Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Brazil Using Smartphones For Planning the Future

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the emergent-order-too-unreliable dept.

Government 115

shafiur writes "Brazil has bought 150,000 LG smartphones and has embarked on the world's first fully digital national census. Can they succeed when the US recently failed to go digital? The Brazilians say that the digital census has several advantages over paper and pen methods. They say that the data is more accurate since GPS data will pinpoint the exact location of a household. The GPS data is cross-referenced with satellite images to ensure that responses are correctly geo-tagged. The recently begun census will underpin future publicy-making decisions."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

*poop* (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410288)

*poop* *poop* *fart* *queef*

US did do GPS (2, Informative)

ogre7299 (229737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410292)

The US census did use GPS to pinpoint the exact locations of households. So Brazil can't do that much better....

Re:US did do GPS (0, Troll)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410342)

"The GPS data is cross-referenced with satellite images to ensure that responses are correctly geotagged"

but the US didn't check that all of the followup forms weren't filled out in the corner bar by the temp workers.

Re:US did do GPS (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410530)

Yes they did.

Re:US did do GPS (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412450)

I can see how it'll go on census day:

(heard on loudspeakers throughout the country)
The census will begin in 1 hour ...
and so on..
The census will begin in 10 seconds
3
2
1
Now, everybody freeze. Don't move until the census has been completed. Anybody moving who is not a census worker will be shot, to eliminate any effect they may have on the census.

Re:US did do GPS (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415728)

Man, you'd have it easy. I remember when I had to pack up everything and put my poor pregnant wife on a donkey so I could head to my HOMETOWN for a G_d-forsaken census. Oy, vey, those crazy Romans!

Regards,
Yosef

Re:US did do GPS (4, Informative)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410800)

I was an enumerator in 2000 and one of our team did exactly that: made up the data at home. She was caught in two days when those forms got input into the computer and got kicked back out. Besides running an ANOVA check on the data to compare the variances between workers (I'm guessing that's how they caught her so quickly, but I didn't know what an ANOVA was at the time), they also had a follow-up team separate from ours that double-checked a random sample of our work.

Re:US did do GPS (2, Interesting)

Stihdjia (1870316) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412500)

Actually we did. One enumerator in my district did just that. He researched his assignments on the internet, and tried to forge reasonable responses. Of course this was detected during the quality control operation. This led to several humorous (well, on our side at least) interviews that went something like this:

QC Clerk: Hello, Mr. Smith? We recently received your census response, and are calling for quality control. Could you confirm that John Smith resided at this address on April 1, 2010?

Resident: John? Oh, heavens no... He died in '03. I have never been contacted by a census worker before.

I feel bad for the folks that were contacted like this, but we checked every enumerator's work. I also feel for the large number of people who were contacted multiple times for QC purposes, who understandably became quite tired of hearing from us.

Incidentally, the enumerators were initially given palm-top computers which I assume were similar to what delivery service workers carry. This was to be the main method field enumerators would use, meaning the US had planned to be largely digital. I never saw these because the idea was scrapped before the main operation began.

The government may be slow to adopt technology, but they are not so stupid as to trust hundreds of thousands of temporary works at their word alone.

Re:US did do GPS (1)

pbahra (1889666) | more than 4 years ago | (#33413354)

Unfortunately - not all of the US tech worked and they had to revert to paper/pen methods. See this CNN story for more info: http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/20/technology/GPS_census/index.htm?section=money_technology [cnn.com] Brazil have been building up this for several years by trialling the tech on previous surveys and they can say that it is a wholly digital census.

Re:US did do GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33413782)

Are you sure?
Look at the voting system. Brazil has a successful fully electronic one, which is so much better and fast than the one of US.

Side benefits! (-1, Troll)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410302)

Also, it's a wonderful way for the government to show the poverty-stricken people (I realize that term doesn't apply to everyone) how "awesome" western culture is, and why they should start the "culturization" process we've been famed for in the past couple centuries! Care to bet how long before Brazil has to start cleaning up their pollution clouds?

Re:Side benefits! (5, Informative)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410356)

Also, it's a wonderful way for the government to show the poverty-stricken people (I realize that term doesn't apply to everyone) how "awesome" western culture is, and why they should start the "culturization" process we've been famed for in the past couple centuries!

Care to bet how long before Brazil has to start cleaning up their pollution clouds?

Hate to break this to you, but Brazil is "Western"

Re:Side benefits! (4, Insightful)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410410)

Also, Brazil is a relatively wealthy country.

Re:Side benefits! (5, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410474)

Obviously you've never been to South America. Brazil is a relatively wealthy country, but it's a country of Haves and Have Nots. Poverty in the US is nothing compared to poverty there.

If the US had waited a few years until GPS enabled phones were available they might have had more success. The contract to supply the devices was started way back in 2002. Maybe next time...

Re:Side benefits! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415262)

If the US had waited a few years until GPS enabled phones were available they might have had more success.

If the US had limited itself to just counting the people (as authorized and mandated by the Constitution) instead of collecting all manner of non-relevant information it could probably have conducted the census with a lot less manpower and paperwork. Heck, it'd be a lot easier to build an electronic device to conduct that census than to build one to conduct the information harvesting exercise that currently masquerades as a census.

Re:Side benefits! (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415966)

Before someone jumps in and claims that the federal government can ask any questions they want, in the constitution it says that the count may be undertaken in "such manner as they shall by Law direct." That means that if they want to use pencil and paper, a web site, or handhelds, any method that they choose in Congress is OK. It doesn't say that the actual census can be anything they want. This means that just about every question other than "how many people" is unconstitutional. Yes, this even includes the claim that even in 1790 they asked for "race". They actually asked for "white" and "other"; regardless, it was wrong even then. They also asked for the number of slaves, but that we pretty much required due to the 3/5 representation clause.

