Walking Edge: Canvassing With GPS
Here's one new election tool that's being employed in the Massachusetts Senate race: Walking Edge, a smartphone application and database that tells canvassers where undecided voters and candidate-supporters live, as they walk the streets.
The application works on smartphones that have GPS capabilities--Blackberries and iPhones, for instance--and it uses a Google Maps-based setup that lets canvassers see the addresses of nearby voters whose doors they can knock, plus specific information about those voters.
Canvassers can update the database of voters as they canvas; other canvassers using the app can then see, in realtime, if an address has been contacted. Workers stationed at polling places can use it as well, checking off voters from the field database as they vote, preventing canvassers from uselessly knocking on their doors.
The application is being used for the first time ever by Republican Scott Brown's Massachusetts Senate campaign (users are logging in here), according to an owner of its development company. The app was developed and is being sold to Republican candidates and select independents by Republican Web Development, a new consulting firm run by three former high-level John McCain political hands: John Yob, John Weaver, and Josh Geleris.
In the last election cycle, Democrats were credited by many with adopting new technology before their Republican counterparts; a story of 2009 and 2010 has been Republicans' concerted effort to close that gap and use web-based technology and social media to their advantage.
Republican Web Development's mission is to help GOP candidates catch up to Democrats in the tech arena; it counts among its clients former Gateway CEO and Michigan gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, who employed similar technology in winning a straw poll in September.
Yob calls the smartphone app and database a revolutionary GOTV tool for Republicans. "Anyone with a smartphone can walk outside their door and start meaningful work for a campaign," Yob said.
See screen-shots below: