Today, we stumbled upon a tweet by Kubatana.net announcing a map of Typhoid affected areas in Zimbabwe that the organisation has created from data crowd sourced via SMS. As you probably know Zimbabwe is currently battling a Typhoid epidemic. Currently over 1,000 cases have been reported.
Kubatana basically sent an SMS to their subscribers asking them how typhoid has affected their communities, and what they think government should do. They took the SMS messages whose location they could get, about a quarter of the 200 responses received, and used them to create the map.
According to Kubatana’s Amanda Atwood, they used Clickatell for outgoing SMS messages and FrontlineSMS for the incoming. She says it works out more efficient for them and that it’s cost effective than using FrontlineSMS for both. They used free online mapping software ArcGIS Online for the actual map.
The epidemic is not over and one hopes more data is added to the map to make more information easily available directly from ordinary people on the ground. Atwood says people can still text the Kubatana SMS number 0772452201 to add their voice to the map. Remember to include your location in the SMS when you do.