Burma has launched its first census in 30 years with the help of UK technology company DRS Data Services.
This involves the design, printing and shipping of 16 million specially formulated questionnaires, which, after the census is completed in April 2014, will be scanned and analysed to give more accurate information on the country and its citizens.
The Southeast Asian country, also known as The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, was under military rule between 1962 and 2011, so now needs to capture data for its estimated population of 60 million across 135 different ethnic groups.
"The idea is to use the census as a benchmark to help push forward the country's current transition, using data to provide social, economic and demographic characteristics of people and households for the purpose of ongoing reforms, development planning and good governance," said HE. U Khin Yi, minister for population and immigration in Myanmar.
Scanning of the forms will begin during the first two weeks of May, in a purpose-built 7.5m square foot warehouse, registering and processing up to 24,000 forms an hour, using Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) and Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) software.
Commenting on the operational and logistics challenges of the Myanmar census, DRS census specialist Ann Stewart-Baker said that paper was a more appropriate medium for a census in developing countries due to a lack of electricity and internet connectivity.
Myanmar expects to release the preliminary census results within three to four months.
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