Congo Watch: DR Congo: Goma, a major Ushahidi update!

Friday, August 14, 2009

DR Congo: Goma, a major Ushahidi update!

Goma, a major Ushahidi update!

Originally published by Ushahidi 13 Aug 2009 .  Received via email 14 Aug 2009.  I have copied and pasted the email and hope that it appears OK to readers of this page.  Here is a copy of the email.

An Ushahidi tradition is to name all of our major releases after African cities that have had disturbances. Today we’re announcing the “Goma” release of the platfrom, version 0.9 – named after that oft-beleaguered town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

We had three main areas that we focused on for this Goma; stability, speed and mobile apps. To introduce the release, here’s David Kobia:

Stability, Speed and Mobile Apps: Ushahidi's Goma Release from WhiteAfrican on Vimeo.

What’s in Goma?

It’s not possible to track all of the minor upgrades, changes and additions to the platform here, but here are some of the items that are important for everyone to know about.

  • Caching – map and database queries have been slowing load times down considerably. All pages with maps now have caching built-in.
  • Alerts – email and SMS proximity-based alerts are now fully functional.
  • You can now watch incidents play chronologically on the main map using the “Play” button.
  • Refined the submissions page, simplifying the location chooser, date/time and other minor features.
  • On the detailed incident report page the map shows other incidents by proximity.
  • Admins can import KML or GeoRSS feeds, and these can show up on the map as overlays on top of the normal Ushahidi data. (delayed for a couple days, working out some kinks…)
  • Admins can now download a CSV file of all their data.
  • Admins can now do a “mass upload” of data into the database.
  • We’re trying to make it easier to get a fresh install of Ushahidi up on your own server. To this end, we’ve moved the config.php items into the admin area for easier modification by non-techies.
  • Improved feedback form, residing in every instances footer, that makes it easy for end users to send feedback to the admin. This shows up in their admin panel.
  • Sharing of data between instances of Ushahidi is fully functional now.
  • Added a “Comments” tab into the admin area for moderation.
  • Added a new feature to track veracity and trust of users by the admin

Find a bug? Submit it to
Have a question? Ask it on the forums
Want to pitch in? Start on the wiki or download the code

Mobile phone applications

A small team of dedicated devs put a lot of time into creating the new Ushahidi mobile apps that are available for you to run on your phone. The basic functionality of all the mobile apps are to sync with an instance of Ushahidi. It allows you to send reports with images and location information as well as receive alerts from others who have sent in reports to the site. With this, you can track what is going on in an emergency, disaster or crisis anywhere in the world.

The mobile apps work in offline mode as well, so you can create reports and send them when you reconnect, or you can download and see the incidents that have been reported and still view them when you’re not connected.

Ushahidi mobile phone applications - Android, Windows Mobile and J2ME JavaAndroid – Henry Addo, our Ghanaian dev, has been part of the team since January, but he started fiddling around with Android well before that.

Windows Mobile - Dale Zak is an amazing Canadian mobile phone dev. He does a lot of cool stuff out there, and we were extremely happy when he volunteered to create the WinMo version of Ushahidi.

J2ME (Java) – Steve Mutinda is an outstanding Kenyan mobile app developer, he and his firm Shimba Mobile dedicated a lot of resources to see this app come into being. The J2ME app will work on any phone that runs Java, so it should work on the widest number of phones available.

This is their beta release, so there will be some bugs, submit them to and they’ll be on them right away.

Major contributors

Projects like Ushahidi wouldn’t be where they are without the help of programmers who volunteer their time, brains and energy to solving some very difficult challenges. A BIG thanks goes out to all the devs who made this happen. Major contributors included:



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