This week, Economic & Political Weekly publishes the first thorough empirical application of my namematching algorithm: an exploration of the spatial variation of the "Muslim vote" in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 general elections, which I have written with Raheel Dhattiwala (from the University of South Australia, and formerly Oxford), following up on Raheel's considerable research on Gujarat and my own earlier work on elections in UP. A postprint of our article is archived HERE, with the original version on the journal website:

Raphael Susewind, & Raheel Dhattiwala (2014). Spatial Variation in the 'Muslim Vote' in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 2014 Economic & Political Weekly, 49 (39), 99-110

India's general elections are coming up, and many data folks are looking forward to analyze and map results spatially (assuming, as I also argued last time, that all politics are local). Until very recently, only few could do this, however, because the basic prerequisite - GIS shapefiles of India's post-delimitation constituencies and polling station localities - were only available commercially (and could easily cost several thousand US dollars). Today, I wish to present a set of draft shapefiles comprising current polling booth localities, assembly constituencies and parliamentary constituencies under an open license, shared in the hope that they enable more visualizations and better spatial analyses of the ongoing elections.

Unlike the only other set of openly licensed shapefiles I am aware of - the handcrafted parliamentary constituency shapefiles recently published by DataMeet after their Bangalore hackathon (which does not yet contain assembly constituencies or polling station localities) - I chose an automated, algorithm-driven approach, working off draft polling station locality data published online by the Election Commission. I processed this data in multiple steps to derive assembly and later parliamentary constituency shapefiles:

First an apology to my readers: this "weekly blog" turned monthly ever since I started writing up this paper, that one, a resubmit and my PhD in general. Add to this Easter holidays and incessant networking now that I am back in Europe - you get the picture. More: I am afraid this state of affairs is likely to continue for a while. But one particular project reached a milestone worth reporting: sharing my dataset on religion and politics in Uttar Pradesh - under an open license.