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Santa Rosa uses high-tech tool to boost census count April 10, 2010

Posted by Bahadir Sahin in English, Haber (News).
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Santa Rosa’s new geographic information system, or GIS for short, was used to provide the U.S. Census Bureau with 3,405 new addresses in the city.

The numbers are worth noting because each person counted represents at least $1,500 a year in federal funds, said Mike Hargreaves, the city’s GIS analyst.

Hargreaves put the value of this information at $128 million in new federal funds over the next 10 years. (He calculated 3,405 addresses x an average of 2.5 people per address x $1,500 x ten years.)

Sonny Le, a regional spokesman for the census bureau, said that while Hargreaves’ calculation is rough, it is by no means an an exaggeration.

The city’s cooperation, as well as that of the county Assessor’s Office, was crucial in identifying new housing, he said. Otherwise, he agreed, residents would have been missed.

The city’s GIS, a repository of data digitally overlaid onto interactive city maps, contains a “address point layer” that helped census workers identify new housing. Census workers then used that information to identify housing units in the geographic location where actual people live.

After the census bureau completed a canvassing operation last spring and summer to verify local addresses, local governments were given the chance in October to “challenge” the findings to make sure nothing was missed, Le said.

“We do use rely on cities and counties to supply us with the most updated address files so we can add to our list the new structures that have been built in last ten years,” he said.

This week, U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves provided contact information for those who have not received a census form.

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