I have been working with BBC London for the past few weeks, helping to support them with some new social media initiatives. (It should be noted they already have a strong foundation – see @BBCTravelAlert as a great example of an engaged twitterfeed). A couple of weeks ago when the London Tube strike was announced I thought it would be interesting to try out the new Ushahidi crowdmap platform. It was launched about a month ago and is an attempt to do for crowdsourced mapping what wordpress has done to blogging….basically make it foolproof.
I had seen TBD’s map in DC, and thought it would be a perfect way of easily visualising a lot of information about the strike. We’re now one hour into the strike and I’m writing this while checking the Transport for London website and updating the crowdmap with new information. So far the only updates we’ve posted have been based on official data. Hopefully tomorrow, people will start sending us their own reports via text, twitter, audioboo and the webform on the site.
The hope is that the map will become the host for photos, audio clips and commuter experiences rather than simply parroting the official information, already available on the Transport for London site. That will depend on whether the map takes off and people want to help us.
I hope so. Crowdmap is a great site, easy to use, and aware of the all the issues of verification and information management which could make this type of journalism a minefield.
Hopefully you’ll take a look at our map even if you don’t live in London and aren’t affected by the Tube strike, and will see what a great resource this can be for anyone interested in collaborative journalism projects.