In 2015, Elections BC staff watched a DataBC presentation on web mapping application development at a conference and the beginning of a partnership was forged. Following discussions about resources and requirements, Elections BC engaged DataBC to assist in the development and hosting of several business specific applications that would help transform the way that data is managed around electoral events in BC.
A vendor was selected to provide the application development talent which would bring to life Elections BC’ business requirements, with DataBC supplying expertise and enterprise platforms for data storage and application hosting. Together the team developed seven business applications; of these, three were available to the public and four were for internal Elections BC use only.
Publicly accessible applications were developed to showcase electoral boundaries and voting places for General Election 2017. The Where to Vote application, available only during the Election campaign period, was designed with scalability in mind. As an application that was promoted on line and via traditional media, it had to serve a high volume of concurrent, mobile users as they searched for locations where they could cast their vote.
Business process-specific applications, developed for internal use included:
- A Voting Area management application that allowed District Electoral Officers (DEOs) to submit desired changes to voting area boundaries based on their localized knowledge of the area.
- A Voting Area to Voting Place management application that enabled DEOs to specify which voting places applied to which voting areas in their electoral district.
- An Enumeration Walk Address management application that allowed DEOs to specify an area on the map and generate a list of residential addresses to be canvassed with the goal of increasing voter registration.
The online maps made the geographic data highly visible and therefore, more tangible to all parties involved in logistics planning. Storing the data in common databases for access by all users ensured that a true system of record existed for logistics planning and execution. Elections BC found that the ability to perform online edits was a game changer, as it vastly improved communications between District Electoral Officers and Elections BC staff.
Elections BC recognized that moving some of their business processes from paper to digital would not be trivial. They were pro-active in developing application-specific training modules for their District Electoral Officer and staff users and this initiative was critical to a successful transition. Long term plans include re-using these applications and relevant training assets in future electoral events, including by-elections.
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