recommended reading

Census Bureau meets deadline to build address file for 2010 Census

The Census Bureau has made progress on building an accurate database of addresses, but must resolve some remaining software issues and thoroughly test its systems before next years decennial count, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The Census Bureau is working to ensure its master address file, which is used to mail census forms to the nation's 140 million households, is complete and accurate, according to testimony filed by Robert Goldenkoff, director of strategic issues at GAO, with the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives. But he acknowledged that despite the bureau's efforts, the recession and its impact on the housing market would make the task more difficult.

"On its face, it would appear that building an accurate address list would be a relatively straightforward task, given the obvious nature of many dwellings and the availability of postal addresses," Goldenkoff said. "Although these types of dwellings have always existed, the large number of foreclosures the nation has recently experienced, as well as the natural disasters that have hit the Gulf Coast and other regions, have likely increased the number of people doubling up, living in motels, tent cities, and other types of less conventional housing."

The address file and its digital mapping component called TIGER are considered crucial to the accuracy of the count. Shortly after the 2000 count, the bureau awarded Harris Corp. a $200 million contract to upgrade both the address file and TIGER. According to Goldenkoff, the bureau has made significant strides in updating the systems, but has not yet finalized a testing plan ahead of next year's count, jeopardizing the accuracy of the database.

"Given the importance of MAF/TIGER to establishing where to count U.S. residents, it is critical that the bureau ensure this system is thoroughly tested. Bureau officials have repeatedly stated that the limited amount of time remaining will make completing all testing activities challenging," he said in filed testimony.

Harris also was awarded a $595 million contract to develop handheld computers for census workers who go door to door to count households. In March 2008, the bureau announced it would use the handhelds only for address canvassing, which took place from March to July. About 135,000 Census employees used the devices to compare the addresses from the address file with what they saw on the ground.

According to the bureau, the exercises generally were completed ahead of schedule because of lower-than-expected employee turnover. The handheld computers experienced glitches during the first month of use, including problems with transmissions, freeze-ups and issues with the GPS function, but Goldenkoff said the bureau quickly fixed the problems using software patches.

According to the bureau's preliminary analysis, address canvassing field operations cost $444 million, 25 percent more than the initial budget of $356 million. The bureau attributed the additional cost to a greater-than-expected workload and additional staff needed to complete the exercise on time.

Threatwatch Alert

Social Media Takeover

Qatar News Agency Says Hackers Published Fake Stories

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.