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Tag: Ushahidi

Ushahidi is working!

TEMPORARY POST:  I couldn’t post this on the forum and it is late.  So here it is for people working in the next few hours.

FIRST, please note that I am no expert.  Just stubborn and two days of searching found me this post.  I thought I had tried this before but evidently something has changed and this time it has worked.


1.  The map on my main page was not showing incidents.
2.  I was getting cache errors when I used tabs to approve/verify incidents.


1.  The problem is in the .htaccess file as usual
2.  I found this [url=] link[/url] . It links through to other sites. Coders might like to check this out for us.
3.  Precipitating Condition:  Kohana running on some versions of Apache servers
4.  Quoting now from the above link.

No input file specified’ – Kohana/htaccess Error
November 1st, 2009

When using .htaccess to remove index.php from urls in Kohana sometimes you may find yourself getting a “No Input File Specified” error. This had my head in a pickle for quite some time until I found this post.
If PHP is running on Apache as a CGI module then Apache won’t support “PATH_INFO” which is used inside Kohana (CodeIgniter too).
There’s a simple fix, edit the .htaccess file and replace the last line like so:

#RewriteRule .* index.php/$0 [PT,L]
RewriteRule ^(.+)$ index.php?kohana_uri=$1 [L]


1.  For other noobes lik me, first make a copy of your existing .htaccess file with a different name such as original.htaccess.  (Just in case you want to go back to it.)

2  Open the .htaccess file in Wordpad (not Notepad which lays out in a continuous thread.)  Be careful. Detail matters.

3. Read down the file and note that our .htaccess has some stuff after this Rewrite rule.  We are not working on our last line. Look For the Rewrite rule similar to the first line of the couplet above.

4. Now edit. Add a # to the existing Rewrite Rule to turn it into a comment.

5.  Then cut and paste the second line of from the couplet above.  It should look like the couplet above.

6.  Save and run.


I hope so.  A lot of my bugs a gone. I can see a few left but I can see my incidents on the front page (yay) and I am basically functional.


I don’t know if this will work without changing the API.  I had already replaced mine.

I am running on ‘localhost’ so when I went to get a Google API, I typed in http://localhost/mysitename.

Again for noobes, on my own computer mysitename is at c://wamp/www/mysitename and all the Ushahidi files are in that folder.  e.g., c://wamp/www/mysitename/application.


# Turn on URL rewriting
RewriteEngine On

# Installation directory
RewriteBase /mysitename/

# Protect application and system files from being viewed
RewriteRule ^(application|modules|system) – [F,L]

# Prevent schedulers from being accessed remotely
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^$
RewriteRule ^.*/scheduler/.*$ – [F,L]

# Allow any files or directories that exist to be displayed directly
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

`# Rewrite all other URLs to index.php/URL`
# RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php/$0 [PT,L]
RewriteRule ^(.+)$ index.php?kohana_uri=$1 [L]

# Protect the htaccess from being viewed
<Files .htaccess>
order allow,deny
deny from all`

# Don’t show directory listings for URLs which map to a directory.
Options -Indexes


The problem is caused by Kohana running on some Apache servers and is fixed by modifying a Rewrite rule in your .htaccess file.

Check Lines 2, 4 from top are correct (carefully) and edit lines 8&9 from the bottom (not counting blank lines).


It’s close to midnight here.  I’ll check in first thing in the morning to see if I can help anyone who is still stuck.


Thanks eyedol for your quick response to our tweet today and to Charlie for working together this evening!  Hope to see your on Dreamhost soon!

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Step 3: Get Ushahidi going in your community – install the code (about 1 hour)


Ushahidi is the white label for Crowdsourcing Crisis Information.  It was originally thrown together to track electoral violence in Kenya in 2008 and its founders have made it available for all communities.

6 broadbrush steps for installing Ushahidi

I’m documenting what I am doing to get it up and running in non-geeky language – and hopefully clearly – but I am writing as I go. You are about to catch up with me.

