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National GIS Data Helps United States Complete Census Count

National GIS Data Helps United States Complete Census Count

national gis dataLearn how national GIS data was able to assist US Census count during a pandemic.

For the past decade, the United States Census Bureau has been modernizing technology and developing apps to assist in collecting data on everyone in every location across the nation. By April 1, 2020, also known as Census Day, the COVID-19 pandemic had affected most of the world and brought with it new challenges for the Census Bureau. The organization was able to combat these issues with the help of national GIS data.

Challenges such as creating a safe practice for the Non-Response Follow Up (NRFU). It is part of the census collection project to send enumerators to households that have yet responded to the invitation to census participation. However, this poses a great risk to the enumerators of COVID-19 infection.

Addressing Challenges with National GIS Data

With CDC safety guidelines and national data of the pandemic, masked enumerators set out in select areas with mobile devices in hand to complete the NRFU operation. While keeping socially distant from residents, the enumerators were able to record answers safely and digitally. This information allowed the bureau to continue operations while monitoring and adapting.

Chief of the Census Bureau’s Geography Division, Deidre Dapiaz Bishop, stated that “Geographic information and associated technologies played a role in the transformation of the four main components of conduction the census.”

  • Assessing where to count
  • Encouraging residents to respond
  • Calculating the population
  • Analyzing the results

Due to the fact that the components are geography-based, the Census Bureau employed various GIS apps to assist.

GIS and the Census Working Together

There were numerous ways in which national GIS data was able to assist the Census Bureau in completing its project, such as, assessing address, enticing responses, assisting in NRFU, and tying the results together.


The accuracy of resident’s addresses plays an essential role in the census count. By utilizing GIS, satellite responsive imagery, and people on the ground staff was able to create an accurate and competent list of addresses. This information was then placed into a map viewer to inform users of the census operations. These results help various governmental districts.national gis data


The GIS app responsible for responsiveness is coined the Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM). This app uses 2021 census data and allowed for communities to best target resources and outreach efforts.

NRFU Assistance

Combining enumerator data and Field Operational Control Systems (FOCS) the Census Bureau was able to develop map services and secured vectors tiles to assist in NRFU operations.


By employing technology that is powered by national GIS data, the Census Bureau will be able to count every individual in the correct area in a specific way which will impact the next 10 years of government.

GIS data can assist organizations when it comes to geography-based projects and deliver results. GeoTel Communications can assist in providing top-quality, accurate telecom GIS data. Contact the experts to learn more.

Valerie Stephen