Those are some of the tools, platforms and projects I am familiar with, I have used or studied or I am just very interested in. I will update this list from time to time and add now interesting tools!
Software for SMS management:
FrontlineSMS is an open source software that turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a central communications hub. Once installed, the program enables users to send and receive text messages with groups of people through mobile phones. The system does not require an Internet connection but it is a laptop-based system, so it can be used on the road or during power outages. FrontlineSMS works with the existing plan on all GSM phones, modems and networks. Technically you only need a phone with a SIM card, and a cable, and you pay your local operator per Local SMS as usual.
RapidSMS is a free and open-source framework for dynamic data collection, logistics coordination and communication, allowing any mobile phone to interact with the web via SMS text messages. RapidSMS is compatible with even the most basic mobile phones, leveraging already existing infrastructure so that it can be replicated and scaled up. RapidSMS is able to merge completely different real-time data sets, such as child malnutrition surveillance and ready-to-use therapeutic food supplies offering an analysis of complex environments. The tool require much more training than FrontlineSMS, but it offers more comparative advantages in terms of quantity and quality of information reportable, considering that the analisys of the data is done by the tool and not by the receiver.
Souktel is a web-based application/web service. It can be managed online or by SMS from a mobile handset–so people in different locations can all use it together and it is not tied to a single computer and handset. It’s SMS-based, so it works on any basic phone handset. It’s connected directly to national mobile network gateways, so partners can send thousands of messages instantly without problems. No USB modems required. It’s custom-built to meet specific project needs: We work directly with partners to integrate apps into your website, your project activities, and your community. It’s developed by people in crisis zones, for people in crisis zones: All apps are created in Palestine for use in Gaza, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and other hard-to-access regions. It’s deliberately designed for Arabic-script languages like Standard Arabic, Urdu, Kurdish and Farsi (but all apps work in English script too)
Grundcrew is a platform for coordinative text messaging to run field operations, volunteering, or events. Groundcrew offers features that non-profits, businesses, local communities, and individuals can use to mobilize support, simplify logistics, motivate actions, and respond quickly as situations arise. The software allows for rally community members around a particular issue, gather them in real life squads, mobilize and address these squads in real-time, coordinate them spatially, as individuals or in groups.
TextMark is a commercial tool and a web-based application/web service. TextMarks owns the shortcode 41411, and allows you to make use of the shortcode with a given keyword. When users send messages to 41411 with your keyword, messages can either be forwarded to everyone subscribed to that keyword message-list, or to a webpage (issues a http request which can be handled programmatically if desired) which can be used to send auto-responses back. You can also broadcast SMSs to all subscribers.
IQSMS is a free software using SMS data in a predetermined format. Information is sent to a dedicated central laptop connected to Motorola mobile phones. The IQSMS software aggregates incoming SMS reports into an SQL database. Automated data quality checks, business rules and immediate notifications are sent to users ensuring that only validated data is added to the database. Aggregated PMTCT data is instantly available to district, regional and national managers based on role views.
Tapatio performs three main functions: – Automatically accepts SMS (text message) reports from people participating in an event. – Allows operators to categorize those reports according to topic and importance, and to rate their reliability. – Sends out selected reports to event participants via SMS. Currently all SMS communication happens through Twitter. This means that everyone who wants to receive SMS from tapatio must have a Twitter account.
Cellphones for HIV is a project of Cell-Life, which uses mobile technology to strengthen the HIV sector. It is an open source mobile messaging platform. It is a Web-based system that allows you to manage communications via mobile phone using a range of mobile technologies: broadcast SMS, interactive keyword SMS, SMS subscribe and unsubscribe, static USSD, and interactive USSD. Future releases will include interactive voice recording (IVR), location-based services, WAP and voicemail push (where a recorded voicemail is sent to people’s phones).
TxtAlert is a messaging tool that uses SMS reminders to encourage patients on ART (Anti-Retroviral Treatment) to attend their doctor appointments regularly. The tool works with hospital/clinic medical records system to draw patient data and appointment dates from the system, then sends personal SMS reminders to patients.
Brodcasting Audio File via SMS/Internet:
Asterisk is known for not being the simplest technology from a UX perspective. Asterisk is basically an automatic call center making use of a special card you put into the server. It is far from intuitive to make this happen and more or less requires a dedicated server. There are 2-3 hosting providers allowing this (all in the US but you will have international calling fees. Setting this up on a box on your own even on a Linux tower at home is ok but will require a static IP for you to make anything efficient happen.
