A screenshot of the Abena map
Since Wednesday afternoon, Sudan’s internet has been sporadically shut off amid a fifth day of protests against President Omar al Bashir’s regime. Despite the attempt to cut off communications and limit organization and reporting on the ground, a group of tech-savvy people based in Khartoum have developed a map for recording key data about the protests that’s powered by cell networks.
Called the Abena crowd map, the map is the product of Mohammed Hashim Saleh and Abeer Khairy, engineers both, and Ahmed Hassan, the co-founder of Khartoum Geeks. In the short amount of time the internet was on yesterday, they deployed the map, which follows events on the ground in Sudan with direct reports.
SMS messages are connected automatically with the Ushahidi-based crowdmapping platform, Saleh told me. Activists, some in-country (who work when possible) and the rest outside, login and check the messages. They are then doubled checked with news sources and social media before being finally confirmed and mapped. The crew has also been manually updating the platform.