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August 27th, 2013
Australia-First Election Map Adds Voters to the Picture

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology experts Esri Australia, Seven News and Yahoo!7 have partnered to develop the cutting-edge 2013 Federal Election Map.

Underpinning the map is a comprehensive collection of critical information about every federal electorate in Australia, divided into five key topics that cover: employment and education; infrastructure; ancestry; financial positioning and electorate demographics.

As well as featuring geo-located Tweets of election-related topics and hashtags, the map also has a ‘5 in Focus’ tool, which calculates the five highest and lowest ranked electorates according to a variety of criteria.

Esri Australia GIS in Media specialist Alicia Kouparitsas said the map would provide voters with an unprecedented level of insight and up-to-the-minute social media coverage of the 2013 election’s issues.

“This is a truly intelligent map which delivers key information straight into voters’ hands, so they can clearly visualise what’s happening in their electorate,” Ms Kouparitsas said.

“The Twitter tool allows voters to access real-time feedback on issues that are unfolding in their own backyard; understand where Tweets and conversation trends are coming from; and assess the mood of their electorate.

“The ‘5 in Focus’ tool also helps voters gauge how their electorate measures up against others in the nation across areas such as mortgage stress, employment rates, internet access, education levels and even house prices.

“For example, users can instantly identify where the top five electorates with single-parent families are located; or conversely where the lowest earning electorates can be found.

“Ultimately, voters will be able to use the Election Map to prepare their own local MP report card and assess their member’s performance against the needs of their community – to help them make the right choice at the ballot box on September 7.”

Seven News Election Producer Stuart Wallace said the 2013 Federal Election Map enables Seven News and Yahoo!7 to connect with viewers at a local level.

“The Tweet mapping and ‘5 in Focus’ are a first for an Australian election,” Mr Wallace said.

“We’ve put meaningful, locally relevant information into the hands of viewers, as well as added a powerful geographic context to the conversations happening on Twitter.

“This means viewers can go beyond the news they’re watching on television or reading online, to get more information about the stories that affect them the most.

“The Election Map also gives our reporters and producers the information they need to build incredibly detailed and layered profiles for all the nation’s electorates.

“We can now provide viewers with greater context to political developments that occur during the campaign and on election night.

“Instead of just reporting what is happening, we can provide in-depth insight into why it is happening and what impacts it will have for real people.”

Ms Kouparitsas said user-friendly access to electoral data will empower many voters who may feel swamped by a barrage of conflicting and complicated information during campaigns.

”The general public now has the access to the same depth of information politicians and the mainstream media have, with just a click of a mouse,” Ms Kouparitsas said.

“Citizen journalists and bloggers – who play a significant role in disseminating information during the modern election campaign – will now also have that information at their fingertips.”

Members of the public can contribute to the 2013 Federal Election Map by joining the conversation on Twitter.

To make a Tweet appear on the Election Map, users must: a) enable location services on their Twitter account; and b) reference one of the map’s trending election topics or hashtags, such as ‘yourcall7’ or ‘auspol’.

The demographic data used in the 2013 Federal Election Map has been sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Electoral Commission.

Hometrack data – which reveals detailed information about the Australian property market – was sourced from MapData Services.

To view the map, visit: au.news.yahoo.com/election/map