2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Oct 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/10/2006   
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eCensus - a net gain in form processing efficiency

IBM application and hosting expertise helps ABS build the big picture faster with eCensus program. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has worked with IBM Australia to deliver the eCensus option, which was used by 9% of those filling out Census forms.

Usage of the eCensus application, designed, built and hosted for the ABS by IBM Australia, peaked between 8pm and 9pm on Census night, 8 August, during which more than 72,000 online forms were received. During the 24-hour period of 8 August, eCensus delivered more than 12.5 million page views.

Despite as many as 55,000 households logging on simultaneously (8.47pm on 8 August), the eCensus application delivered 100% availability through the Census’ most busy period, from Saturday 5 August to Sunday 13 August. Average page response times remained below one second within the IBM environment.

Research on web-based Census initiatives points to several benefits compared with the traditional paper forms, including increased accessibility for the vision-impaired, reduced reliance on field collectors, fewer spoilt forms, as well as more efficient statistical processing.

Glen Boreham, CEO and General Manager for IBM Australia and New Zealand, believes the eCensus program will help the ABS more accurately measure key characteristics of the Australian population, and in turn allow for better planning of services and facilities across the country.

“This is the first time the Internet has been used to capture information about Australia on such a scale,” said Mr Boreham. “Capturing data online has the potential to greatly reduce the Census’ logistics burden, and to dramatically speed up the collection and processing of data.”

“This innovation has the potential to save taxpayers funds and, in line with the purpose of the Census, to enable Australia’s researchers and planners to better address the future needs of our community.”

Assistant director for the eCensus project, Peter Clark, said: “The ubiquity of the Internet, combined with the information management and processing capabilities it enables, make eCensus a logical progression in the development of the Census program”.

“The eCensus allows ABS to fully leverage the Internet in the task of building the national statistical resource and to define that essential snapshot of how Australians live,” Mr Clark said.

“IBM’s expertise in building and hosting secure, robust web applications around the eCensus was an important ingredient in helping us conduct the Census as a

“The majority of feedback the ABS has received on this initiative from people completing their Census form online has been very positive.”