Creating an Elections API
For more than 60 years, The Asia Foundation has worked tirelessly to improve lives, help societies flourish, and build effective institutions in Asia. Its programs address critical issues it feels are vital to creating a thriving Asia-Pacific region – such as advocating for open data. To advance one of its open data initiatives, the Asia Foundation has partnered with Perludem, an Indonesian civil society organization, to help disseminate information about candidates leading up to the Indonesian legislative and presidential elections coming up in April and June of this year. Perludem is building an Elections API with The Asia Foundation’s support. The Elections API will provide access to election-related data that software developers can use to build web and mobile apps for public use.
Unshackling “Captive” Data
To date, information that would be useful for voters to access, especially political candidates’ education and work history, is not easily accessable nor searchable because it is available only in PDF form. To change that, The Asia Foundation and Perludem set out to transcribe the PDF content and structure the data so it could be used in web and mobile applications.
They started out with five interns to do the work. But they quickly realized that the amount of data that needed transcription was simply going to take too long. That’s when they turned to CrowdFlower.
High Volume Transcription with CrowdFlower
Nicolas Picard, program associate at The Asia Foundation, built a series of jobs on the CrowdFlower platform designed to collect and verify various data points found in the PDF documents about the political candidates.
“Elections are a sensitive topic and the transcribed data needs to be accurate,” said Picard. “We chose CrowdFlower because it was the easiest platform to use.”
By tapping into our global network of online contributors, The Asia Foundation has been able to transcribe the election documents on a massive scale and with high accuracy, effectively preparing the data for software developers who are creating mobile and web applications to help educate the Indonesian electorate. CrowdFlower could not be more proud to be a part of such an important cause.