Step 1: Download WAMP to turn your PC into a local server.  The instructions are on LifeHacker.  The rest of you computer is unaffected.

Step2: Get the code from Ushahidi

Step3: Install Ushahidi (looks complicated but an hour’s uninterrupted concentration will do you)

What you have already: WAMP

  • At this point you should have WAMP running on your computer.  You should see a little half-shell in your systems tray.  You will also have discovered by now that you must left click and select “Start all services” to make it work.   Go to Localhost at the top and you should see the wikipedia that you created.

What you have already: Ushahidi Code

  • You also downloaded the Ushahidi code.  Where is it?  Maybe you created a directory under c://wamp/www/ushahidi ?

Prepping: Set up a sub-directory in your server root directory

  • We will begin by making another directory to contain all the code for the website.  Think of your domain name and create a directory c://wamp/www/yourdomainname

Prepping: Create a database

  • This is the similar to the database you set up for your wiki.
  • Left click the WAMP ‘shell’ icon in the system tray and go to localhost.  Select phpmyadmin.
  • Look for the input form in the middle that says ‘Create a new database’.  Enter “yourdomainname” with the quotes.
  • Look for “privileges”. Select.  Check the privileges for both “root” and the “username” you set up for yourself when you made your wiki are to yes.
  • Check your database list. You should see yourdomainname there.
  • To keep yourself working smoothly, write down the name of the database, your username and your password.  These will be different from the name and password you get into the Ushahidi website.  (Think website and database as two separate places that speak to each other.)

Prepping:  Unzip the Ushahidi files

  • Now unzip the Ushahidi files into the directory it is in, or, into c://wamp/www/yourdomainname. It doesn’t matter where for now as long as you remember where you sent them.
  • This should take 10-20 seconds.
  • Now copy everything in the sub-directory Ushahidi into c://wamp/www/yourdomainname.  In geek-language, we are putting the code in the root directory.

Prepping: Check your PHP extensions

  • Before you go on, there are four little things you must check on you WAMP server. Left click on the shell, go to PHP settings and then PHP extensions.  Go down the list and make sure the following are “on”.  Mine are marked with an arrow: php_curl, php_mbstring, php_gdr, and php_mcrypt.

Prepping: Thinking about you website users

  • What is the name of your website?  Maybe it is the same as yourdomainname or maybe the label at the top left of the first page will be different?  You can have two names or you can use the same one.  This is choice about communication not a requirement within the Ushahidi platform.
  • What is the tagline for your website?
  • What email address will you use on the front page of the website for people to contact you?  It is visible so maybe set up a fresh gmail account.  You may have a second password now.  Write them all down!

Installing Ushahidi

  • At last! You are ready to install. Go to your browser (Firefox) and type http://localhost/yourdomainname/installer
  • Choose “basic” and we are going to fill in some information.
  • Ushahidi will have found yourdomainname and entered it for you.  If you want to change it (see 5 bullets up), then do that now.
  • Enter your tagline (required).
  • Enter your (very) public email address.
  • Now enter the name of your database (that you set up above).  And the username you use for databases and your database password (all set up on Step 1).

And you are done!

  • You should see a fresh installation of Ushahidi in your browser at http://localhost/yourdomainname.
  • Go to http://localhost/yourdomainname/admin (remember this for future login’s).
  • Enter admin for user and password (don’t forget these.  Why not write them down with the usernames and passwords for your email and your database?)
  • Well done!  You can explore now.  Don’t change anything yet.  You are tired and you might make a mess.  I did and had to pull everything off and start again.  Now is the time to think about what your new site is for and what you want it to accomplish.

HELP:  If you have got stuck, leave me a comment.  Within the limits of my competence, I’m happy to try to help.

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Step 2: Get Ushahidi going in your community – get the code

Now the easy bit.  Get the code for Ushahidi.  Five minutes work and the possibility of a day or two elapsed time while you wait for the link.