Facts about Brazil: (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410824)

Facts about Brazil:

Brazil is energy self-sufficient! It still exports some oil it cannot refine, and imports some oil it can refine, but, overall, it is energy independent.

Brazil has real banking laws. The world-wide economic downturn caused by corruption in the U.S. financial system lasted only a few months in Brazil.

Brazil only recently passed laws that everyone must be educated through high school. There are a lot of adults in Brazil who, sadly, have little education. Little education usually means they will be poor all their lives.

Compared to the United States, Brazil has poor libraries. Andrew Carnegie made it fashionable for U.S. cities and towns to have good libraries. Because of limited libraries, it is difficult for someone in Brazil to educate himself or herself.

The best book in English about Brazil and the history of Brazilian politics is The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoir [amazon.com] by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who was president of Brazil for two consecutive terms, from January 1995 to December 2002.

Brazilians feel a lot of social pressure. They often compare themselves with other people in an unhealthy way. The culture of individuality in the U.S. tends to cause people in the U.S. to just be themselves, which is healthier.

However, people in the U.S. seem relatively unhappy. Brazilians in general seem much happier with life.

Judging from numerous shocking news stories about the ease of modifying the results, the electronic voting booths in the U.S. are corrupt. Brazilian electronic voting seems accurate.

What Western World? (4, Informative)

andersh (229403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410990)

I hate to break it to you but there is no such agreement.

The exact scope of the Western world is somewhat subjective in nature, depending on whether cultural, economic, spiritual or political criteria are employed.

From a cultural point of view Brazil could very well belong to the West, however that is not what is being challenged here [in my opinion].

The obvious cultural, economic and political differences [freedomhouse.org] between Brazil and what is known today as described by the term "the West" (Western Europe, North America, Israel, Australia and New Zealand) are clear. Corruption is endemic [transparency.org] , the justice system incapable, crime rates sky high, racial discrimination heavy, wealth distribution skewed.

It would perhaps be more pertinent to discuss this in light of Brazil's present and future economic situation.

As of today Brazil is not a developed country according to the IMF [imf.org] , OECD [oecd.org] or the UN.

It is perhaps most clear when considering the unequal nature of Brazilian society [indexmundi.com] and Brazil's ranking according to the Human Development index [undp.org] . Brazil is ranked far below the average OECD country (Figure #1).

I think the report speaks for itself: "By looking at some of the most fundamental aspects of people’s lives and opportunities the HDI provides a much more complete picture of a country's development than other indicators, such as GDP per capita."

Re:What Western World? (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411058)

The obvious cultural, economic and political differences [freedomhouse.org] between Brazil and what is known today as described by the term "the West" (Western Europe, North America, Israel, Australia and New Zealand) are clear. Corruption is endemic [transparency.org] , the justice system incapable, crime rates sky high, racial discrimination heavy, wealth distribution skewed.

(etc etc)

We could argue all night about what Brazil and/or "The West" is what is not.
It's funny, though, that you seem to understand that "The West" means the so-called developed countries. Yet you put Israel as part of that same group, what is laughable.

C'mon, your even using information provided by the Freedom House which, basically, is a U.S. propaganda tool.
There are many, many reasons to bash Brazil... But if you do that, please, at least try doing your homework correctly.

Re:What Western World? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411330)

I guess you missed the part where he also cites the IMF, OECD, and the UN?

Or are those part of the"US propaganda machines" as well? Regardless, I'd say his numerous sources hold a hell of a lot more water than your zero sources.

Re:What Western World? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411350)

For ease of fact checking, enjoy the following two maps, curiosity of the IMF and the UN respectively.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UN_Human_Development_Report_2009.PNG [wikipedia.org]

Facts are fun :)

Facts of the matter (1, Troll)

andersh (229403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411516)

Did I hurt your feelings? I'm only trying to be objective here, I don't have any feelings for or against Brazil. I believe it will become a fully developed country within a few decades.

Israel is clearly a developed nation in every aspect of the word. A structured society, ruled by law, organized and effective, high income status, high GDP levels, high levels of education and research all speak in favor of this status.

I assume you object because of the nature of the conflict with/over Palestine? That fact does not detract from the fact that Israelis enjoy a higher quality of life [on average] than say Brazilians. Please, remember I'm not referring to the top echelons of either society.

Freedom House's American origins not withstanding it still produces solid reports, I doubt you can find factual faults with that report?

At least I provided sources and arguments for my claims, you just dismissed the source without providing any counterarguments.

You also seem to have skipped criticizing all the other international sources I named from the OECD to the UN? Do you at least approve of them?

I did my homework, you on the other hand have nothing but hot air.

Sources

How about an official UN report from the High Commissioner for Human Rights [ohchr.org] on your country and crime, corruption and violence?

How about the UNESCO's official page for Brazil [unesco.org] :

"Brazil has been historically marked by social, economic and cultural inequalities. Both society and government are increasingly aware of the need for changing that scenario by creating mechanisms of social participation and control, programmes, projects, and actions that represent a movement towards positive changes."

"Although it has a large number of poor people Brazil is not a poor country, but still has to overcome social injustice and inequality. The social injustices are are reflected in a medium rank in the Human Development Index (HDI), which means that difficulties are still to be overcome in education, health, income distribution and employment conditions."

How about a report [unesco.org] from Brazil itself (Ministério da Educação)?

I quote:" In spite of these undeniable advances, Brazil still needs to make great improvements in
these indicators. In terms of HDI in the Latin America and Caribbean region, Argentina,
Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Cuba and Mexico all have higher scores than Brazil."

"In spite of Brazil having the eighth largest economy in the world, the extreme inequality in
income which still typifies the country means that problems of social exclusion running
alongside economic growth continue to exist."

"These data show that, in spite of the progress made, the defects in the Brazilian school
system are still producing large numbers of people with insufficient levels of education,"

"The situation of socio-economic exclusion and insufficient provision of basic education are
also reflected in the opportunities for lifelong learning."

