Has "snowmageddon" 2010 got you down? Did that snowplow make a wall of snow, ice and grime as tall as your SUV and you don't have a shovel? Or are you just sick of sitting around the house?
Ushahidi, the crowdmapping tool originally developed to track elections in Kenya, has created two websites for both New York City and Boston to help with the clean-up, dig out stuck vehicles, and assist with impromptu snowball fights.
In the past, you might have heard of Ushahidi being used for much more grave and serious purposes, such as when it was used to help coordinate emergency aid operations for Haiti earthquake victims.
The website offers a simple form to let users seek or offer help, providing a number of categories from "plows needed" to "cleanup party" to "snowblower available" and more. Simply pin point your location on the map, give it a title and description, and you're good to go.
Ryan Ozimek, CEO of PICnet and the developer behind both clean-up sites, was also behind a similar effort last February in D.C.. He said that they were able to take the best practices from that site and roll out two sites for New York and Boston "in less than a few hours."
"After the DC blizzard, we received some outreach from local governments that are looking to have systems readied for neighbor-to-neighbor first-responder type connections after a disaster or crisis," said Ozimek. "With Ushahidi, any time you want to bring a community together to crowdsource incidents (time x place x activity), you'll be using the right tool."
Ozimek says PICnet has also been in talks with a major U.S. newspaper about using Ushahidi to plot the locations and times for non-profit volunteering opportunities, to make it easier for people to volunteer on a "drop-on" basis. The tool would make the connection between those looking to volunteer and those needing volunteers real-time.
So, if you have a car that's impossibly snowed in or you just want to burn some of that energy that's built up from being stuck inside for the last 24 hours, just head on over to SnowmageddonCleanUp for both NYC and Boston and see what your fellow city-dwellers have to offer.