Self Determined Participatory Action of Marginalized Groups: The streets of São Paulo

list of necessary Hardware and Software

 (clique aqui para a versão portuguese)

The following list shows the hard- and software necessary for building up the necessary infrastructure for the research/field work.


second hand Desktop or Laptop

  • with network and USB connection
  • low hardware requirements
  • a Desktop can be assembled from spare

second hand mobile phone

  • with USB data connection
  • capable of receiving sms
  • capable of receiving mms [optional]

pre-paid sim card for mobile phone

  • ie. Tim Pré-Pago, Oi Cartão, etc

USB data cable

  • in order to connect mobile phone with computer

charger for mobile phone [optional]

  • mobile phone may be charged via USB

sd-card reader [optional]

  • provides possibilities to copy media
    from cameras and other mobile phones to the computer
  • must support micro-sd, sd, etc


The necessary software is supposed to be free software only. No proprietary software will be used. 

operating system

mapping and reporting platform

  • Ushahidi 
    • runs on computer and provides means
      to display a digital map and to insert received reports into that map
  • FlickrMaps [optional]
    • Flickr provides mapping functionality with geotagged images
    • pros
      • images can be uploaded under creative commons licence
      • is super popular thus a wide audience can be reached. flicr may not be usable for analysis but can be used as one means of publication, raising public awareness
    • cons
      • is limited to pictures and corresponding text description, thus no videos or text only can be uploaded
      • doesn’t offer a timeline in order to perceive changes over time
      • is owned by yahoo thus is subject to their terms of usageand depends on their infrastructure
      • can only be used with internet connection

SMS gateway software

  • FrontlineSMS 
  • automatic download of SMS to the computer from the mobile phone
    that is connected to it
  • automatic forwarding of received SMS content to Ushahidi
  • can send SMS as well [optional]


  • ie. Firefox
  • in order to display and use Ushahidi


  • XAMPP package 
  • necessary to host Ushahidi on computer
    locally and thus providing the means to display and use Ushahidi in browser

caching server [optional]

  • ie. polipo  proxy/caching server
  • if no internet connection is
    available this caching server provides the parts of the digital map
    that are normally downloaded from internet directly


Ushahidi can make use of various maps
such as googlemaps or openstreetmap.



  • has good map information in terms of
    available streets and satellite images
  • seems to be better supported by
  • is free of charge to use


  • is provided by G00gle thus the map is
    not free in terms of free software
  • cannot be edited in case the provided
    geo information is wrong or not available



  • is free of charge to use
  • is editable in case of missing geo
    information such as streets
  • is community based
  • is free in terms of free software


  • doesn’t provide full street
    information of São Paulo. For example street information of Zona
    or Zona Sul are only partly available or not at all (missing information can be added easily anyways)
  • doesn’t provide satellite images
  • is not that good supported by

More information about the methodology
of the case study

Category: case studies, methods and tools, thesis


Comments are closed.

open access bibliography and sources

all literature references at rtc@zotero.org

open access thesis repository

all thesis Tex documents at rtc@github.com

opens maps

open map editing at

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