My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Will Microsoft rescue Florida’s census count?

Most likely this effort is a “too little too late” scenario, but be sure to check out how Microsoft is trying to assist in enumeration efforts in Florida.

One theory is that Florida may use Micrsoft-gathered data down the road to demand a re-count or re-enumeration. A Census Bureau insider tells me the following about this topic:

1. It’s advertising.

2. To its credit, Census is less invested in Microsoft products than it could be. So Microsoft has less to lose by alienating the Census Bureau.
IBM and Oracle have BIG contracts with the Census Bureau; they probably wanted nothing to  do with Florida’s software development project.

3. FL residents deserve an apathy prize for the lack of participation in My Florida Census.

4. Do not rule out the possibility of a hidden, evil social engineering agenda on Microsoft’s part.

5. Apple revenues outpaced Microsoft’s last quarter; Microsoft is fading.

6. The failed handheld computer ran a Windows Mobile operating system. May have contributed to development problems and subsequent failure.

7. Very interesting report: “During the redistricting process in 2001, the Florida House of Representatives learned that certain areas seemed to have more voters than the 2000 census had recorded for the voting-age population. That discovery led the House to conclude that Florida’s population had been undercounted during the 2000 census.”

8. “An accurate aerial image…” Too bad the Census Bureau did not think of making better use of aerial images for the Address Canvassing operation.

9. “By using Bing Maps, the application presents highly accurate images of streets and addresses, which are often more accurate than census roads.”
Just horrible that the private sector claims their geodata is better than the Census Bureau’s.  Why hasn’t Groves massacred some Census Bureau managers for this? How much of the blame does Harris deserve for their sizable role in 2010 Census geography? Why hasn’t the Census Bureau’s management addressed this amazing claim?

And perhaps most importantly…

10. What does the State of Florida know about the Census 2000 Hialeah recount that we don’t?

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4 Responses to “Will Microsoft rescue Florida’s census count?”

  1. anon Says:

    I believe this is about redistricting, not enumeration.

  2. Sunshine CL Says:

    The state of Florida presented some unique challenges during the 2010 census for two reasons: fairly rapid recent growth in certain parts of central Florida and a large number of snowbirds, many of whom departed before NRFU. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of properties did not exist during map spotting, and they were tagged “uninhabitable” during NRFU because of missing roofs, windows, etc. During VDC, the same properties were handled inconsistently: for example, many were marked “occupied-population unknown” if they appeared to be (without verification of ownership or rental property status). Several hundred more properties are in various stages of production. They were not counted, although they will likely be occupied by year’s end.
    The departure of snowbirds before NRFU necessitated using proxies, many of whom are short-term renters unfamiliar with neighborhoods and thus unreliable.

    Finally, the artificially rushed deadlines for both NRFU and VDC encouraged many enums to fill in EQ’s with unreliable proxy information or information on the property’s “appearance” or current status. For example, properties currently abandoned or in foreclosure might have been occupied on census day, but were marked “vacant” to get the EQ’s in quickly.

    Is it any wonder that there are doubts concerning census accuracy in Florida?

  3. Regarding anon Says:

    Regarding anon’s point, the work between Microsoft and specifically the Florida House of Representatives is about both the 2010 Census and the 2012 Reapportionment (redistricting).

    According to several articles, the House is developing an online tool to help citizens participate in the next redistricting, redrawing political boundary lines (Florida offered a desktop application in 2001-2002 for citizen participation).

    A pragmatic way to test to tool, while in development, was to create a website that offered a practical value for the public in the immediate term and the pratical value of testing the technology stack. So the House create a website and application related to the 2010 Census (www.myfloridacensus.gov). Presumably, the lessons learned through http://www.myfloridacensus.gov will feed into the development of the redistricting website and application.

    Based on the articles, it appears that the House is using entirely Microsoft products to build and maintain their websites.

  4. Admin OOS Says:

    The government doesn’t use Microsoft for a reason, it is a security concern. Plus we all have access to Google Maps so who needs Bing?