Redlands, California—Initial reports indicate that the dress rehearsals currently being conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for its new field data collection automation (FDCA) program are going well.
ESRI’s ArcPad technology is being deployed as part of the FDCA program for the 2010 Census by Harris Corporation (HRS), the systems integrator and prime contractor for the project. ArcPad will serve as the geographic information system (GIS) used to support the field personnel (enumerators) in their collection of data with handheld devices.
The testing of the new FDCA equipment and automated procedures has been successful, according to sources at the U.S. Census Bureau. "The field test and dress rehearsals have gone very well thus far," says Rick Ayers, ESRI’s manager for federal partner business development. "Harris Corporation has done a terrific job at streamlining ArcPad functions to perform exactly what enumerators need the handheld device to do. With the simplified user interface that Harris has created, it is fairly easy to learn and use the handheld GIS software, which is a huge benefit since the Census Bureau will be recruiting more than 500,000 temporary enumerators to conduct the follow-up surveys."
It is anticipated that FDCA will not only dramatically reduce the amount of paper that was used in 2000 but will also make the data collection process quicker, easier, and more accurate. Cost savings are expected to exceed $1 billion.
This significant GIS implementation extends a longtime working relationship that ESRI has enjoyed with the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau’s initial agreement with ESRI to "investigate new technology that would enable the Census Bureau to update its digital map database and develop new products to enhance the display of its socioeconomic data on maps" led to a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) for ESRI technology about five years ago.
Comments Rich Leadbeater, ESRI’s state government industry manager, "The BPA effectively made ESRI’s software the de facto GIS platform at the U.S. Census Bureau. Because of this business relationship and the flexible architecture of ArcPad, it just made sense for Harris Corporation, and in turn the U.S. Census Bureau, to select ESRI GIS technology to support the 2010 Census."