BBC uses Crowdmap during London Underground strike

byDana Liebelson
Sep 10, 2010 in Digital Journalism

A strike by tube workers this week inconvenienced millions of Londoners, but for BBC London it was the perfect opportunity to test drive a new open source mapping project.

During the 24-hour strike, BBC collected public tweets, texts and audio reports about disruptions, and plotted them on Ushahidi’s Crowdmap. The map, which could be filtered by types of transportation, then provided a citywide overview of where Londoners were having the most trouble, and why.

The sources used during peak times came from Twitter, an SMS console, email, Audioboo and the BBC London Facebook page. Researchers vetted and verified reports before plotting them on Crowdmap.

Claire Wardle, who set up the project for BBC, wrote that she had originally chosen Google Maps as the default mapping tool, but had more success with Open Street Map, which was created by a London nonprofit organization. Upon reflection of the test, Wardle wrote: “We created a map that at many points during the day was more accurate than the Transport for London website…and, most importantly, it was built by the people of London.”

The map had more than 18,000 unique visitors during the strike.

To view the map, go to http://tubestrike.crowdmap.com/main