcing on the Internet is so hot right now. In simple terms, it means outsourcing a job to a group of people, raising financial backing or tracking an event or cause.
Upheavals in Libya and Egypt are great examples of how to use crowd sourcing to map a crisis. Think of it as social media for activists, where plotting actions on a map mobilises protesters or shows the extent of an issue to raise public support.
We’re going to see a lot more of Crisis Mapping in world hot spots as access to wireless broadband explodes. Wireless broadband is cheaper than cable Internet in much of Africa.
The ubiquitous TV aerial that’s a part of every shack in even the poorest shanty towns in South Africa is fast being replaced by less visible smartphones as a prime communications channel.
It’s probably not far off the mark to say that we’ll soon have billions of digital media users on social media but lack access to fresh running water or a toilet.
One issue that needs to be explored is how reliable as a source of information Crisis Sourcing will be. Crisis Mapping is as easy as signing-up for online software and galvanizing people with the same interest.
Hackers accessing back-end software is a daily event and who’s to say the servers these databases run won’t become the target of operatives spreading disinformation.
In military parlance, this is “black ops”. Where winning hearts and minds used to rely on leaflet drops or foreign language radio broadcasts, the digital world is the new theatre of warfare.
You can read an academic’s view on Crisis Sourcing here.
If it’s all too hard, you can always watch how the world is tracking the zombie apocalypse here.