Nationmaster further provides details and sources on the crime rates in Brazil:
http://www.nationmaster.com/country/br-brazil/cri-crime [nationmaster.com]

And so on...

Re:Facts of the matter (2, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412476)

Did I hurt your feelings? I'm only trying to be objective here, I don't have any feelings for or against Brazil. I believe it will become a fully developed country within a few decades.

You're just trolling.

First you try to reduce my arguments to an emotional response, then you try to look reasonable while condescending.

Brazil is a Western country by all means, and its history is an example on how things may go wrong in an Western country.
Too bad it does not help the Western reputation around the world, uh?

You're trying very hard to prove how bad Brazil and how wrong I am.
Except that I did not deny that country's problems, instead I made clearly that many problems exist.
Sorry if I didn't started a bash-fest against Brazil in order to keep you happy.

I find it curious that you find so important to include Israel as, not only a Western country (it does not even make geographical sense), but as a developed one.

Israel is clearly a developed nation in every aspect of the word.

Feel free to believe that if you want.
The palestinian issue is huge enough, but let's talk about the rest.

First of all, Israel is a non-secular country. It follows jewish religious laws even for civil matters. Even wondered why certain jewish couples even bothered to get married abroad?
Sort like Sharia. But since they don't cut your hand for stealing it's fine, right?

The country laws (yeah, I'm saying laws) discriminate people based on their religion. You may start with their Law of Return.
Yup, very western, very civilized and - of course - developed, if you compare to other countries during Middle Ages.

Also, I don't think that fearing a rocket hitting your house is exactly quality of life.
And I don't think that pushing jews of more recent immigration to live in colonies in occupied lands, risking their necks, is a good thing. - But what do I know, perhaps they're masochists and are happy with that. So it's HDI++, right?

Freedom House's American origins not withstanding it still produces solid reports, I doubt you can find factual faults with that report?

Funny, I don't remember accusing the Freedom House of inventing data.

The point is that you can prove anything you want with carefully chosen facts: ommit what you don't want and amplify what does.
Unless you're incredibly good at faking data, you do not: you select and display what suits you best.

Re:Facts of the matter (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33416040)

Sorry to see that you got a "-1, Can't handle the truth" mod there.

Re:What Western World? (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411522)

That "the West" is a subjective concept is quite clear to me. That it is equal to "developed countries"; well, this seems to have came straight out of your arse.

You rank "North America" within "the West". That includes Mexico? It is a country very similar to Brasil (although the corruption there is way worse).

Also, where the hell from came the notion that "racial discrimination heavy"?! There's no such thing in Brasil. You'd be hard pressed to find a single hate speech made by a brasilian; or a violent act. Between the countries you quoted, the worst in the racial discrimination criterion are Israel and the US.

Re:What Western World? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33411632)

You'd be hard pressed to find a single hate speech made by a brasilian; or a violent act

I don't know about the first, but LOL at the second!

Re:What Western World? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411650)

I agree that people are painting Brazil rosier than it really is but...

You do know that places like Ethiopia, Egypt, Russia and Pakistan have better economic equality than the US? Along with some ~90 other countries with higher rates of equality. Which includes the bulk or all of the EU.

And while crime rates in the US are lower than brazil's, they ARE comparable to pakistan's (nearly tied homicide rates). Which is around 3~4x what the EU rates.

And the US can't exactly brag about race equality. Black men are 6.5x as likely to be jailed as whites in present day America (worse than south africa during apartheid...). Brown people and any Sikh or Muslim living in America today will attest to the terrifying racism going on today. And your track record isn't great either...

And to put this back on topic, according to wikipedia (which could never lie :p) you are wrong. Brazil is part of 'the west'. I think south america doesn't make the cut for you due to language. The countries you listed speak english quite comfortably. South america not so much. But they DO speak a european based language. Just one not as familiar to you.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_west [wikipedia.org]

Re:What Western World? (1)

Night64 (1175319) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412068)

So, "The West" is, according to you, countries that are, at the same time, culturally. economic and politically similar. I see. Is just a way to say "the west is better than the east", don't you think? Japan: highly developed, high HDI... But not culturally similar. Not West. So, it must be East, like... Well, Cambodja! They look alike, don't they? Hong Kong... Hey, East! I don't care that they have a bigger life expectancy than the US! East, like... Mongolia!

Re:What Western World? (1)

beothorn (1795956) | more than 4 years ago | (#33416744)

From a cultural point of view Brazil could very well belong to the West? Based on what are you saying this? Followed your link about corruption, Corruption Perceptions != Corruption (the television networks contribute a lot on this one). See this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_world [wikipedia.org]

Re:What Western World? (1)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 4 years ago | (#33419486)

Are you Brazilian? I am sure you are not. I am Brazilian and I assure you that we are a Western country. I will not even argue about that with you.

About the rest, somethings are true, some are exaggerated and other are even worst than you said. I doesn't matter

Now get off my lawn!

Re:Side benefits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33413842)

We already took care of our own pollution clouds in the 80's and 90's, thank you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubat%C3%A3o

Publicy? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410316)

Do you mean "policy"?

good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410330)

it seems an improvement to use this to underpin decisions for making publicy.

Not the First (5, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410344)

Strictly speaking, Brazil is not the first nation to do this.

The tiny Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu recently completed their 2010 census using smart phones. They mapped every single household across over 80 inhabited islands using GPS and are in the process of putting everything into a GIS-ready database.

The challenge, of course, was several orders of magnitude smaller, but as a proof of concept, it was compelling. To be able to use electronic data gathering ina Least Developed Country with no mobile phone service to 20% of the country is pretty remarkable. This is the first time in its history that Vanuatu has had reliable, complete demographic data.

Re:Not the First (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410640)

Do you know if they have cell service on all of those islands with satellite backhauls? Or did they have to physically aggregate the data from the devices?

Re:Not the First (4, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410948)

Do you know if they have cell service on all of those islands with satellite backhauls? Or did they have to physically aggregate the data from the devices?

