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Home arrow Articles arrow Foursquare, Twitter, Geo Social Media arrow More Than A Check In (Part 1) - Geopollster, Cast Your Vote When you Check in via foursquare     

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More Than A Check In (Part 1) - Geopollster, Cast Your Vote When you Check in via foursquare PDF Print E-mail
GISuser Feature Articles - Foursquare, Twitter, Geo Social Media
Written by Glenn Letham @gletham   
14 April 2011
As more developers foray into the area of user check in, we are treated to numerous ways to check in or mashup check in related information in some clever and creative ways. This is Part 1 in a continuing series that will share some clever social apps and services that build on the foursquare check in.

Like many others you may be thinking to yourself, oh, foursquare, why should I bother with that? Perhaps a good point, however, you have to admit, for the developer looking at the foursquare API there's some very cool things one can do with location data if you really put your mind to it. Foursquare is making headlines (and Twitter noise) lately that focus on user boredom and lack of ROI, with users burning out and loosing interest in the check in mainly because there's simply not enough benefit in exchange for sharing location information. There's also the issue of privacy and the concerns that go along with giving up where you are at any given moment - rightfully so too! 

GeoPollster, the Canadian election game is a clever service built on foursquare, enabling Canadian users to link their foursquare account to their political affiliation. Using a person's checking history, GeoPollster helps to create a colorful political map showing you which party is hot at a macro and micro level. Note, a Federal election will take place in Canada on May 2, 2011. GeoPollster puts an interesting twist on the check in by including another variable, political affiliation in this case, and creating a soci-political map based on the kind of place that people of known political affiliations tend to favor.
About the application
Ideally, the app is geared towards existing foursquare users. To use GeoPollster the user must sign in with a valid foursquare account (I suspect new users to foursquare might find the app a bit confusing so some previous knowledge and use of foursquare is suggested). Once the user signs in via foursquare they are prompted to provide a political party affiliation by answering the question "if you voted tomorrow which party would you vote for?" Once the app is connected the user can then boast/tweet to their followers that they are now using GeoPollster, although I suspect not everyone will want to publicly share their political affiliation with the world! 



Once connected to a foursquare account select a favorite party

Once connected there's nothing else for the user to do, rather, they simply use foursquare just as they  always would. The power of GeoPollster is that aggregate information can over time paint an interesting picture of the country in addition to sharing some interesting patterns of voters.


Based on geography, GeoPollster then serves up the political makeup of users. For example, the Canada (http://geopollster-canada.com/welcome/canada) map reveals a colorful map, coloring each province by favored political affiliation of users. At the time of writing, about 33% of users of the app were Conservatives, 32% Liberal etc... Clicking on a province of choice then reveals more detailed information and patterns of voter preference in that Province. See British Columbia (http://geopollster-canada.com/regions/british-columbia) for example. A tabular chart reveals that the Conservatives and NDP parties are in a virtual tie within B.C. Where the app gets a little cool is the further breakdown by City and then by venue. User summaries are provided at every level of geography, for example, in Victoria (B.C.'s capital city) the Green Party and NDP are favorites of the GeoPollster users (although we have no idea of sample size). 


The map of Canada shows off which party is favored in which Province

Within each city we can also browse political affiliation by venue or venue type. For example, summary data for the Category Type of "Pubs" (http://geopollster-canada.com/categories/pubs) shows that the Liberals seem to favor a pint of beer whereas the Conservatives seem to prefer to visit Libraries (http://geopollster-canada.com/categories/collegelibraries). Searching even further we can see the political preference of individual venues as well (See this Starbucks location as an example) 


Some interesting results when you search by venue type

The application has just launched this week and thus, there doesn't appear to be heavy usage yet, however, should a number of users hop on and increase the sample population, perhaps a much clearer picture of the political makeup can be provided - indeed an interesting experiment! I suspect that many users may not be willing to share their political affiliation, particularly since details of specific venues are made available making it a little easier to identify a particular user. GeoPollster does do a great job of providing an innovative use of the foursquare API and does bring some much needed awareness to yet another clever use of mashing up social location data with other variables. 

See more about GeoPollster at http://geopollster-canada.com. For those not interested in using the app there's still loads of valuable political news and information available from the service. Each political party has a "home page", for example, see the Green Party home. From this page users can find the latest national news about the party, follow links to social media services from the party (Twitter, facebook, youtube) and view geographic regions and venues where the party is popular. Imagine, with enough users the parties could locate a list of libraries, public buildings, coffee shops, or bars where they might be able to locate fans or identify regions where they may want to bolster their presence.

I'm not a big fan of sharing or socializing about my political beliefs, however, I do think GeoPollster is a clever app and is a fine example of using the foursquare API. A rep from the National Post commented to us that political affiliation / party support is totally  private and is only disclosed by the end user if he/she elects to do so via Twitter sharing.
Details of the GeoPollster service first spotted online at the National Post

Note: You can follow GeoPollster on Twitter @Geopollster


Share Your Story

Do you have a favorite app or socially connected service that uses your foursquare, GoWall, or other check in ? Please tell us about it... ping info at gisuser.com

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Last Updated ( 14 April 2011 )
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