Mobile Technology, Crowdsourcing and Peace Mapping: New Theory and Applications for Conflict Management

  • Jessica Heinzelman
  • Rachel Brown
  • Patrick Meier
Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 2)


This chapter develops a conceptual framework to highlight how mobile technologies can play a role in preventing, resolving and containing conflict. The rapid and worldwide proliferation of mobile phones means that access to mobile communication is far higher than access to the Internet. We draw on The Third Side (3S) framework for conflict management to demonstrate how mobile technology, crowdsourcing and crisis mapping can be leveraged to promote peace. The 3S framework was developed by Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation (PON) to democratize conflict management. The approach is designed to empower community stakeholders to prevent, resolve and/or contain potentially violent conflict. In both low intensity and high intensity conflict situations, the ability to respond quickly and effectively can significantly improve outcomes and reduce risks of escalating violence. We apply the 3S to Ushahidi’s crisis mapping platform and suggest Peace Mapping as a powerful tool to engage and empower individuals to manage conflict in their communities. Ushahidi is a free and open source platform used for crowdsourcing crisis information and crisis mapping. The purpose of Ushahidi is to democratize the collection and documentation of crisis information. The chapter articulates a theoretical approach for the use of mobile technologies in grassroots peace building.


Mobile Technology Conflict Management Violent Conflict Collective Action Problem Destructive Conflict 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Sisi ni Amani in conjunction with Digital Democracy and Building Bridges in conjunction with Butterfly Works for promoting the vision of peace mapping in Kenya, empowering the third side and bringing fresh ideas and new lessons to the field.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Heinzelman
    • 1
  • Rachel Brown
    • 2
  • Patrick Meier
    • 3
  1. 1.The Fletcher SchoolTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of International RelationsSisi ni Amani & Tufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  3. 3.Program on Liberation TechnologyUshahidi & Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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