Foursquare’s checkin data offers a wealth of information about the places people visit and when. Data visualization agency JESS3 (an About Foursquare sponsor) is looking to put that to good use on election day by visualizing the people who check in to polling places on foursquare. The data will be tracked anonymously and broken down by region and gender on a new site called “I Voted,” which will launch on November 2.
â€œWe see this as an opportunity to look at the data thatâ€™s out there and to use the reach that Foursquare has,â€ Ben Slavin, JESS3â€™s head of tech, told Politico’s Morning Tech, who broke the story. â€œIt gives insight into how our democracy works.â€
There will also be an I Voted badge for checking in on foursquare and including #ivoted in your shout. This badge has often been requested by foursquare users and was even the subject of a well-circulated petition this summer. Given the response to foursquare’s recent push toward encouraging good habits through foursquare badges, it’s possible a badge could actually encourage more users to vote. Foursquare added a “Voting Booth” category a few weeks ago to help make tracking easier. Data has already been collected for more than 107,000 polling places.
“Every day we see new examples of foursquare encouraging and reinforcing positive behaviors. We’re excited to work with such an amazing group of partners to harness the power of foursquare to drive civic engagement through the â€˜I Votedâ€™ badge,â€ said Eric Friedman, Business Development, foursquare. â€œWith over four million users, foursquare is now at the scale where check-ins communicate a larger trend and we’re excited to make this data more accessible to the public.”
This election will serve as a test for ways to use foursquare data in the 2012 Presidential election. With about 2.4 million users in the US, foursquare’s data should be very useful in determining voting patterns. â€œIn 2012, weâ€™ll be able to provide more valuable demographic information because our user base will hopefully continue to grow,â€ said foursquare spokesperson Erin Gleason.
Foursquare, JESS3, MTVâ€™s Rock the Vote, Pew Center, Google and the Voting Information Project all partnered to make the site and badge a reality.
It will be interesting to see how the “I Voted” site works next Tuesday. It should provide some interesting real-time insight into the election.
What do you think about visualizing foursquare data in this way? Will a foursquare badge make you more likely to vote?