Politics

iPhone app creator wraps up federal vote data

Need to know how many votes John A. Macdonald lost the Kingston riding by in the 1878 federal election? There's an app for that.

Will be updated with 2011 election results

Need to know how many votes John A. Macdonald lost the Kingston riding by in the 1878 federal election? There's an app for that.

A Toronto developer has released "Canada Elections," an application for iPhone and iPad containing the results of every federal election since Confederation.

"I've just been an election nerd all my life," Colin Biggin says. "I'm always looking up stuff on the Elections Canada website."

But having to check a website when there's a burning question that needs answering can be inconvenient.

Biggin's election app contains every result from the first 40 Canadian federal elections. (Apple)

That's what compelled Biggin to start work last year on an app incorporating all of Elections Canada's data.

The project had been in the works for months, but after the election writ drop on March 25, "I had to get off my butt," he says.

The app, which includes results for each riding and candidate in Canada's first 40 elections, made its iTunes store debut Friday.

Developers find out how many people downloaded their products daily, so Biggin doesn't know how many people have tried it yet.

He hasn't been in touch with Elections Canada or parliamentary officials about the app, but "would love to" connect with them about a future partnership.

He also wants to develop similar apps for this fall's Ontario provincial election, but he's hit a snag.

"You would not believe this, but a lot of the data for Ontario elections is not in digital format," he says. "From what I heard from the Archives Ontario person, I might have to go and scan in a lot of the data myself."

Despite the enormity of that task, he says he'd like to develop apps for provincial elections in all 13 provinces and territories.

Biggin is currently selling the app for $0.99 but plans to raise the price to $4.99 as of midnight Saturday.

"I won't be coy and pretend I'm not trying to make some money off this," Biggin says. "I probably put 200, 250 hours into this.

"If I make $1,000 from it, I'll have been paid $4 an hour."

The app may have a niche market, Biggin says, but it's something he wanted to do.

"I must admit it's a pretty narrow-focus thing," he says. "But you have to follow what you're interested in."

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