By: J.D. Ross
(315) 443-3094

Andrew Bauer, a 2013 graduate of the School of Information Studies (iSchool), is returning to the school in the fall to begin his master’s degree program in Information Management. He’s spending his summer perfecting a mobile application that helps political campaign staffers organize canvassing information.

Voter records used for political canvassing are usually turned over to candidates on disk, or as stacks of paper. Bauer’s app simplifies the process of sorting these voter records into manageable data that can then be displayed on the mobile devices of campaign volunteers.

The project, which Bauer began as part of his volunteer work for the campaign of Syracuse Common Council candidate Dan Cowen, allows campaign staff canvassing in the field to bring up voter records on their phones or tablets, see voter names and addresses on a map, and make notes about door-to-door visits with constituents.

Information about canvassing efforts can be immediately shared with other campaign volunteers, and results of efforts, like petition signature gathering, can be easily tallied as volunteers move from one neighborhood to another.

Bauer’s app, called CanvassNow, integrates with the NationBuilder platform. NationBuilder is a community organizing system that provides database and communication tools to political candidates and causes.

While developing the mobile app, Bauer worked closely with NationBuilder’s development team to ensure smooth interaction between NationBuilder’s databases, and the information his app was gathering from field visits. He believes that his new app gives campaigns an edge, because of the way it integrates with NationBuilder’s systems.

“While there are other systems out there that help with mobile canvassing, none of them tie into NationBuilder,” explains Bauer. “Campaigns would need to export their data manually, manipulate it, then re-import it back into the other software.” With Bauer’s app, the process is seamless.