This post is also available in: Français (French) العربية (Arabic)

The following statement from Mourakiboun’s press conference on March 22nd, 2014, marks the geolocation of 25 percent of Tunisia’s polling centers, with the remainder to be mapped by late May.

Mourakiboun has mobilized its nationwide network of volunteers to map all 4,800+ polling centers that were used in the 2011 National Constituent Assembly elections.  The goal of the project is to generate a dynamic map for a range of purposes:

  • Provide the Instance Supérieure Indépendente pour les Elections(ISIE) with a valuable tool in order to:
    • Visualize the polling centers, such as the distance between different population centers
    • Organize logistics for election day
    • Allocate resources and staff such as the poll workers
  • Offer civil society organizations and other stakeholders’ geospatially visualized data that will facilitate coordination and strategic deployment to avoid multiple observers in the same polling center while other centers remain uncovered.
  • Facilitate data visualization at the polling center level to promote greater transparency, accountability, and understanding of the electoral process.

Mourakiboun’s mapping project received partial financial support from the Foundation for the Future (FFF) and technical assistance from Democracy International (DI).

Rafik Halouani on mourakiboun’s polling center mapping project

Mourakiboun’s mapping project has three phases, two of which are complete.  During the first phase, Mourakiboun recruited and trained volunteers to locate polling centers using the online mapping platform, Wikimapia.  Volunteers were provided with lists of polling centers and tasked with obtaining GPS coordinates for as many centers as possible via this online platform.

Journalists, CSO members and others at the press conference

During the second phase, Mourakiboun tapped into its nationwide grassroots network to map three delegations per governorate. Mourakiboun oversees currently a team of 100 volunteers across the country who are geolocating the polling centers and recording the GPS coordinates using tablets provided by DI with MapsWithMe Pro, a GPS-enabled smartphone application. This second phase enabled the geolocation of 1,220 polling stations to-date, representing 25% of all polling centers.

In the third phase, the remaining 75% of polling centers will be completed by the end of May.

After completing the mapping project, Mourakiboun will upload the verified GPS data collected for all 4,836 polling centers to the online open data platform, Tunisia Election Data, that Mourakiboun oversees with DI support.  The complete polling center map will be displayed on the platform as an interactive visualization, available to the public, with the option to download the raw data. Everyone from the ISIE to CSOs to international observers will be able to use the polling center map for their own purposes, and it will serve as a foundational map for future elections’ data at the most local level.

The creation of this map highlights access to information as a cornerstone of both democracy and human rights.  Access to information is a necessary precondition for citizens to participate in electoral processes and to hold decision-makers accountable.  Tunisia has already committed to upholding the principle of the right to information through its constitution; this polling center map builds on Tunisia’s commitment to transparency and encourages equal access to information in order for Tunisia’s electoral process to be as free and fair as possible.