The Argus in Brighton is to track the whereabouts of different parliamentary candidates in the run-up to the general election, using Google Maps.
The project, launched by the Argus’ online editor Jo Wadsworth today, was originally the brain child of journalist and media trainer Steve Bustin, journalist Sarah Marshall and others, during a group activity at the first Brighton Future of News event [Disclaimer: I was the organiser of the inaugural meet-up].
The map allows Google account users to mark where they have seen candidates for the Brighton Pavilion constituency – Green Party candidate Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Nancy Platts and the Conservative’s Charlotte Vere – and upload additional information about what they said.
The MP candidate tracker page also displays tweets sent out by each candidate.
“I was really glad when election coverage was one of the discussion ideas, and when I heard Steve Bustin suggest the map, I loved it, and as soon as I had a spare couple of hours, I decided to put it together,” said Jo Wadsworth.
“Here in Brighton we’ve got one of the most interesting election battles in Brighton Pavilion, where the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas has her party’s best ever chance of picking up a seat in Parliament. But it’s a very close-run thing, with strong competition from both Labour’s Nancy Platts and the Conservative’s Charlotte Vere.
“Luckily for me, all three are also on Twitter, which gave me enough material to kick-start the data on the map, with very interesting results. It’s surprising how little green there is there, for instance, and the red and blue markers are already showing a clear geographical divergence. But that was the easy part – the real challenge now is actually getting voters to add their own markers.”
Within a few hours of launch, the project had already received its first public edit – from Green Party councillor Jason Kitcat (@JasonKitcat).