The GRID and South Africa’s First Mobile Documentary

by on November 30, 2008 at 10:59 pm

As if staying at the Rosebank Hotel didn’t already completely spoil us, we began our blogger’s road show of South Africa with a box full of gadget goodness thanks to the kind folks at Vodacom. Included in the bag was a Vodafone E172 Mobile Broadband USB Stick with enough 3G data to keep us publishing blog posts and uploading photos and videos from the road wherever we may be. We were also given the new Samsung G810, a mean mobile media monster which will let me upload photos and videos directly to Flickr within seconds of taking them. The phones come pre-loaded with a small piece of Java software called The GRID, which I first saw on Vincent Maher’s blog a few weeks ago.

The mobile program automatically detects your location and allows you to upload text, photos, and videos which are then displayed on a map along with all the other user-generated content around you. In this way it is very similar to Brightkite’s iPhone application. Here in South Africa iPhones are rare, but lots of phones are able to install java apps like The GRID. The GRID also allows video uploads which are not yet permitted on iPhones.

What really has me excited about The GRID is a project they did with youth living in Soweto, South Africa’s largest township. The youth were given phones and asked to upload multimedia content about their communities. There is now a wealth of content about Soweto on The GRID and more than 20 mobile documentaries have been made. It is exactly the kind of project we like to support at Rising Voices. Here’s a trailer:

What has me excited about this new Samsung G810 is that it means that in a couple hours I can give Frerieke my Nokia N95 so that she can give it to one of her Afrigadget Mobile Reporters. I was given my N95 by the good people at Pop!Tech and I know they’ll be pleased that it will be used for such a worthy cause. And if you’re not reading Afrigadget you’re missing out.

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