For the most part, they logged the data to the devices, then brought them back to Port Vila (the capital) and transferred it to the central system.

GPRS service is available throughout much of the country, but at terribly slow speeds and very high prices (about US$4.00/MB). It is being used to transfer monitoring data from the several active volcanoes we have, but to my knowledge, not for much else. Even donors find the service too expensive and slow to rely on.

There are VSAT uplinks at various places around the islands, but the two telcos here rely mostly on microwave links to hop from one island to the next.

Re:Not the First (2, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411416)

the two telcos here rely mostly on microwave links to hop from one island to the next.

Considering the relatively small distances involved, microwave links are actually faster than VSAT uplinks. Going right across from one island to the next is much shorter than up to orbit and back, and there's no need to worry about intervening landscape getting in the way.

Re:Not the First (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412000)

Just finished reading the first couple posts from your blog. Any advice for someone who wants to pickup and move to Vanuatu to either do networking or volunteer work?

Re:Not the First (2, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412274)

Just finished reading the first couple posts from your blog. Any advice for someone who wants to pickup and move to Vanuatu to either do networking or volunteer work?

Come visit first. There's a regional geek conference that should give you an idea of where things are at, coming up in mid-September. PacINET 2010 [pacinet-2010.org] promises to be pretty good fun, and registration is free. If you can pony up for the ticket and cheap accommodation (guest houses start at about US$20/night, then you'll be right.

A more general, cautionary note to folks thinking about working in ICT development projects in underdeveloped countries: You'd better be strong, flexible, resourceful, good with (human) languages [imagicity.com] and have more than the normal allotment of patience.

I've been stuck in cyclones [imagicity.com] , got malaria, dengue, been hospitalised from the after-effects of prolonged dehydration, had more skin infections in more places than anyone really wants to know. I've been bitten by things straight out of a Tim Burton movie [imagicity.com] . I've had death threats and constant, insanely unreasonable demands on my time and my pocketbook.

To put things into perspective: we had a 7.5 earthquake here a couple of weeks ago, and were laughing about it within the hour. Nature is tough and unforgiving here. You'd better be prepared.

You may think all this is exciting. It's emphatically not. Put your Hollywood imagination away. It's tedious, uncomfortable and often dangerous in small, boring, trivial ways.

I walked away from an affluent existence as one of the first few professional web developers to enter the field and survive now on a pittance (although I do live moderately well by local standards - my new house has hot water!).

You have to measure success like a batting average. Just assume you'll strike out [imagicity.com] more than you succeed [imagicity.com] . Most projects are unwinnable from the start, and you only go through with them because to do nothing would be worse.

On top of all of that, you'll need to adjust to a culture so foreign that it will shock you to your core [imagicity.com] . And you'll only have yourself to rely on. There won't be any police if you're in a tight spot, the fire truck - if it arrives at all - will come in time to water down the ashes.

You'll see children maimed and even killed by trivially treatable conditions. You'll see good people die and bad people prosper.

But once in a while, someone will smile at you like this [imagicity.com] , and it will all be worthwhile....

... It better be, anyway, because most of the time, that's all the payment you get.

If, after all that, you're still intent on coming, then read this [imagicity.com] and come on along.

Re:Not the First (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412686)

Least developed country? Bullshit. Vanuatu has some of the most developed communications infrastructure on the planet. Since it is so remote and has some of the highest long distance rates in the world (Niue Island is similar) it processes calls for phone sex. People used to pay $4/minute on the long distance bills I used to process. We had a lecture once where they explained it all. The calls get relayed back to the States for operators to answer.

Re:Not the First (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33413474)

heh. wondering whether the map data will be publicly available, and thus usable for projects like openstreetmap :)

Privacy issues (0)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410402)

Having the answers pinpointed by GPS doesn't seem too good. A census contains lots of data that's better kept to a somewhat generic location.

Re:Privacy issues (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410532)

A census contains lots of data that's better kept to a somewhat generic location.

Better for you and I, yes. But governments have other ideas.

Re:Privacy issues (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410706)

In my country, the government has imposed privacy legislation which prevents such specific data gathering. The company I used to work for went out of business because of that legislation.

Re:Privacy issues (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410556)

Every housing unit is located exactly for the Census. This was done last year via GPS handhelds to create maps for the actual enumeration that was done recently. The problem is that because of the time delay between the mapping and census, it was cheaper to destroy all the computer equipment and do the census by paper than to recommission all the electronics that were used previously. The information showing the location of housing units can then used for a lot of purposes, for example, where do you think Google gets its information showing where 123 Fake St is? Tying the occupant information to the location is a no no though.

Re:Privacy issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410634)

Are you the My Two Census guy? You talk like you know a lot about the Census, and so will probably get modded up, but in reality you're wrong on several key points. For example, the equipment was not destroyed, and it was not used for reasons other than what you stated.

Re:Privacy issues (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412284)

I was a supervisor on a couple operations. I didn't work on the mapping but I got a buddy who did. Might have been a regional thing though.

Cost of Labor (4, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410406)

The claim that the US process cost 10x as much I imagine has more to do with the fact that the Census is a labor intensive process. So intensive that it altered our unemployment rates briefly.

So yes the cost per person was about 10x higher in the US but the cost per hour for a census employee was probably considerably higher as well.

The Brazilian Census cost about $1B USD. Of that only $75M was for their hardware. So in neither scenario was hardware cost significant. I doubt we spent $13B more than the Brazilians on developing custom hardware that we didn't use--so it's bad journalism and misleading reporting to suggest in the same sentence that our solution to develop custom hardware was an example of US waste.

Furthermore if we have 30% more people in the US that means we would need 320,000 census devices. That's not a bad run of a product and I would say safely warrants custom hardware. Especially if you could create a far less expensive device. slow RISC Processor + Basic software + Broad-com chip w/ AGPS should be less than $100 to make. This is the census we're talking about. 7 questions. You don't need anything more than a TI-83, GPS and an 3G antenna to make that an effective product. I would be surprised if you couldn't make something which uses less than $20 in wholesale components.

