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Automized Census using HHD. THE CENSUS HISTORY IN OMAN. In December 2003, the Sultanate of Oman conducted the second population and housing census ever in its modern history.

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Automized census using hhd l.jpg

Automized Census using HHD


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THE CENSUS HISTORY IN OMAN

  • In December 2003, the Sultanate of Oman conducted the second population and housing census ever in its modern history.

  • Similar to the previous practice of 1993 Census, the 2003 Census programme also included a general comprehensive census of establishments.


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ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

  • The Sultanate of Oman is divided into (8) administrative divisions of which (3) are called Governorates (Muhafaza) and the other (5) are called Regions (Mantiqa).

  • Every administrative division is divided into sub-divisions, each called a (Wilayat), within which population settlements (Cities, villages, …etc)

  • The capital city of Muscat is one of the three Governorates mentioned above. Each of its Wilayat is sub-divided into municipality block each called (Moujamma).


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  • For census purposes, all population settlements in the Sultanate (including the municipality blocks of Muscat governorate) were divided by the census cartographers into smaller sections called census blocks.

  • Hence, census blocks were grouped into enumeration areas (90-120 household/housing units).

CENSUS DIVISIONS


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PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATIONS Sultanate (including the municipality blocks of Muscat governorate) were divided by the census cartographers into smaller sections called

The rapid advancement in the area of Information Technology around the world, and ambition to provide high quality data, lead the census administration to consider the use of technology in the various aspects of the census taken. Below are some of the techniques examined:

  • Scanners:

    • Saves time and effort (data entry).

    • Used in case of large population size.

    • Requires special equipments during operation.


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2. Sultanate (including the municipality blocks of Muscat governorate) were divided by the census cartographers into smaller sections called Lap Top:

  • Size and weight

  • High cost

    3. Handheld Device (HHD):

  • Appropriate size and price

  • Available in the market and used as a personal organizer


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THE SELECTION Sultanate (including the municipality blocks of Muscat governorate) were divided by the census cartographers into smaller sections called

Due to the relatively small population size in Oman (which is a little over 2 millions), and in order to provide timely and high quality data, HHD were selected to be used in the General Population, Housing and Establishment Census 2003.


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  • ADVANTAGES OF USING HHD Sultanate (including the municipality blocks of Muscat governorate) were divided by the census cartographers into smaller sections called

  • (ASSUMED)

  • Data collection and data entry processes are merged, hence, reducing time and manpower.

  • Coding of close-ended questions is done automatically.

  • Speeds up the data collection process.

  • Provides high levels of quality and precision.


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THE DEVICE eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

It is an electronic device available in the market and is used as an organizer. The touch screen constitutes ¾ of the device and the buttons are used to activate application programs and to save data.


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THE COMPONENTS eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

The Stylus

A writing and data entry device. It was used successfully in the enumeration process.

The Wheel

Can be used instead of the stylus to perform many operations, such as; browsing, selecting and activating icons.


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External Memory eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

A memory card for extra storage space.

Cover

Soft leather cover to protect the screen from breaking, dirt, dust and sunlight.

Battery

Similar to what is found in most cellular phones.


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SELECTION CRITERIA eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

Several criteria were set for the selection of the appropriate device:

  • Support Arabic version.

  • User friendly.

  • Battery life should last at least 8 working hours.

  • Ability to recharge the battery in the field.

  • Ability to retrieve saved information in case of any technical problem.

  • Enough memory to store data for (110) households (average size of households 8 persons).

  • Easy to carry and handle.


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ELECTRONIC QUESTIONNAIRE CRITERIA eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

  • User friendly.

  • Bilingual (Arabic and English).

  • Incorporates fields editing schemes.

  • Warns the enumerator in case response to required

    questions was not given.

  • Skips irrelevant questions.

  • Possibility to review, modify or delete data.

  • Does not allow data repetition.


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TO USE OR NOT TO USE THE HHD eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.THAT IS THE QUESTION

  • The decision to use the HHD in data collection was taken after conducting several tests to ensure their capability to perform the required tasks.

  • During the period since the decision to use the device was taken and till conducting the actual count, many modifications were introduced on the system and programmes to suit the census needs.


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The first experiment: September – October 2002 eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

Two devices were used, the PALM 130 and PALM 500 with a capacity of 8 MB. The first experiment focused on the following:

  • To examine the capability of the HHD in data collection.

  • To select the appropriate software company.


