Biyernes, Mayo 3, 2013

Comelec's online precinct finder map off by 10km

May 3, 2013 4:18pm
(Updated 5:23 p.m.) Less than two weeks before Election Day, the Comelec's online precinct finder system showed a wrong precinct location map when a voter typed her personal information into the system Thursday evening.

GMA News' Social Media Team's Rossa Landingin tried the system, which listed the correct address of her polling place but the location generated by Google Maps was incorrect.

"(A)ng nangyayari..., lalabas yung tamang details except 'yung Google Maps," Landingin said in a text message.

Posted on the Comelec's website, the precinct finder is supposed to provide voters their polling place address and show a map locating it. A voter would simply type his or her complete name and birthday to engage the system.

Landingin is supposed to vote at Claret School, Quezon City, but the map showed her polling place 10 kilometers away, locating it at Tandang Sora Market, along Tandang Sora Avenue.

Upon clicking the "View Map" button, a disclaimer would say: "Please note that the location of your polling center as shown in the Google Map may not be 100% accurate."

"The intention of this feature is just to give a general idea of the location. If the result turns out to be inaccurate, please verify with your local Comelec office on the correct location of your polling center before Election Day," the disclaimer further said.

Reached for a comment, the precinct finder programmer said they have no control over Google Maps search results.

"Hindi kasi namin controlled ang Google Maps. Kung pwede lang namin i-edit, i-e-edit namin," said the programmer, who refused to be identified.

Sometimes, a result in the Google Maps does not match the polling place because the map does not contain information on the correct location, he added.

"Ang gamit po kasi d'yan para ma-pinpoint 'yung exact location ay 'yung longitude at latitude ng polling center. Wala kaming data 'nun," he noted.

"Minsan hindi pa mismo naka-record sa Google 'yung location na 'yun kaya po minsan .... dun na lang po niya nilalagay sa nearest,"  the programmer added.

But in the case of Landingin, the Google Maps showed results of the location of Claret School, her precinct location.

Informed about this, the programmer said they would edit the codes "para mas accurate na 'yung lugar."

On Thursday, poll commissioner Grace Padaca told GMA News Online in a text message that the poll body "will look into this."

Elections chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. could not be reached for comment as of this posting .
Interviewed on Friday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez believed the confusion could be because it is the established precincts that were encoded in the precinct finder.
The Comelec clustered the precincts to maximize the use of PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines. From the 344,529 established precinct, the number was narrowed down or clustered to 77,829. There are 36,772 voting centers or schools where the public can cast their vote.
“For most people, reasonably accurate yung established precinct kasi dun din sila sa same area but we’ve had to reshuffle the precincts because of greater number of voters per clustered precinct, ngayon ang maximum 1,000 pero dati marami na 500, 600. Ngayon talagang pinagdikit dikit natin kasi yung ating PCOS machines e yun lang din ang kakayanin,” Jimenez said. — with Amita Legaspi/LBG, GMA News