Census releases final RFP for 2010 door-to-door counting

The Census Bureau has released a final request for proposals to acquire Field Data Collection Automation services for its population count to be conducted in 2010 and the dress rehearsal in 2007.

Data collected from the 2010 census may influence the number of seats in the House of Representatives, as well as government policies.

The agency seeks the services of an integrator that can develop, implement and manage applications, equipment, local area networks and telecommunications and provide support services for field data collection operations.

The Census Bureau, which serves as the leading source of quality data about the nation's population and economy, conducts a census and inquires about a variety of subjects every 10 years. The contract will support the data collection activities of up to 500,000 Census Bureau enumerators and local census officers. The agency also will collect information through paper mailings, telephone interviews and the Internet.

The contract will have a duration of five years and nine months, beginning March 31, 2006 through Dec. 31, 2011. The base period will be for six months from the date of contract execution plus six one-year options.

Census workers will directly capture information collected during personal interviews with handheld computing devices, which will eliminate the need for paper maps and address lists for the two largest field data collection operations: Address Canvassing and Non-Response Follow-Up and the Census Coverage Measurement Person Interview process.

The Census Bureau will update its Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing Accuracy Improvement Project (MAF/TIGER) from the Address Canvassing process for future Census operations.

Field data automation will reduce unnecessary and duplicative interviews and the complexity of the field operation, making the process more efficient, the Census Bureau said.

The functionality associated with in-person interviews is an automated questionnaire, GPS coordinate collection and electronic maps. An important functionality for the in-person interview involves providing the enumerator with the capability during any point in the interview to incorporate extensive notes into the computing device to describe more thoroughly complex living situations not adequately covered by the specific questions.

The decennial process gets serious in 2007, when the Census Bureau will conduct initial activities for a dress rehearsal of most 2010 Census operations, including field data collection.

The Census Bureau must deliver the state level population counts and the calculations for reapportioning the House of Representatives to the president by Dec. 31, 2010. By April 1, 2011, the Census Bureau must deliver more detailed counts to the states for redistricting.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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