Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Ushahidi Tech Meeting

David and Henry talk about Ushahidi

This last weekend was the first of what I hope will be an annual meeting for Ushahidi. It was a time where we brought in the most active of the African programming community, and invited in some of the top subject matter experts in SMS, mapping and machine algorithms to better set Ushahidi’s technical course for 2009.


Erik Hersman – Ushahidi, community and strategy
David Kobia – Ushahidi, lead dev
Juliana Rotich – Ushahidi, projects and user experience
Henry Addo (Ghana) – Ushahidi, core architecture, projects
Ken Banks (UK) – FrontlineSMS founder
Brian Muita (Kenya) – Java, tech hub manager
Patrick Meier – Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, conflict early warning expert
Andrew Turner – Mapping, neo-geography expert
Chris Blow – Usability, user experience expert and Swift River
Soyapi Mumba (Malawi) – Front-end map interface, Javascript
Caleb Bell – Web designer, Ushahidi admin area
Morad Rayyan (Qatar) – End-user (Al Jazeera)
Ka-Ping Lee – Google.org dev, PFIF
Sean Gourley – Mathematician, predictive algorithms
Kaushal Jhalla – Swift River project manager

Items discussed

There were two main thrusts for the meeting. First, the current focus on getting Ushahidi to Beta. Items discussed included everything from finalizing the installer process (and simplifying it), to page load times, map tile caching and subscribing to alerts.

The second was areas of future growth that we’ll be working on in the coming year. This is where we discussed how Ushahidi can fit into the microblogging and mobile social networks, Insta-wikis, Swift River and how we can work with voice and other projects like Huridocs and Sahana.

Next steps

Ken trying to make... something

We not only covered each of these areas as concepts, but we broke into smaller groups to outline the actual next steps in getting the project moved further.

  • User experience
  • Incoming news streams
  • Offline capability
  • Swift River
  • Core architecture

This week Henry, Brian, Soyap, David and myself are spending the week together working on the most critical items on our to-do list for beta release. Others, like Kaushal, Andrew and Chris are taking Swift River to the prototype stage.


  1. Great Update, it looks like Ushahidi has assembled a much better technical team than most well funded tech startups. Looking forward to the Beta.

  2. Great update indeed. Good to see my home boy, Soyapi, in the thick of things again. Keep it up guys 🙂

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