ThreeBeirut

How do you get a group of supporters out to the polls? Where is the nearest polling place? What tools are needed for real-time election monitoring?

In June 2009, Lebanon help its parliamentary elections. In the months before, we had been approached to work with the country’s election committee to create a suite of tools and features that would enable all political parties to track election results and engage potential supporters.

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Given this task where no geospatial data existed and where there was no existing infrastructure, our team packed their bags and we worked morning to night in Beirut for sixth months.

To create applications, we first needed to create a dataset that was accurate and detailed. We set about creating the first geospatial maps of the country’s political districts, as well as a database of voter preferences based on handwritten logs.

We then set forth to build a suite of applications that would enable election day monitoring over SMS as well as provide predictive analysis based on exit polls for the networks in Beirut to use. We also created a system for political parties to identify clusters of possible support and find the best ways to transport those supporters to polling stations.

This six month excursion to the middle east provided an opportunity for our team to demonstrate its tireless commitment, flexibility, and creativity. Without a team member speaking Arabic and working with the strange bedfellows of the various Lebanese political parties, we helped a democracy present the results of their election in real-time.

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