Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Technology In The General Elections 2014

The General Elections of 2014 will be unique in a number of ways. Right from the changing demographics of a young India which will be voting for the first time, to changing of poll pitches to attract an aspirational, middle class youth. But one of the most visible changes of this General Elections, is the role that technology is playing in it.

Political discourse on social media is dominating the way candidates are accepted/rejected from parties. Twitter trends are competing with opinion polls on which political ideology has an advantage. The common man now has the power of Facebook to express his political views. Inspired by the role Twitter played in the Arab Spring, young men and women now feel they have a magic wand at their disposal. A magic wand made of a mobile phone and social media, to try and enforce their political beliefs on the aspiring netas who come to them asking for their support. This indeed is a brave new world.

CityNaksha is also playing its own, small little role in this revolution, in the way India votes today. Being a locations company, trying to make voting easier for the man on the street, it was clear to us what we had to do. We would help people locate their polling booths on a map, and help them figure out how to get there.

The question we want to answer for the people, going out to vote is,
Where is my poll booth located?
This is the problem we want to solve. We help you locate your specific polling booth, so you have one less excuse to stay at home and not get that finger inked. No more I don’t know where the polling station is located, or I don’t know how to get there. Sadly, we can’t arrange for a cab to pick you up and drop you to the polling booth, yet! :)

All you have to do, is open our website on your phone or computer, select poll booths, type in the name of your polling station, and we will show you where it is located, and how to get there, on a map.

Or if you are feeling lazy, just directly open this link.

If you don’t know the name of your polling station, just type in the Assembly Constituency Number and Part Number, and we will show you your polling booth.

If you open the website on your phone, or use the Android app, it picks up your location and shows you all the poll booths around you. You can find yours from this list, and get directions to it.

Due to limited resources at our end, and the sheer amount of polling booth data that had to be physically verified and put on a map, this time around, we are making this feature available, only for Kolkata. But we are hoping, that we will be able to add some value to the whole campaign of encouraging people to go out and vote. And that will be enough encouragement for us to roll this out for other cities as well, for the next round of elections.

If you are a first time voter in Kolkata, do give this feature a spin, and let us know your thoughts. Help us make the feature better, and we will take you out for a Biryani! :) No, No, that is not a pre poll promise! :)

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