Oil Reporter mobile app puts tracking the spill in the hands of the crowd

Oil Reporter mobile app puts tracking the spill in the hands of the crowd

Oil Reporter is a free new iPhone and Android app that allows crowdsourced reporting of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Built using Appcelerator by volunteers and organizations committed to open source apps for good causes, including Crisis Commons, Intridea and Github, the app allows anyone to document the spill from the shore (or a boat if you have one) right from a smartphone. Users will be able to post and view reports on Twitter and answer the following questions:

What do you see?” (a picture can be taken and attached)

How much oil do you see?” (with a slider from 1 to 10, 1 being clear water, 10 being thick oil)

Mark as urgent?” (yes or no)

All reports will include a GPS location (for phones with GPS, which of course with smartphones is most phones) and will be directed to a database run by San Diego State University that will be accessible to anyone that wants to use the data. For example, there are multiple crowdsourced mapping efforts of the spill going on, including Google’s Crisis Response site for the spill and this Ushahidi map.

Major NGOs, private organizations (including BP) and local, state and the US federal government that are  involved in the cleanup effort could use the data to direct supplies and volunteers to areas most affected by the spill.

The app is by the same group of people that quickly built the Tradui Haitian to English translation iPhone app days after the Haiti earthquake. Here’s what the iPhone app looks like:

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