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  • The second experiment: June – July 2003 eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

  • It was conducted after selecting the appropriate company and focused on:

    • Identifying the problems and obstacles that may be encounteredand finding out the appropriate solutions.

    • Identifying human resources and training materials needed.


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COVERAGE eliminating the data entry process, thus allowing prompt retrieval and publication of reports.

Three options were considered for the use of HHD:

  • To be used at the national level.

  • To be used in any governorate or region.

  • To be used in two Wilayat selected, one from Muscat governorate and the second one from other regions.


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It was decided to use the device in the capital city of Muscat due to the following reasons:

  • First time to use HHD in census.

  • Easy access to any part of Muscat governorate within 15 minutes from the technical support center.

  • The availability of training facilities in Muscat governorate.

  • The availability of sufficient number of devices in the market.


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THE SCREENS Muscat due to the following reasons:

The questions were divided across several screens, each containing a set of questions related to a certain topic, such as:

  • Individuals general characteristics.

  • Data on school enrollment.


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Individuals General Characteristics Muscat due to the following reasons:

School Enrollment


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EDITING RULES AND FIELD PROGESS REPORTS Muscat due to the following reasons:

First: Rules pertaining to the appearance of the screens and questions.

Designed to organize the appearance of the relevant screens and questions either by age, nationality or gender.


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RULES FOR THE APPEARANCE OF THE RELEVANT Muscat due to the following reasons:

SCREENS AND QUESTIONS

Occupied

Not occupied

Closed


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Second Muscat due to the following reasons:: Editing rules

Warning messages will show in case of an error in the collected data item, and/or if it’s inconsistent with any of the preceding items.


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Error messages Muscat due to the following reasons:

Warning Messages


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  • Third Muscat due to the following reasons:: Daily progress reports

    The enumerator was allowed (if necessary) to skip certain questions without filling them out, in order not to delay the field work.

    The following progress reports were generated on a daily basis:

  • Assistant supervisors report by crew-leader:

    Includes the total number of housing, households and individuals.


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2. Muscat due to the following reasons:Crew-leader report:

Includes several reports of the enumerators:

1. General report on the number of housing, households and individuals.

2. List of closed and unoccupied housing.

3. List of individuals’ records with missing data.

4. List of deleted housing, households and individuals


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3. Muscat due to the following reasons:Enumerators reports and it includes:

- Detailed reports on housing, households and individuals - Progress reports on incomplete and inconsistent

enumeration units:

1. Report showing incomplete units.

2. Detailed report showing incomplete data.

3. Report containing detailed list on unmatched data, not obeying the pre-set electronic rules.

4. Report on unmatched occupation and economic activities.


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LIST OF THE DETAILED CLASSIFICATION Muscat due to the following reasons:

Two levels of classification lists on occupation, economic activity and educational level were prepared: a short and a detailed one. This was based on the data derived from the results of the 1993 Census and the data available from other relevant sources.

In case the data item was not found in either the short or the detailed list, it was entered manually by the enumerator.


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OCCUPATION CLASSIFICATION LIST Muscat due to the following reasons:(SHORT AND DETAILED)


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ECONOMIC ACTIVITY CLASSIFICATION LIST Muscat due to the following reasons:(SHORT AND DETAILED)


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ECONOMIC ACTIVITY CLASSIFICATION LIST Muscat due to the following reasons:(SHORT AND DETAILED)


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FIELD REQUIREMENTS Muscat due to the following reasons:

Several necessary field requirements were provided like:

  • The Census administration designed a pigeon-hole cabinet for the easy charging of the HHD which had to be done on a daily basis.

  • A briefcase was especially designed for each crew-leader to accommodate all the HHDs as well as to preserve them from scratch, breaking or loss.

  • A holder was designed for the enumerator to hold HHD, a calculator and a notebook for easy use.


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FIELD PROBLEMS Muscat due to the following reasons:

This delay caused certain problems that can be summarized as follows:

  • The batteries of some devices ran out of power in a short time while the enumerator was in the field.

  • The screen of certain devices did not respond to stylus taps.

  • Some of the devices would turn off.

  • Some devices had to be reset, in which case the enumerator had to enter the language selection program to restart the device.


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  • Early planning to ensure: tapping by mistake at any of the responses.

    • Proper selection of enumerators.

    • Designing accurate software programs and quality control rules.

  • Establish sound proof rules to reduce errors in data entry, such as:

    • Double entry

    • Confirmation (voice or written).

RECOMMENDATIONS


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Thank You economic activities and occupations.


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