  1. Go to the Ushahidi download website.
  2. Email Ushahidi saying why you want to use the platform.
  3. When they send you a link, download a zip file and store it wherever you store downloads.  Alternatively go to the C:\wamp/www directory that you made when you set up your local host, create a directory called c:\wamp/www/ushahidi and store the zip file there.

All done.

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Step 1: Get Ushahidi going in your community – turn your pc into a localhost

Step-by-step instructions for setting up Ushahidi for your own community

I am setting up Ushahidi for a community and recording what I do step-by-step in the hope that other non-geeks like myself will find it easier to follow.


USHAHIDI is a crowdsourcing crisis information website that is available on an white label.  You can download it and customize it for your own community.

Set up a local host on your PC as a development environment

If you have never done this before, the first step you must get done, before you do anything else is to set up a “local host” on your PC.

What do you need?

You need nothing more than your ordinary household pc with an internet connection.

Broadbrush steps and jargon

To set up a local host on your PC, you are going to download a WAMP server that runs with Apache, MySQL and PHP.  This is a commonplace procedure used by anyone who develops a website on on their own PC before they move it to a public host in what is called a production environment -that is, a publicly accessible website.  Your local host will be your development environment.

Follow LifeHacker‘s instructions to make a WAMP servier

To make your WAMP server, I am going to refer you to an old post on LifeHacker.  That is what I used and it works just fine.  It will show you how to develop a wiki on your own computer.  That’s fine.  You will learn the whole process and a wiki on your own PC is useful for notes you need when you don’t have an internet connection.

So step one:  Make a “local host” so you can develop a website off line.  I am sending you to Lifehacker for instructions. Follow them carefully and in one hour or less you should have a working wikipedia on your PC.

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6 broadbrush steps for getting Ushahidi going for your community

Disaster happens in a moment

Breaking news in 2010 were the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. They happen suddenly.  They are disastrous.  They bring ruin for families.   We feel dreadful from afar and that is nothing to what the people in their midst suffer.

Ushahidi: Crowdsourcing Crisis Information

USHAHIDI is a platform that allows ordinary people to pool information about what is happening, who needs help and who can help.

Iwas developed ‘on the fly’ to report electoral violence in Kenya in 2008.  The Ushahidi team have since developed the platform and made it available as a white label for other communities to use.

You can see it here raising money for Haiti, monitoring elections in Norway, and cleaing snow in Washington, DC.

It needs a little IT know-how to use, but it is not beyond the skills of any household PC user.

6 broad brush steps for getting Ushahidi going for your community

This is the first of a series of posts showing you how to use Ushahidi.

I am going to assume you have  similar IT knowledge to me and step you through the steps as simply as possible.

I am currently upto Step 3. So bear my noobe status in mind and chip in, if you wish.

What you need to get started with Ushahidi

  • An ordinary household PC or laptop running Windows
  • An internet connection.

Later on you will need a website to host Ushahidi for the public.   If you don’t have a website address, or domain name, you might like to think of one, register it and arrange for hosting.  But one thing at a time!  Look at these 6 steps and see what is involved.

6 broad brush steps for getting Ushahidi going for your community

Step 1: Before we download Ushahdi, download software to allow you to develop your website on your PC.  In IT parlance, create a “localhost” on your PC.

Step 2: Ask Ushahidi if you can use their software.  They will send you a link.

Step 3: Install Ushahidi on your PC.

Step 4: Customoize Ushahidi for your community.

Step 5: Launch your version of Ushahidi on a public server that can be accessed by the public.

Step 6: Mobilize your community.

Get started early

You can see that if you intend to use Ushahidi to help with emergency-responses, you should probably have it all set up in advance and have practiced using it in simpler, less stressful circumstances.

Some very obvious applications would be organize something like Comic Relief.  I am sure you will think of others.

Next post will be to set up your PC as a local host.

Disclaimer:  I am up to Step 3 – so bear that in mind!

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