Re:Cost of Labor (5, Interesting)

aggles (775392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410560)

I had a good look at the US Census hardware and used it in the field with a census taker. It did nothing a smart phone couldn't do, but appeared to be an over-engineered yet poorly featured military industrial complex piece of crap. I'm SURE it cost way too much money, especially compared with the cost of an LG smart phone.

Re:Cost of Labor (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415002)

It did nothing a smart phone couldn't do, but appeared to be an over-engineered yet poorly featured military industrial complex piece of crap. I'm SURE it cost way too much money, especially compared with the cost of an LG smart phone.

Why don't you drop that "poorly featured military industrial complex piece of crap" onto a rock alongside the LG smart phone and see which one remains functional?

Re:Cost of Labor (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410718)

They may be using modern technology to do the census, but they're using them in a primitive way. Modern statistical methods allow one to take a small sample and accurately determine the entire population and its makeup, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

Re:Cost of Labor (4, Informative)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410842)

They may be using modern technology to do the census, but they're using them in a primitive way. Modern statistical methods allow one to take a small sample and accurately determine the entire population and its makeup, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

The Census Bureau has been arguing for sampling for several Censuses now. It's not like they aren't aware of modern statistical methods. It's a no-go. Congress won't approve it. It might not even be legal since the letter of the law clearly specifies an enumeration of every individual.
Besides, the specific data from this Census gets opened in 2080 and will be a treasure trove for historians and genealogists.

Re:Cost of Labor (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411300)

Besides, the specific data from this Census gets opened in 2080 and will be a treasure trove for historians and genealogists.

That's very important. Social scientists use US Census records extensively.

Re:Cost of Labor (2, Interesting)

Raenex (947668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411598)

It might not even be legal since the letter of the law clearly specifies an enumeration of every individual.

If they wanted to follow the law, they wouldn't ask all those other questions that had nothing to do with enumerating, including questions about race.

Besides, the specific data from this Census gets opened in 2080 and will be a treasure trove for historians and genealogists.

Or it may be opened before then [wikipedia.org] and used for other reasons.

Re:Cost of Labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33411602)

Sampling was declared unconstitutional a few years back.

Re:Cost of Labor (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#33413760)

by your reasoning, general elections wouldn't be necessary either. asimov wrote in a short tale that in an unspecified future, computers were so good, statistical tools so sofisticated, that the elections were decided by interviewing a SINGLE person.

but the real world doesn't work like that. unless you interview (or count the votes of) the whole population, there's an enourmous margin for abuse and fraud.

and don't come with "oh, but the sample will be selected randomly". by whom, may i ask ? by a computed that can be hacked to "randomly" select a bigger number of white, wealthy people ? or a smaller number of immigrants (legal or not) ? or exclude whole parts of the country ?

if elections the way they are already get abused, imagine a partial census, sosmething that doesn't get nearly as many attention from oversight bodies.

there's somethings worth paying for, and accurate census data is one of them.

Re:Cost of Labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33411276)

Well, technically there is only one question you have to answer for the Census. "How many people live in your household?"

Re:Cost of Labor (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#33413772)

by experience, i can say that wages here in brasil are about 4x lower for the same job than in US, so if labor was the reason for the high cost of US census, it should have costed 4 gigadolars, not 13.

other factors, to take into account:

population size:

brasil has an estimated 200 million inhabitans, US 300, barely 30% difference
the largest states are also the ones with lower population density, but the state of amazonas dwarfs alaska.
i doubt that alaskan landscape makes it as dificult to reach the population as the amazon forest does here
no matter how much people in US complaints, their roads are much better tha ours, movement is easier across the nation

all put togheter, the US census still is disproportionately more expensive than ours. score that for digital technology.

by the way, in the field of government automation, is brasil 2 X 0 US (the other point being our all-electronic elections)

Re:Cost of Labor (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418302)

Well, I don't brag a lot about our all-electronic elections. That is the kind of system that one can only proove that is flawed, if it is working, nobody can ever be sure. Ok, nobody proved our elections are flawed, so we are not sure, that is way better than the US situation, but still nothing to brag about.

Just to be clear, I'm not completely against electronic elections. It is more a kind of trade off, do you want the possibility of undetected convetional (dispersed) election fraud or modern (centralized) one? I'm nothing near certain about my position here, and can't critcize the nations that choose machines or paper.

In The US Enumeration Is Constitutionally Mandated (0, Troll)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410422)

But well-designed stratified-sampling surveys produce better statistics at lower cost. Of course, governments are often after more than mere statistics...

Re:In The US Enumeration Is Constitutionally Manda (3, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410594)

And enumeration is a lot less easy to game. Imagine the political games currently played at redistricting time being played with the census itself.

There was no technical issue (-1, Troll)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410444)

In the US there is not technical issue with going digital and applying twent first technology to the census. The use applied twentieth century technology in 1890 for the census. The issue is constitutional. We are supposed to enumerate. Of course constitutionality does not count for other things. For instance Orin Hatch wanted to amend the constitution to allow members of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, our enemy in WWI,and presumably random citizens of Kenya, to be president. Currently many want to deny citizenship to children based on their parent heritage. I wonder why.

I would like to see a constitutional amendment based on sound conservative fiscal policy. Set the budget of the census office to 2000 levels. Require they give up an enumberation for modern scientific and statistics based estimation. Publicly identify the enumerators as enemies of the US, after all they just want to increase the taxes on the average person by continuing ineffecient big and intrusive government. Why does government need to know all these details about us. Google can count users without any identifiable information, so why can't the government. The senators who want enumeration simply want to know where their enemies live so when the Tea Party revolution in in full force, then can send FEMA to kill us.

