A group called the "Louisiana Bucket Brigade" is using open source software Ushahidi to give a voice to residents of the Gulf Coast so that they can document how the oil spill is threatening their livelihoods and ecosystems.
What they're doing is building an online map to report the effects of the BP oil submitted via text message, email, Twitter and the Web.
This is what people mean when they say "crowdsourcing."
According to the group's website, "Reports of oil sightings, affected animals, odors, health effects and human factor impacts made by the eyewitnesses and the media populate points on a this public, interactive, web based map. The information will be used to provide data about the impacts of the spill in real time as well as document the story of those that witness it."
Reports can be submitted in four ways.
1. Send a text message to (504) 272-6645.
2. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send a Twitter tweet with the hashtag #BPspillmap
4. Fill out the group's online Web form