Modernizing Population and Housing Census Management in Botswana

Among the most important data that is gathered by a well-executed Population and Housing Census (PHC) are the population, the distribution of residents within certain areas, and living conditions. These facts are critical to a country’s economic development and a government’s ability to oversee the welfare of its citizens.

Policymakers use census information to make decisions about where and how to invest a government’s time and resources. Outdated census-taking practices and inaccurate data about a country’s population are detrimental to addressing the needs of a population. Understanding the size, distribution, and diversity of the populace helps policymakers provide optimized economic planning, development, and improved policy planning.

For a long time, the Republic of Botswana in southern Africa grappled with the issue of updating its census procedures. To begin with, the role of cartography in the census process had previously been for two purposes. The first was to support the production of Enumeration Area maps, which designate the geographic areas canvassed by census representatives. Additionally, thematic maps were derived from census information during both the Analysis and Dissemination phases of the census.

However, the latest in geospatial technology allow for cartography to play a role throughout the entire census process. Part of the need for modernizing Botswana’s census process required taking advantage of this technology to add dynamic and simplified visualization capabilities throughout the project.

Additionally, the data collection process for Botswana’s census was complicated. Facts and figures were manually recorded on forms by field workers who used paper maps to navigate their assigned Enumeration Areas. Doing so was time-extensive and sometimes led to inaccuracies.

Lastly, the democratization of data makes spatial data more readily available to everyone, but the ability to collect and interpret this data in most cases remains with the few specialists who have the required domain and technology expertise. Thus, field workers also required advanced map interpretation skills and were tasked with precisely recording enormous amounts of information.

Statistics Botswana and Hexagon Team Provide a Modern Solution

Statistics Botswana, a parastatal organization responsible for the management of official statistics on Botswana, turned to Hexagon’s Geospatial division for a solution to the previous error-prone census processes.

To help transform, streamline, and democratize the entire census process, Hexagon offered Statistics Botswana its HxGN Smart Census solution to be fully implemented in time for the 2021 census.

HxGN Smart Census is a client-server software platform designed exclusively with census management in mind. It integrates traditional GIS functionality with a powerful workflow and workforce management tool to provide a total solution for census strategies. It also provides modules that power the end-to-end workflow, from pre-enumeration mapping to enumeration to dissemination.

With this solution, Statistics Botswana aims to reduce the cost of census-taking, improve the quality of data, eliminate the duplication of efforts, and save time. To learn more about the HxGN Smart Census solution and how it will help Statistics Botswana meet the needs of Botswana’s citizens, check out the customer story.

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