Ushahidi's first incident reporting map of human rights abuses in Kenya
Since 2008 Ushahidi have been creating crowd sourced maps to document and report human rights abuses, election abuse and to provide crisis maps. At the heart of Ushahidi's platform is the mapping of crowd sourced incident reports provided by eye witnesses. One reason that Ushahidi maps have been so successful is that the platform allows for the submission of witness reports by SMS text, by e-mail or by web forms.
This ease of incident reporting has led to Ushahidi being used to map the political crisis in Madagascar, the spread of swine flu, the Chile earthquake and the Haiti earthquake, to name but a few (there are three pages of results for a Google search of Ushaidi on Google Maps Mania).
Now Ushahidi have released Crowdmap to make it easier for anyone to set up their own crisis map. Ushahidi claims that it "takes all of five minutes to get a vanilla deployment up and running on crowdmap subdomain." Once you have established your Crowdmap domain you have full administrative access, just as you would if you installed it yourself. You have the ability to choose themes, edit categories and solicit reports.
Obviously Ushahidi are hoping that by creating a platform that requires little technical acumen and that can be implemented at speed that they are bringing the ability to create incident reporting maps to those most in need, on the ground.