2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Apr 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/05/2002   
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The DPC - Efficiency in processing

By Paul Lowe, Director, Census Data Processing Centre

The Census Data Processing Centre (DPC) is a large temporary office established in an old historic wool store in Ultimo, NSW. Over 850 staff are employed to process the 136 shipping container loads of 2001 Census forms that are returned from the field to the site.

For the 2001 Census, new technology has been introduced in order to make the process more efficient and, at the same time, improve the quality of the final data that is produced. This technology has included scanning the forms and processing the resultant images through Intelligent Character Recognition Software and automatic coding systems. The scanning of the Census forms has been a great success with the images from over 117 million pages now captured.

Census processing is on schedule with the first phase now complete. This first phase is First Release Processing, where the population counts and a wide range of basic demographic data (e.g. birthplace, religion, ancestry) are processed. Now that the first phase has been completed, Second Release Processing has commenced. In this phase the more complex topics such as occupation, industry, and educational qualifications are processed.

Over 50% of the responses for these topics are being automatically coded through the new software package developed by the ABS. The remainder still require an operator to examine the response and code it using computer assisted coding. Second Release Processing is on track to be completed by the middle of this year.

All of the staff at the DPC are focused on achieving a high quality result. The following DPC vision statement truly represents the esprit de corps that has developed in the office: Through professionalism and dedication, our team will achieve excellence in processing the 2001 Census to provide a foundation for improving Australia's future.

At the ABS we realise the importance users place on census data, so you'll find that the staff at the DPC are engaged and focused on achieving their vision of excellence in processing the 2001 Census.