Kolkata, India: The exact geographical position of each of the 51,919 polling booths in the forthcoming West Bengal State Assembly elections in India can be viewed on computer screens, just as locations of landmarks can be seen on Google maps — courtesy the Election Commission’s decision to come up with GIS maps of all the booths.
Apart from giving a 360-degree view of each of the polling booth’s periphery, including all the approach roads and nearby installations, the software will also show every single detail of the polling station concerned with just one click on the mouse button.
This facility, as of now, will be available only to officials of the Election Commission (ECI), though a proposal to make sections of it accessible to the public was being considered, according to a senior State ECI official. The exact latitudinal and longitudinal measurements of the polling booths in all but four districts had already been sent by the respective district administrations, said the ECI official.
“The maps will enable the election observers to have [access to] minute details about the surroundings of the polling booths. For example, they will have a clear idea about the booth’s distance from the nearest police station, health centre or even the other nearest polling station. We are also trying to put up a picture of each of the booths along with the booth details for easy identification.”
Along with the map, information will be made available, pertaining, for each booth, to the total number of electors, number of polling and security personnel deployed, details about the current law and order situation and any reports of past violence or disturbance in the area.
Plans are afoot to take the help of the Google application programming interface (API) so that the exact geographical position of the booths can be seen directly on a satellite image rather than just as a map.
This is the first time that GIS mapping of polling booths has been undertaken on such a wide scale in the State.