Census will count county lines via Web

Census will count county lines via Web

Under a Census Bureau contract, the Open GIS Consortium Inc. is working out ways for local and tribal jurisdictions to begin reporting their boundary changes electronically. Robert Marx, chief of Census' Geography Division, said the agency's 1960s-era Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) will start changing this spring from a paper-intensive mapping operation and will be ready by about 2008 for the next decennial census.

The Wayland, Mass., consortium is rapid-prototyping the online reporting technology as a pilot for Census. Marx said the contract value is 'relatively small.' Participants include ESRI of Redlands, Calif.; Galdos Systems Inc. of Vancouver; Intergraph Corp. of Huntsville, Ala.; Northrop Grumman Information Technology and subsidiary TASC Inc.; and Syncline Inc. of Boston. They will use the consortium's OpenGIS interface specification and OGC Web Services to make various geographic information system and geospatial applications interoperable.

In addition to prototyping the online system for updating local and tribal boundaries, the contract calls for OpenGIS specifications for serving up Census' Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data. The two prototypes will be called WebBAS and WebTIGER.

'We hope to be active by spring so that this year's survey respondents can report,' Marx said'a total of about 5,000 local and tribal governments. Just before the next decennial census, the agency needs new boundary data from all 39,000 local governments in the nation. 'I'm sure they're not prepared yet' to send everything electronically, Marx said. 'We'll try the software now and refine it as we get ready for 2010.'

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