rDigital News: Crowdsourced maps, custom timelines, and bitcoin travellers

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Crowdsourced maps made headlines as volunteer mapmakers help aid workers bring relief to Typhoon Haiyan victims. Twitter introduces custom timelines on Tweetdeck while a couple made news for travelling around the world for 101 days — entirely on bitcoin.

Crowdsourced maps help Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts

Aid workers bringing relief to victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan can now look to OpenStreetMap (OSM) for help. Hundreds of volunteers have added almost a million additions to an online map of the Philippines, allowing workers on the ground to be more efficient.

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OSM was started in 2004 as a free, editable map of the world — a sort of Wikipedia of maps, according to Mashable.

The value of crowdsourcing data has been a constant debate, but OSM seems to be a true mass collaboration that is directly affecting lives in a positive way.

The online world is often pegged as responsible for disengaging us from the world outside our digital bubbles. But as we’ve seen with crisis situations like Haiti, Syria, and now the Philippines–the Internet can help us mobilize and better equip us to help.

Check out our conversation with Jeff Howe on crowdsourcing.

Custom Twitter timelines introduced on Tweetdeck

Twitter has announced that it will start letting you create custom timelines on Tweetdeck based on hashtags, phrases, or keywords. The new feature will essentially allow users to curate data tailored to their specific interests and each stream will live on its own page on Twitter to make it searchable.


Twitter’s Brian Ellin says the customization allows”…you have the opportunity to create a timeline that surfaces what you believe to be the most noteworthy, relevant tweets.”

But this raises the issue of information isolation. Is the information you deem relevant the only information you should be paying attention to?

Couple travels the world using bitcoin

Bitcoin travel life on BitcoinA U.S. couple set out on a tricontinental adventure for 101 days by living on bitcoin alone.

Bitcoin is the digital currency which was created in 2009 but has only been receiving considerable buzz in the past year. It is currently valued at $400 per bitcoin.

Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham-Craig paid for everything–from food, gas, and rent–in bitcoin, proving that we can survive off virtual cash.

Despite great promise, the number one question for many is still: how do we spend it on day to day living? How does a digital currency translate into real life goods?

For more on Bitcoin, watch our interview with Jesse Hirsh.


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