Re:There was no technical issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410494)

I would like to see a constitutional amendment based on sound conservative fiscal policy.

The conservatives don't have a sound fiscal policy. Tax wealthy and corporations less. Spend more...on lining the pockets of the wealthy and corporations more.

(Yes, I know what you meant, but I felt like going this way!)

Re:There was no technical issue (2, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410524)

'Conversative' has lost it's meaning an US politics and has become another name for a political party. The conversatives aren't conservative.

Re:There was no technical issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410786)

'Conversative' has lost it's meaning an US politics and has become another name for a political party. The conversatives aren't conservative.

Progressives sure as shit aren't progressive.

Re:There was no technical issue (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33418910)

While I think this dilution of meaning has been a little less in this case, I would generally agree with you. Our politics are poisoned by the two party system. It's nearly impossible to actually have a reasoned discourse on anything anymore.

Re:There was no technical issue (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410794)

'Conversative' has lost it's meaning an US politics

I'm not sure "conversative" really ever had much meaning in U.S. politics. On Slashdot, maybe.

Re:There was no technical issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410854)

I would like to see a constitutional amendment based on sound conservative fiscal policy.

The conservatives don't have a sound fiscal policy. Tax wealthy and corporations less. Spend more...on lining the pockets of the wealthy and corporations more.

(Yes, I know what you meant, but I felt like going this way!)

Compared to who?

0bama/Pelosi/Reid's "tax everyone, spend like a drunken sailor" epic failure?

Do you realize the bitch slapping the Democrats are about to get this year?

It'll be another 20+ years before another leftist Dem wins the Presidency. I guess every generation has to experience the failure and lies of leftist policies for themselves.

0bama is another Jimmy Carter. Dolts who called Bush II the "worst President ever" seem to utter forget Carter - and his protege in utter fail: 0bama.

Re:There was no technical issue (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410500)

Did you just try to Godwin this thread? If so, it was buried in one of the more convoluted, confused paragraphs I've seen in a long while. Perhaps I just misunderestimated you, but I really think you should put the keyboard down and go outside for a spell.

Re:There was no technical issue (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410632)

I think it's a troll, but it's so bizarre it's hard to tell.

Re:There was no technical issue (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410896)

Some strange birther-blather there. So how was Washington DC this weekend? Did Glenn smile upon you?

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer [newyorker.com]

The Koch brothers are getting their money's worth out of the troll this season.

Re:There was no technical issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410648)

Dude, that was awesome! I want some of that stuff you're smoking

Re:There was no technical issue (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410762)

Dude, that was awesome! I want some of that stuff you're smoking

I don't. Whatever it it is, it's obviously caused severe brain damage. Or perhaps he was dropped on his head at birth, hard to tell.

That bit about sending FEMA to kill us was precious. If anything, FEMA will just ignore us to death.

First? (5, Interesting)

mattj452 (838570) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410522)

The Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland in this context) have all abolished the manual census counting years ago. In Sweden, the last census survey was made in 1990. Since then, an automatic system has been in place to which you report whenever you move, get married, have kids etc (well, I think the hospital is reporting children). Formally, this has to be made on paper so it is technically not a fully digital system. However, since the introduction of E-ID's a few years back, it has been possible to do this online, beating Brazil with at least 4 years.

Re:First? (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410790)

Since then, an automatic system has been in place to which you report whenever you move, get married, have kids etc

Darth Vader: "I wouldn't be too proud of this technological monstrosity you've created."

Really, I wouldn't. I'm perfectly happy with our government counting us by hand every so often, rather than having to report my movements to them. Frankly, I don't trust our leaders nor our bureaucracy that much. Not that our various Governments (Federal, State and local) can't figure where I am and where I've been easily enough with the existing privacy-robbing databases that are popping up like weeds everywhere, but I prefer to make them work for it.

Re:First? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33410916)

You're talking about completely different cultures. Americans are afraid that the nanny state will take over in the future. Nordic people are afraid that their nanny states won't be sufficiently good at nannying in the future.

Re:First? (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411424)

You're talking about completely different cultures. Americans are afraid that the nanny state will take over in the future. Nordic people are afraid that their nanny states won't be sufficiently good at nannying in the future.

True. But it's not the nannying that worries me. Well, it does, only because nannying is so damned expensive and I'm a taxpayer. I'm more worried about further loss of civil liberties which, sadly, is a concern for me as an American.

Re:First? (3, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412244)

In the US, you worry about the government spying on you or infringing on your rights, while giving the corporations free pass to fuck you in the butthole all day and night.

In the Nordic countries, we make sure our elected representatives and civil servants are people who do the right thing, in addition to expecting them to protect us from corporations too.

Worrying about civil liberties? You guys won't even allow homosexuals to marry, wtf is that for civil liberties... Stop living in the 19'th century, as America is no longer the bastion of civil liberties it once was. It's frankly quite insulting and ignorant point of view that more shows your ignorance than anything else.

BTW, per capita cost of health care in Norway (the most expensive country to live in in the world) costs less than half what it costs in the US, yet covers everyone. I believe that should be classed under 'nannying is damned cheap' if done using the Northern Europe style public management.

Re:First? (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33414154)

BTW, per capita cost of health care in Norway (the most expensive country to live in in the world) costs less than half what it costs in the US, yet covers everyone. I believe that should be classed under 'nannying is damned cheap' if done using the Northern Europe style public management.

Powerful people within the Catholic Church wanted to believe that the Earth was the centre of God's creation. Galileo proved otherwise by observing the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter.

Guess what happened next?

If you keep pointing out the objective, measureable, successes of Nordic social/liberal democracy you are not going to convince the kind of person who thinks it natural to ask the laughable question, "Can [Brazil] succeed when the US recently failed to go digital?"

That depth of ignorance, both of their own nation's failures and the sucesses of the rest of the world, can only be maintained by the kind of wilfull dysfunction that the persecutors of Galilleo maintained.

