Lamu, KenyA / ©2012 Evan Sims

One year later …

Throwing caution to the wind and building a dream.

Evan Sims
Evan Sims
May 6, 2013 · 4 min read

Last year Brian Herbert, Brandon Rosage and I met up in California and on a whim asked ourselves: ignoring what we know Crowdmap to be today, what would our ideal crowdsourced mapping service look like? As it turns out, we’d all already been considering this question for a while in our own heads, and our conclusions were strikingly similar.

  1. It would put a strong emphasis on users and their content. That content would be presented in a big, beautiful fashion and delivered front and center to visitors — people want to know what’s going on as it happens.

As we excitedly scribbled these goals into our iPads, it amazed me how quickly this vision was solidifying. We could build this. We should build this. And so, we set out to do just that. After our few days in California, we returned to our respective locations across the globe and began our work.

Brian approached the Ushahidi leadership about the concept, who I can only assume initially thought us insane. After all, we were proposing replacing an existing, well established service that’s popular with the crisismapping community for something completely new and untested. It was no small ask, and I’d have called us nuts. But, after a bit of convincing, they told us to follow through with this and see where it led us. I cannot understate the amazing level of trust was awarded to us on this endeavor, and I can’t thank them enough for this.

The year of development flew by faster than any of us expected, and work proceeded at an incredible pace. We looked to our peers in the space as we designed our API — what we felt was being done right and what wasn’t — and learned a lot in the process. We went through several iterations of the frontend, each more refined and impressive than it’s predecessor. We faced a lot of challenges, but came out the other side as better developers and designers for it.

Here we are a year later, and opening up the beta publically for the first time today. It’s a pretty amazing feat, especially in light of our team’s size. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished, and satisfied with the fact that in the end, we stayed true to our original vision. We have delivered a product that met all of our hopes, and beta testers seem to be thrilled with it. You can’t ask for more than that.

We aren’t totally done yet. There’s still lots to fix, and features we want to add. But I hope you’ll join us in shaping Crowdmap’s future. The adventure is just beginning.

Thank you to everyone at Ushahidi for supporting this crazy vision, and giving us the freedom, resources and love to build it. There is no greater bunch of people out there I could hope to work with.

    Evan Sims

    Written by

    Evan Sims

    Co-founder/Engineer @DroveioHQ. ⚡️ Builds delightful software with purpose and principle. 💜 good coffee, bad puns. ✌ Be kind, do good.