The Freedom Fone platform enables automated, interactive two-way information to be shared through mobile phone networks via SMS and voice. It is accessible, user-friendly, low-cost, scalable, global and does not require Internet access for users and callers alike. Freedom Fone targets ordinary mobile phone users and takes advantage of IVR: Interactive Voice Response or audio voice menus. Other functionality includes SMS, Polls and Leave-a-Message. Freedom Fone is easy to manage via a user-friendly, browser based interface. It is quick to setup and maintain and does not require a great deal of technical know-how.
AudioTagger uses the sound recorder in mobile phones to capture sound in urban spaces. The audio file is then mapped using Google Maps to visualize the location of the audio tags. AudioTagger is a momentary exploration of urban space, using mobile technology to captures a sonic moment. Anybody with a data-enabled mobile phone can participate and contribute to AudioTagger’s exploration of the environment, using the mobile phone as a field recorder. Key Features are Mobile email-enabled and Broadcasts SMS.
Robocall is a term for an automated phone call that uses both a computerized autodialer and a computer-delivered pre-recorded message. The implication is that a “robocall” resembles a telephone call from a robot. Robocalls are often associated with political and telemarketing phone campaigns, but can also be used for public-service or emergency announcements.
Google Voice is a telecommunications service by Google launched on March 11, 2009 and normally available only to US residents. The service is configured and maintained by the user in a web-based application, styled after Google’s e-mail service, Gmail. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-PC voice (and, optionally, also video) calling worldwide between users of the Google Voice and Video Chat browser plugin and free PC-to-phone calls into North America.
twitwoop lets you send voice messages into your Twitter account with a phone call. You call one of our worldwide landline numbers, leave a voice message and you’re done. Voice messages from that number will then be posted to the Twitter timeline.
This is a new app on Facebook called Voicetag that lets you send voicemail messages to individuals or groups. This app works with regular phones and incorporates SMS messages. You select a Facebook contact you want to leave a voice message for (or you can set up group aliases), and add an optional text message. Then, instead of using a computer microphone, you enter the number where you are at and Voicetag calls you. After leaving your message, the recipient gets a notification via Facebook and can play the Voicetag from his or her browser. You can also leave messages to groups from your cell phone by texting Voicetag. It will then call back your cell phone and you can leave a message. The service is free for now.
DialMyCalls lets everyone tap into the power of sending voice messages out to entire phone lists in seconds. No messing around with expensive equipment or calling servers – now you can send your own voice messages from 2 to 20,000 phone numbers all within a few minutes.
With virtual mobile numbers, for each incoming SMS or Call our system can automatically: forward incoming SMS to your email address, forward incoming SMS to your ‘real’ mobile phone (as text), forward incoming SMS to any phone as Text-to-Speech, forward incoming SMS to any Group of SMS recipients, submit incoming SMS via HTTP to the URL on your server for further processing, transfer incoming Voice Calls to your ‘real’ phone number. SMSmatrix also provide custom software development for all SMS/Voice related projects, and integrate SMS Matrix mobile solutions with your system.
Call-Center-Text can Send calls to a large group of call recipients is a communications technique that is gaining popularity, particularly with targeted phone audiences such as clients or with members of a community during an emergency alert. Emergency messages can be delivered to community members in the event of a disaster that affects a large number of individuals. Voice messages can be sent to both individuals and answer machines. If the voice broadcast system detects a busy signal or there is no answer, the recorded message can be scheduled for delivery at a later time.
email2phone.net is a service that converts ordinary text email into phone alerts that can be delivered to a phone or retrieved by dialing into email2phone.net. Like ordinary email, the email2phone.net phone voice messages are highly interactive with available responses: reply-to, save, delete and skip messages. The system can be used to notify team members or staff members of severe weather conditions, postponements, cancellations or other urgent situations, or to send delivery information or special instructions to customers and delivery drivers.
The Ushahidi Platform is a free and open source project with developers hailing from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Netherlands and the USA working on it. Their goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.The Ushahidi Platform allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email, web or voice message and visualize it on a map or timeline.
OpenStreetMap (OSM) was founded in July 2004 by Steve Coast. OpenStreetMap data is published under an open content license, with the intention of promoting free use and re-distribution of the data (both commercial and non-commercial). Map data are usually collected using a GPS unit, although this isn’t strictly necessary if an area has already been traced from satellite imagery. Once the data have been collected, they are entered into the database by uploading it on the project’s website. As collecting and uploading data is separated from editing objects, contribution to the project is possible also without using a GPS unit.
HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. This freely available Web site integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news sources to curated personal accounts to validated official alerts. Through an automated text processing system, the data is aggregated by disease and displayed by location for user-friendly access to the original alert. HealthMap provides a jumping-off point for real-time information on emerging infectious diseases and has particular interest for public health officials and international travelers.
GeoCommons is a free and public version of the GeoIQ platform where anyone can contribute and share open data, easily build shareable maps and collaborate with others.Data and maps within the GeoCommons community are public and can be easily shared with other public websites and users, or embedded in other websites, blogs and wikis to be shared or can be exported via open standards. GeoCommons allows for import, export and share data and maps across a variety of standard formats such as OGC KML, GeoRSS Atom, GeoJSON, Spatialite and GeoPDF.
GeoTime is an award-winning information visualization software package distinguished by its 3D Time Viewer. GeoTime allows to simultaneously visualize geospatial, temporal and link data. GeoTime can facilitate a deeper exploration of data, driving faster, more accurate conclusions and resulting in sound decision making. Integrated within a GIS platform or as a stand-alone application, GeoTime’s advanced analytic transform raw data into actionable intelligence.
Palantir currently offer two products: Palantir Government and Palantir Finance. Both are platforms for integrating, visualizing, and analyzing information. The platforms support many kinds of data including structured, unstructured, relational, temporal, and geospatial. The two products are built for real analysis with a focus on security, scalability, ease of use, and collaboration.
MapBox hosts free custom designed map tiles, detailed documentation to help you add these tiles to your website, and open source tools for power users to make their own map tiles. We also offer paid premium tile hosting and do custom mapping work. In Winter 2011 we will launch a new version TileMill that will radically lower the barrier for making custom maps with your own data.
Managing News originated as a news aggregation and republishing platform heavily integrated with RSS/Atom. Users can track a diverse set of RSS/Atom feeds, visualize them, and republish selected reports on a platform that allows for mapping and pluggable visualizations. Managing News has subsequently added SMS functionality to the system. The system is based on Drupal, and integrates several open source projects including OpenLayers, SimplePie, and many Drupal plug-ins.
Google Map Maker is a Google Maps service that allows you add or edit features, such as roads, businesses, parks, schools and more. Using Google Map Maker tools, you can visually mark locations and add detailed information about these locations. Once you have submitted content, this information may be edited by other users or moderators. At a later time, this content may be published in Google Maps for others to see and use.
Commonly referred to as GRASS, this is free Geographic Information System (GIS) software used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization. GRASS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation.
Quantum GIS (QGIS) is a user friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) licensed under the GNU General Public License. QGIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). It runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, and Windows and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats and functionalities. It require knowledge of GIS functionalities.
SaTScan is a free software that analyzes spatial, temporal and space-time data using the spatial, temporal, or space-time scan statistics. It is designed to perform geographical surveillance of disease, to detect spatial or space-time disease clusters, and to see if they are statistically significant. SatScan allows also to test whether a disease is randomly distributed over space, over time or over space and time and to evaluate the statistical significance of disease cluster alarms, as well as to perform repeated time-periodic disease surveillance for early detection of disease outbreaks.
Sahanna is an open source disaster management system. It is a web-base data management system specifically designed for use in crisis situations. The programs has many applications which include a missing persons registry, organization registry to coordinate response between various groups, request management system, camp registry, volunteer management system, inventory management system, and a situation awareness program.
Insteed is a private organization that aims to identify requirements for enhanced information flow, better cross-sector collaboration and more effective collective action. They have developed a variety of open source technologies for development applications, including GeoChat, which allows mobile phone users to broadcast location-based alerts; Mesh4X, which allows users to share data across devices, systems, and platforms; and Riff, which uses automated processes to analyze data and provide early warnings on trends, particularly in the health field.
OpenAction develop tools to help change-makers tell a more engaging story of impact to a larger audience. Using smart technology and open data standards, the organization brings greater connectivity to the social impact space by creating something called aggregator of maps. The OpenAction map resulting from that is a comprehensive map that allows for organizations to show where they operate and on what issues, but in relation to where other organizations works. The map allows for the search of organization according to their focus and to their location, but it also allows for the visualization of the relationship between different organizations working on the same field.
DEWN uses widely available mobile communication technologies such as short messages (SMS) and cell broadcast (CB) to create a cost-effective and reliable mass alert system. The network connects mobile subscribers, police stations, religious/social community centers and the general public to a national emergency alert center.