Google Maps,Android phones in EC watch

The Election Commission has tied up with Internet giant Google to monitor the November 4 polling in Himachal Pradesh in real time,election officials said.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Shimla/dharamsala | Published: October 16, 2012 6:46 am

The Election Commission has tied up with Internet giant Google to monitor the November 4 polling in Himachal Pradesh in real time,election officials said. All returning officers will carry mobile phones running an Android-based app that will capture coordinates of polling stations,which will be available on the commission’s website and on Google Maps.

The phones will also be used to scan barcodes of electronic voting machines (EVMs) that would be updated on the poll panel’s servers,and allow the machines to be tracked from a central operations hub,the officials said.

The experiments using Android phones will be replicated in the Gujarat assembly elections scheduled five and a half weeks after the voting in Himachal. The Election Commission had experimented with a live webcast of the voting in the Punjab assembly elections earlier this year.

“Every polling station,whether it is Hikkam at 15,000 feet in Lahaul-Spiti or Luj in the remote Bharmaur area of Kalpa in Kinnaur,can be accessed at any time on the commission’s website through a Google Maps service,” Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan said. “The new technology will change the way voting is monitored.”

The election app,developed for the Election Commission,will automatically capture the latitude and longitude of the polling booth,and the returning officer has to only tap or click ‘submit’ for the data to be captured on the election commission’s website. “The locations will be marked on Google Maps,and can be accessed on smartphones and computers,” Kangra deputy commissioner K R Bharti said.

Kangra district information officer Bhupender Pathak said the bar code scanning software in the phones would allow the election commission to keep track of the movement of EVMs.

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