Omaha Public Radio News
Sat December 17, 2011
From Montana to St. Louis, Mighty MO project keeps track of Missouri River flooding
By Katie Schubert
Omaha, NE – A project by an Omaha social media analyst to bring Missouri River flood reports together resulted in more than 250 location-specific updates during the flood threat.
Dr. Chris Augeri created the Mighty MO River project, which operated from June to September of this year. It used what's known as crowdsourcing to pull reports from the Corps of Engineers, law enforcement, media, and disaster response agencies in to one site. The reports were matched with locations, and sent out via social media outlets.
Augeri says the project grew in to a collaboration on six continents with many volunteers. "Over time we ended up with about 200 reports, we had a team that was distributed across the United States, and really one way to look at it is as what a next generation Wikipedia might look like, especially during a dynamic event. In the case of a flood, we had evacuation orders, sandbagging requests, all sorts of things."
The project involved gathering reports from throughout the Missouri River basin, from Montana to Saint Louis. Augeri says he hopes the Mighty MO project will become a model for disaster relief agencies and law enforcement to use during major events. The platform used, called Ushahidi, has also been used to crowdsource reports on events such as the Norway attacks and the impact of Hurricane Irene.
The Mighty MO River project is online at mightymoriver.crowdmap.com.