Unfortunately such individuals always believe in the epistemology of violence, so you really need to think twice before pointing out the truth to them. They are so mired in the depths of thier own lies that they would rather kill the messenger than face the truth.

Correction (1)

celtic_hackr (579828) | more than 4 years ago | (#33414680)

It's nice that you're proud of your country, but let's not confuse pride with the facts.
Japan [aneki.com] is the most expensive country to live in and has been for some time. South Korea is next and also has been for sometime.

Secondly, I call BS on your "cost" analysis. While it is almost certainly true Norwegians, on average, pay less, have better coverage, and less uncovered in the field of health care, the true cost can only be derived by an in depth analysis for what they pay and pay into the system, and what part the government foots. I think, you'll find it costs more in any socialized medicine European country than in the US. But let's be fair, US coverage sucks, doctors and pharmaceuticals are greedy, and if you include all the legal kickbacks Pharms get from Congress, you may be right on it. I haven't analyzed it, mainly, because I know knowing will probably just make me sick.

Lastly, please don't lump all Usians, in one category. Yes, there are a lot of old, prejudiced, f***ers running the country, that doesn't mean that all US citizens have old fashioned ideas of civil liberties. A significant portion of the people support homosexual marriage. On top of which 21 political states of 51 in Europe have some recognition of same sex couples, as opposed to 16 US states have done so. There are only 7 European states recognizing same sex marriage, versus 6 for the US. I'm sorry, I have to call BS on this one also. Europe is a bit ahead, but not significantly.

Furthermore (1)

celtic_hackr (579828) | more than 4 years ago | (#33414852)

Furthermore, for all your Nannying, that is so wonderful, it seems you've given up lots of freedoms to obtain that. You may have complete trust in the benign nature of your leaders, but most of us Americans still live by the knowledge of why we threw our European leaders out. Yeah, all those kings and queens, and Religious leaders were so benign weren't they? After all, no one really expects the Spanish Inquisition. I'm with Screwmaster on this one. If things get bad enough in this country, I feel comforted that I can pack a few things in my sack, pick up my guns and ammo and go hike into the mountains where I can't be found. I'm almost there now.

Re:Correction (1)

olau (314197) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415920)

Hey - he's talking about the Nordic countries, not the whole of Europe. The whole of Europe includes the former Soviet-influenced eastern nations which aren't really comparable to the Nordic countries.

Re:First? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415130)

In the US, you worry about the government spying on you or infringing on your rights, while giving the corporations free pass to fuck you in the butthole all day and night.

Corporations can't assfuck you unless you do business with them. You don't have a choice about doing business with the Government. That's the difference.

You guys won't even allow homosexuals to marry, wtf is that for civil liberties

The proper way to fix that is to get the state out of the "marriage" business altogether. Civil unions that recognize one's legal rights regarding their partner (right to make medical decisions, tax benefits, etc.) should be the only involvement that the state has in "marriage". Let the churches argue about what "marriage" is. As far as the state is concerned it should be nothing more than a legal agreement between two consenting adults.

BTW, per capita cost of health care in Norway (the most expensive country to live in in the world) costs less than half what it costs in the US, yet covers everyone.

So what? What are the disease survival rates in Norway? The United States boasts higher cancer survival [medscape.com] rates than Europe. If your socialized health care systems are so superior why do people receive less access to cancer screening tests that could save their lives? Perhaps our health care system is more expensive because it delivers a better quality product?

Re:First? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415828)

In the US, you worry about the government spying on you or infringing on your rights, while giving the corporations free pass to fuck you in the butthole all day and night.

Do we seriously have to continue to hear this rubbish from the socialism apologists? Why don't you look into history and see how many people have been killed and abused by corporations compared to governments. If you want to start a pissing match, I'm sure we'll find lots of fine points for Norway but they'll be quickly outnumbered by the great number of things our government CAN'T do to us. And not having to constantly report our whereabouts on pain of imprisonment or loss of property is one of them. That's one reason why I oppose income taxes and the new health care law: they confiscate your property and require you to "check in" with an impersonal federal government on pain of imprisonment or loss of property.

Re:First? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415950)

You guys won't even allow homosexuals to marry, wtf is that for civil liberties...

Then you don't understand the issue here. The issue is getting "Married" in a church (or whatever your religion has) and being marked down in the government books as a "Union".

The controversy happens because those who push for Gay Marriage want the government to force religions to marry same sex couples. If they just went for fixing "Unions", it would have happened already.

On top of that, the pro gay marriage people were dishonest about it. They claim people don't want gays to get married, when they really don't want their religion altered.

So, on one hand, you have the Statu Quo. On the other, you have people wielding the power of the government to force the way your Religion operates, and then lie about it.

It is really so shocking that they failed?

Re:First? (2, Interesting)

guantamanera (751262) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410804)

Sweden doesn't as many immigrants as the USA or Brazil get legal or illegal that go in and out, plus in Sweden you don't have a big uncrossable jungle where there are still people who have never seen a white man. I used to live in Finland in a swedish speaking island Maarianhamina(lived with finns) and even counting all the people in each archipelago along with their livestock is way easier than counting all the people from the amazon.

The Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland in this context) have all abolished the manual census counting years ago. In Sweden, the last census survey was made in 1990. Since then, an automatic system has been in place to which you report whenever you move, get married, have kids etc (well, I think the hospital is reporting children). Formally, this has to be made on paper so it is technically not a fully digital system. However, since the introduction of E-ID's a few years back, it has been possible to do this online, beating Brazil with at least 4 years.

Re:First? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33411982)

Man I love top posting!

Re:First? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33413774)

How do you know? did you count them?

Chip em (-1, Troll)

paimin (656338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410666)

Why not just chip everyone and be done with it?

