The inspiration for TaskMeUp came from a mini-tool we developed against the clock during our response to Haiti's earthquake, sms2geo, which allowed first-responders in Haiti to send a text message asking for a specific location and have that location translated to coordinates by a crowd of volunteers with local knowledge of the country.
The initial version of TaskMeUp was developed in a single weekend during a Random Hack of Kindness, by a team composed mostly of Manas developers, and it obtained the first place in the NYC competition.
After the initial hype, we worked together with InSTEDD for developing a more robust application, that could be used in any scenario, for harnessing the power of the crowd and coordinate data processing in an easy, customizable and flexible way.
Using a simple website, you can request help on a wide variety of tasks such as text message translation or categorizing information, and engage the help of volunteers in bite-size chunks. All you need to do is define a topic, subscribe to the feeds you want to bring information in from and recruit people to help you move through the asks. You define the privacy levels and skills required to participate so volunteers can see at a glance if they are able to contribute.
Once a volunteers claims the task, they are able to process the tasks one item in the feed at a time using a simple webform. TaskMeUp is integrated with social media so volunteers can post the task to Twitter or Facebook to help you tap into their networks to recruit volunteers.
You can also create complex workflows that can act as a virtual assembly line, so each person can contribute depending on their individual skills. For example, you may first need to identify which language an incoming text messages is in, then it needs to be translated and then defined into particular categories.
Implemented on Ruby on Rails, TaskMeUp uses ElasticSearch as storage for keeping documents with their annotated information, allowing for easy filtering of the available information.
This project is Open Source, we invite you to collaborate and join us in the development of a better world through the use of technology.