Update: Ushahidi map tool WINS Mashup Challenge!

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Erik Hersman, at right, above, with David Kobia, reports:

Wow, we’re absolutely stunned, but we just won first place at the NetSquared Challenge! That means we have a check for $25,000 that we can spend on further development of the Ushahidi Engine (version 2).

Check out this post for a list of ways you can help develop this vital mapping tool.

The Ushahidi mapping tool — created in two days this January to track post-election violence in Kenya — is in competition today and tomorrow at NetSquared’s Mashup Challenge. The winner will receive funds to improve their software. Ushahidi’s developers (including TEDGlobal 2007 speakers Erik Hersman and Ory Okolloh and engineer David Kobia) hope to rewrite the tool in PHP so it can scale up; open the code; and make Ushahidi more portable, for use in many different situations than the one for which it was created.

Already, the tool — which mashes up Google Maps with user-contributed data sent in via web and SMS — has been adapted to track peace efforts in Kenya, and to keep tabs on an outbreak of attacks in South Africa via the site