Tool Box

Audio and Video

Audacity is a free audio recorder and editor. It can also be used to convert files from one audio format to another. It is vital tool for creating podcasts, voice over on digital stories or editing sound-bytes.

HandBrake is a ripper and converter for DVD. It is also one of the easiest ways to convert video formats.

Songbird is a free and open source software audio player and web browser, with a stated mission “to incubate Songbird, the first Web player, to catalyze and champion a diverse, open Media Web.” It is helpful in managing  music files and subscribe to podcasts. The only media player which is integrated with the Firefox web browser so you can use it to surf the internet and find audio files to download.

Jubler  is a tool to edit text-based subtitles. It can be used as an authoring software for new subtitles or as a tool to convert, transform, correct and refine existing subtitles. The most popular subtitle formats can be used.

VLC (or Video Lan Client) VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.


GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

PDFCreator easily creates PDFs from any Windows program. Use it like a printer in Word, StarCalc or any other Windows application. It creates PDFs from any program that is able to print, send generated files via email, digitally signing off PDFs to ensure that you are the author and the file has not been modified,encrypt PDFs and protect them from being opened, printed etc.

Scribus can be used to create layouts for newsletters, stationery, posters, training manuals, technical documentation, business cards and other documents that need flexible layout or sophisticated image handling. It has precise typography controls and image sizing not available in current word processors. Available for Windows, Linux and Mac.


Mozilla Firefox is considered by many to be the best internet browser available, particularly due to its security features, the global community of developers involved, and the huge range of add-on products that extend its functionality.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

WordPress makes publishing and maintaining a website/ blog incredibly easy. Whether your blog host written content or digital, it is one of the most easy-to-use platform.  Built in templates and themes are very easy to use. Setting up a blog on is hassle free and easy, in case you have your own hosting you can use two minute download settings.

Drupal allows an individual or a community of users to publish, manage and organise a wide variety of content on a website.

File Transfer Protocols (FTP)

Filezilla is a FTP allows you to upload content from your hard drive to the server that your website is hosted on; you’ll need one if you are hosting the site yourself. Filezilla is a free, open source solution.

Privacy and Security

Ninja Cloak is a free anonymous web based proxy service. With Ninja Cloak you can browse your favorite web sites anonymously and even from behind a firewall with blocked ports.It doesn’t require any downloads.

Tor Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It masks an IP address by sending the client through a series of routers (called the Tor network). It is considered one of the safest tools for anonymous browsing.

Truecrypt: The ultimate freeware encryption program, TrueCrypt is loaded with powerful features that users concerned with protecting data from prying eyes will find robust and comprehensive.t has 11 algorithms for encrypting your private files in a password-protected volume. You can store your encrypted data in files (containers) or partitions (devices). TrueCrypt works hard to offer powerful data protection, recommending complex passwords, explaining the benefits of hidden volumes, and erasing telltale signs of the encryption process, including mouse movements and keystrokes.
Ultrasurfis privacy software that routes the user through proxy servers. This helps users stay anonymous online and access blocked sites. It is popular in China for evading government censors.

Recuva: is a free tool for data recovery, can recover lost data, data from damaged disk and lost partitions.Recuva recovers files deleted from your Windows computer, Recycle Bin, digital camera card, or MP3 player. And it’s free!

Community Building Tools

Vokle lets you can host your own interactive town halls on the web.  Users with a webcam and microphone can host discussions where users “call in” on their own computers, like a radio show.

SPIP is a publishing system for websites. This content management system emphasizes user-created templates and plugins. It allows a community of users to collaborate online, creating and developing content. SPIP is designed for “magazine” type sites, where content is organized into distinct sections.

All Our Ideas is a platform that enables groups to collect and prioritize ideas in a transparent, democratic and bottom up way.  Organizations use All Our Ideas to set up questionaires about supporter preferences, and then react accordingly.

The Mideast Youth Widget Generator is an easy-to-use tool to generate a widget for your campaign website — widgets are great ways to increase and maintain awareness of an arrested activist, journalist or blogger.

