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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Census Data Informs Allocation of Resources Around the Globe with the New Hexagon HxGN Smart Census

October 25th, 2018 by Susan Smith

 As our U.S. Census nears its next collection in 2020, Hexagon Geospatial takes on the globe with its latest Census launch that takes into account the UN sustainable development goals.

Nele Coghe, Product Marketing Manager at Hexagon Geospatial answered some questions this week for GISCafe Voice on Hexagon Geospatial division’s launch of its total Population and Housing Census (PHC) management and workflow solution, HxGN Smart Census.

The solution was developed in consultation with South African GIS experts, GeoSpace International, and has already been procured by South Africa and Botswana.

“With HxGN Smart Census, the census gets completed much faster, and the mobile application has made things much simpler for the field workers who are conducting the interviews,” said Shonisani Maranda, Senior GIS Officer at Statistics South Africa. “It also significantly increased the data quality, which allows us to achieve the UN sustainable development goals more easily.”

The various phases of the census process are made smarter and more manageable with the new solution. HxGN Smart Census pricing is agile, taking into account a nation’s surface area, population, and Human Poverty Index (HPI) to ensure that all countries can participate in the digitalizing of their census processes.

The UN requires that member countries conduct a census once in every ten years. In poorer countries the price is adjusted, and one license can be used by unlimited users. This makes census collection accessible to people of all backgrounds and geographic settings, some of whom lack recorded addresses.

According to company materials, HxGN Smart Census integrates traditional GIS functionality with a powerful workflow and workforce management tool to provide a total solution for census strategies: from pre-enumeration mapping, to digital enumeration, to post-enumeration dynamic mapping. It can be used on its own or integrated with a nation or organization’s existing GIS infrastructure.

“Census data informs policy development, the running of public services, and the allocation of resources within a country. It is vital that all nations are able to utilize the right technology to ensure an accurate and effective census,” said Mladen Stojic, president of Hexagon’s Geospatial division.

More information about HxGN Smart Census is available at

 HxGN Smart Census Tool is said to be a “total solution for census strategies: from pre-enumeration mapping, to digital enumeration, to post-enumeration dynamic mapping. It can be used on its own or integrated with a nation or organization’s existing GIS infrastructure.” Can you describe what each of those are for our readers – pre-enumeration, digital enumeration and so forth?

The different phases are described in detail in the article Democratizing the Census Process

How can you ensure everyone gets counted in the next Census?

The integrated workflow planning combined with the mobile application from HxGN Smart

Census ensure that all enumerators don’t skip a single household. The solution ensures a real

time monitoring of the visited households and with the geofencing capacities, the enumerators

can only input the data when they physically are at the assigned location.

How do Census collection methods differ around the world?

In developed countries, door-to-door canvassing to collect census data has been replaced by

a registration-based census. However, in some parts of the world, such as Africa, civil registration and housing registers are not complete or current, so their door-to-door canvassing is still applied.

How is the Census collected generally in rural areas? Are they using mobile units, smartphones or face-to-face visits?

Data collection for the census in third world countries is a manual process. Fieldworkers receive paper maps to orientate themselves to their enumeration areas. The interviews are done with pen and paper. Once the interviews are over, all papers need to be sent to a central location where all papers are scanned and digitized. This is a very tedious and complicated way of collecting data, and doesn’t guarantee reliable data quality.

South Africa and Botswana are now using mobile devices with the HxGN Smart Census application. HxGN Smart Census uses advanced caching to enable offline use in remote areas where data access is limited or non-existent. If required, the enumerator can work offline for days or even weeks. The module can also be used by management to conduct training, track progress, manage issue reports, and monitor logistics. This digital approach eliminates the paper-to-digital conversion step, significantly improving the data quality and shortening the time between the interview and the dissemination.

Do you employ geospatial located based technologies for address validation and mail metering, for accurate geocoding?

The HxGN Smart Census pre-enumeration module combines imagery basemaps and GIS


HxGN Smart Census implies fewer desktop GIS licenses, but it does not imply replacement of

the entire current GIS infrastructure that may exist at a national statistics office. Since it

accesses any established spatial database server, such as Oracle Spatial or SQL Server, HxGN

Smart Census can be used together with any desktop software, such as GeoMedia or ArcGIS.

How often do different countries collect Census numbers?

The United Nations require their members to conduct one census every ten years.

What is the cost of the HxGN Smart Census tool and how accessible is it to countries, particularly Third world countries?

HxGN Smart Census users benefit from a uniquely transparent pricing model. The price calculation is based on three objective parameters of the concerned country: population, surface area, and poverty index. Poorer countries pay less in order for the solution to be affordable for all countries. The calculated price also includes five years of software maintenance. One license allows an unlimited number of users.

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