Hi class,

I have just learned about Harrasmap, a map to the service of urban living issues in Egypt. Women who experience sexual harassment while walking the streets of Cairo will soon have a way to use Twitter to fight back. Harrasmap will collect tweeted or texted reports of whistles and other unwanted harassment; the data will be used to generate a real-time map of the city showing areas that might be unsafe for women. With 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of female foreign residents saying they have experienced harassment in Cairo, the site’s founders say they hope the service will help victims realize that they aren’t alone. (Read the full press release here).

While reading this article, I remember a user-generated project that serves a similar purpose in my country: the “mapa de la inseguridad” (Map of Unsafe Areas) – “made for and by the people”.

Crimespotting is an interactive map of crimes in San Francisco and Oakland (“This project is not affiliated with the City of Oakland or the Oakland Police Department. We use data obtained from CrimeWatch, Oakland’s community mapping website”).

Are these helpful tools for understanding crime in cities? Do these living archives work as sources for intelligent action? Are governments implementing solutions based on learning gathered from these user-generated initiatives?

What do you think?