Mobile SMS

FrontlineSMS is an open source software that turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a central communications hub. Once installed, the program enables users to send and receive text messages with groups of people through mobile phones. It does not require an Internet connection, and works with existing plans on all GSM phones, modems and networks. Interested? See our beginners’ guide on sending and receiving text messages with large groups using frontline SMS.

RapidSMS is a free and open-source framework for dynamic data collection, logistics coordination and communication. It requires more training than FrontlineSMS but offers more options for analyzing received data, including merging different data sets in real time for a more thorough understanding of complex environments.

Souktel is a web-based application/web service. It can be managed online or by SMS from a mobile handset–so people in different locations can all use it together and it is not tied to a single computer and handset. It’s SMS-based, so it works on any basic phone handset. It’s connected directly to national mobile network gateways, so partners can send thousands of messages instantly without problems. No USB modems required. It’s custom-built to meet specific project needs: We work directly with partners to integrate apps into your website, your project activities, and your community. It’s developed by people in crisis zones, for people in crisis zones: All apps are created in Palestine for use in Gaza, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and other hard-to-access regions. It’s deliberately designed for Arabic-script languages like Standard Arabic, Urdu, Kurdish and Farsi (but all apps work in English script too)

Groundcrew is a platform for using text messaging to run field operations, volunteering, or events. It allows supporters to be contacted based on location. Groundcrew also includes scripting tools so users can create effective communications systems.

TextMark is a commercial tool and a web-based application/web service. TextMarks owns the shortcode 41411, and allows you to make use of the shortcode with a given keyword. When users send messages to 41411 with your keyword, messages can either be forwarded to everyone subscribed to that keyword message-list, or to a webpage (issues a http request which can be handled programmatically if desired) which can be used to send auto-responses back. You can also broadcast SMSs to all subscribers.

IQSMS is a free software using SMS data in a predetermined format. Information is sent to a dedicated central laptop connected to Motorola mobile phones. The IQSMS software aggregates incoming SMS reports into an SQL database. Automated data quality checks, business rules and immediate notifications are sent to users ensuring that only validated data is added to the database. Aggregated PMTCT data is instantly available to district, regional and national managers based on role views.

SMS Matrix vastly expands the functionality of a cell phone’s SMS system.  With virtual mobile numbers, for each incoming SMS or Call the system can automatically: forward incoming SMS to your email address, forward incoming SMS to your ‘real’ mobile phone (as text), forward incoming SMS to any phone as Text-to-Speech, forward incoming SMS to any Group of SMS recipients, submit incoming SMS via HTTP to the URL on your server for further processing, or transfer incoming Voice Calls to your ‘real’ phone number. SMSmatrix also provide custom software development for all SMS/Voice related projects.

Tapatio automatically accepts SMS (text message) reports from people participating in an event, allows operators to categorize those reports according to topic and importance, and to rate their reliability, and sends out selected reports to event participants via SMS. Currently all SMS communication happens through Twitter, so everyone who wants to receive SMS from tapatio must have a Twitter account.

TxtAlert is a messaging tool that uses SMS reminders to encourage patients on ART (Anti-Retroviral Treatment) to attend their doctor appointments regularly. The tool works with hospital/clinic medical records system to draw patient data and appointment dates from the system, then sends personal SMS reminders to patients.

Mobile Audio

Freedom Fone enables automated, interactive two-way information to be shared through mobile phone networks via SMS and voice. It is accessible, user-friendly, low-cost, scalable, global and does not require Internet access for users and callers alike. Freedom Fone targets ordinary mobile phone users and takes advantage of IVR: Interactive Voice Response or audio voice menus. Other functionality includes SMS, Polls and Leave-a-Message. Freedom Fone is easy to manage via a user-friendly, browser based interface. It is quick to setup and maintain and does not require a great deal of technical know-how.

AudioTagger uses the sound recorder in mobile phones to capture sound in urban spaces. The audio file is then mapped using Google Maps to visualize the location of the audio tags. AudioTagger is a momentary exploration of urban space, using mobile technology to captures a sonic moment. Anybody with a data-enabled mobile phone can participate and contribute to AudioTagger’s exploration of the environment, using the mobile phone as a field recorder. Key Features are Mobile email-enabled and Broadcasts SMS.