Why have a Census at all? (0)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33410834)

It can't be accurate, with a 72% participation rate (http://www.census.gov/). Existing data already collected by the govt and various public and private agencies such as licensing, income and real estate taxes can provide far more accurate data with minimal cost. The notion that we still have to manually count people is ludicrous. The assumption that the govt doesn't already have details on anyone in this country who has ever filed a piece of paper with the state is bogus. It's just a matter of sharing that info with the census bureau. Simply require the states to share information with the govt. As a side benefit, telling the IRS who is in prison for example, might cut down on those fraudulent refund claims.

Re:Why have a Census at all? (1)

Stihdjia (1870316) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412550)

People are already wary enough of the census. Sharing the information with the IRS would cut that participation rate in half. Privacy is one of the most important parts of any census.

Also, that 72% you mentioned is the voluntary mail-in participation rate. This is the easy part of the Census, the hard part being trying to find all of the people who deliberately dodge anything that has anything to do with the government. And believe me, they try VERY hard to find each person in the US. Legal resident, homeless, fugitive, it doesn't matter. The point is to get an accurate count of EVERYONE.

Re:Why have a Census at all? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33415170)

The point is to get an accurate count of EVERYONE.

If that's the point then why don't they just knock on my door and ask how many people live there? Why do they have to ask for all manner of information (race/gender/age) besides that? The Constitution mandates the Federal Government count the populace every ten years. It does not mandate or authorize the Federal Government to collect biographical or statistical information beyond the number of people in the country.

I filled in the number of people living at my house on my census form and left everything else blank. When they knocked on my door a few months later I told them that three people live at this address and slammed the door in woman's face. Never heard from them again.

Re:Why have a Census at all? (1)

Stihdjia (1870316) | more than 4 years ago | (#33417854)

Not only are you very rude, but you're also wrong. [census.gov] She filled out as much of the form as possible by your appearance and other available data. I hope you didn't want to be misrepresented!

Re:Why have a Census at all? (1)

Stihdjia (1870316) | more than 4 years ago | (#33412564)

Double post, sorry, but I didn't remember to answer your question. The Census is used to determine population statistics for use in congressional representation, and basically nothing else. That's how a republic works.

PR Stunt? (1)

PerformanceDude (1798324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33411008)

"The recently begun census will underpin future publicy-making decisions"

It is not nice when the government only uses the data it collects for "spin". Hopefully they are also able to use it for policy-making.... ;)

Re:PR Stunt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33411316)

Specially since we're about to face elections (and we're obliged to vote)

2010 census was digital for mapping... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33411110)

AC because I'm a long-time lurker and rarely a poster. I was a 2010 Census Enumerator (door-knocker for the people who didn't send in their forms) and worked with people who had been responsible for locating the households originally. They all had handheld GPS devices and address lists, my crew leader wasn't technical enough to know/remember what imagery or databases they were using to start with but once they found a location they would press a button on the GPS device and locate it precisely on their maps. Generally this was done at the mailbox, where available, or where the driveway turned off from public roads. The maps we got as enumerators were all based on this field-collected GPS data (after a couple months to sort it, clean it, and generate area maps) and showed the local roads from the generic imagery--this wasn't always up to date, especially for new construction and new subdivisions, suggesting the road data was a couple years old at best, and then the specific GPS dots where the households had been located were the ones we used as location references to drive out to.

I was doing work in the Pacific Northwest (small town near enough to Vancouver, WA) in both urban and rural areas and I don't think we'll be going digital for 2020. Even in a safe small-town / rural atmosphere there were enough skeevy folks and enough paranoid/outright distrustful/completely hostile people that I can't imagine going out there with a government badge, a government bag, and a government tablet would be anything more than a great way to get mugged or killed...especially in some of this fine country's city centers / regions.

Paper and #2 pencils are cheap and more or less valueless. Sure, even attempting to intimidate us was a Federal felony, but odds are the guy shouting at you doesn't know that, and from the perspective of a city boy out traipsing around meth-lab-riddled farmlands, the guy with the gun is ALWAYS right until you can get back to your car and make a few phone calls. Sure, even if we see your back yard full of weed plants, we don't report it, we don't care, we're sworn to secrecy for life about any information we collect, but odds are the stoners won't care.

Not to mention they'd have to be pretty damn rugged for field use. Rain, snow, freezing, mud, being dropped (you know it'll happen), batteries abused for charge cycles, thrown around, thrown into bags with sharp edges and rough fabric, you'd practically need a toughbook-type handheld GPS unit repurposed to run something off a custom ASIC for your forms, plus you've got issues with security for information transmission (Census information stays confidential & need-to-know for 70 years! The Commerce Bureau doesn't even tell the other branches of government this stuff unless they're appropriately classified and have a valid need to know.) and storage....it would be a gigantic nightmare and I don't see it happening any time soon, but that's just one enumerator's view.

I answered to the census yesterday! (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33413624)

While spending sunday afternoon with beers and old movies, someone knocked on my door and said it was the census and all. Since they had "booked" the visit earlier I knew it was them. (Yes, I'm in Brazil)
As soon as I opened the door I noticed the blue & very rugged "smartphone" (I would rather call a PDA) and the lady was really quick on making all the questions and even collecting my signature. (While singing into the touchscreen I could see that the thingy is pretty well designed and simple.

I believe it took me less than 5 minutes to answer everything (even though it took me some 2 to remember which year my mother was born!), in a nutshell: I believe this "digital" census can really be a good thing!

Re:I answered to the census yesterday! (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#33413856)

not as well designed as you might think.

i live in a house with other 2 roommates, so it was classified as a "colective residence", this caused some problems for the 2 enumarators (a nice midle-aged lady and a 20 something boy). seems the interface is very linear, they have to input avery answer ano after another, and if they need to correct anything, it's kinda confusing.

i don't know if it's by design (to avoid fraud) or a typical case of good programers that are lousy at interface design.

but, minor annoyances appart, i'm still satified with the process and proud of it.

publicy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33414266)

Publicy? That's pretty cute. Public + policy = publicy

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?