Google Voice is a telecommunications service by Google launched on March 11, 2009 and normally available only to US residents. The service is configured and maintained by the user in a web-based application, styled after Google’s e-mail service, Gmail. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-PC voice (and, optionally, also video) calling worldwide between users of the Google Voice and Video Chat browser plugin and free PC-to-phone calls into North America.

Twitwoop lets you send voice messages into your Twitter account with a phone call. You call one of our worldwide landline numbers, leave a voice message and you’re done. Voice messages from that number will then be posted to the Twitter timeline.

Email2phone is a service that converts ordinary text email into phone alerts that can be delivered to a phone or retrieved by dialing into Like ordinary email, the phone voice messages are highly interactive with available responses: reply-to, save, delete and skip messages. The system can be used to notify team members or staff members of severe weather conditions, postponements, cancellations or other urgent situations, or to send delivery information or special instructions to customers and delivery drivers.

DialMyCalls enables an organization to contact many people at once via phone. Users record a message and submit a list of phone numbers and a time. The message is then sent to those numbers at the prescribed time. Organizations can use DialMyCalls reach out to supporters at key times or distribute important information over the phone to specific groups.


Ushahidi specializes in developing free and open source software for information collectionvisualization andinteractive mapping. Ushahidi’s goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.The Ushahidi Platform allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email, web or voice message and visualize it on a map or timeline.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) was founded in July 2004 by Steve Coast. OpenStreetMap data is published under an open content license, with the intention of promoting free use and re-distribution of the data (both commercial and non-commercial). Map data are usually collected using a GPS unit, although this isn’t strictly necessary if an area has already been traced from satellite imagery. Once the data have been collected, they are entered into the database by uploading it on the project’s website. As collecting and uploading data is separated from editing objects, contribution to the project is possible also without using a GPS unit.

HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. This freely available Web site integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news sources to curated personal accounts to validated official alerts. Through an automated text processing system, the data is aggregated by disease and displayed by location for user-friendly access to the original alert. HealthMap provides a jumping-off point for real-time information on emerging infectious diseases and has particular interest for public health officials and international travelers.

GeoCommons is a free and public version of the GeoIQ platform where anyone can contribute and share open data, easily build shareable maps and collaborate with others.Data and maps within the GeoCommons community are public and can be easily shared with other public websites and users, or embedded in other websites, blogs and wikis to be shared or can be exported via open standards. GeoCommons allows for import, export and share data and maps across a variety of standard formats such as OGC KML, GeoRSS Atom, GeoJSON, Spatialite and GeoPDF.

GeoTime is an award-winning information visualization software package distinguished by its 3D Time Viewer. GeoTime allows to simultaneously visualize geospatial, temporal and link data. GeoTime can facilitate a deeper exploration of data, driving faster, more accurate conclusions and resulting in sound decision making. Integrated within a GIS platform or as a stand-alone application, GeoTime’s advanced analytic transform raw data into actionable intelligence.

Palantir currently offer two products: Palantir Government and Palantir Finance. Both are platforms for integrating, visualizing, and analyzing information. The platforms support many kinds of data including structured, unstructured, relational, temporal, and geospatial. The two products are built for real analysis with a focus on security, scalability, ease of use, and collaboration.

MapBox hosts free custom designed map tiles, detailed documentation to help you add these tiles to your website, and open source tools for power users to make their own map tiles. We also offer paid premium tile hosting and do custom mapping work. In Winter 2011 we will launch a new version TileMill that will radically lower the barrier for making custom maps with your own data.

Managing News originated as a news aggregation and republishing platform heavily integrated with RSS/Atom. Users can track a diverse set of RSS/Atom feeds, visualize them, and republish selected reports on a platform that allows for mapping and pluggable visualizations. Managing News has subsequently added SMS functionality to the system. The system is based on Drupal, and integrates several open source projects including OpenLayers, SimplePie, and many Drupal plug-ins.

Google Map Maker is a Google Maps service that allows you add or edit features, such as roads, businesses, parks, schools and more. Using Google Map Maker tools, you can visually mark locations and add detailed information about these locations. Once you have submitted content, this information may be edited by other users or moderators. At a later time, this content may be published in Google Maps for others to see and use.

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