Census/Survey House Maps & Address Register Update

Capitol Hill, Saipan (June 13, 2014) – The CNMI Central Statistic Division (CSD), Department of Commerce, is currently updating its Census/Survey Household (HH) Maps and Address Registry on the islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian.

CSD was applying Census Bureau’s traditional methods in mapping and creating housing address registers by using hard copies of maps and estimating the approximate locations of housing units. The last update was in 2004. This time, CSD decided to conduct another update of its maps and address registers using satellite imagery and GPS units – to accurately plot the locations of all housing units. The GPS units allow CSD accurate locations of housing units to within meters – which our future household survey enumerators can use to navigate and locate housing units to conduct surveys.

CSD has hired a total of 13 mappers; 7 for Saipan, 2 for each of the islands of Rota and Tinian. Mapping work has begun on Saipan as of June 9th, Rota and Tinian will follow soon after. According to 2010 Census household count figures, Saipan has a total of about 18,683 household units, Rota a total of about 1,049 and Tinian a total of about 1,118. The entire mapping work will take approximately 8 to 12 weeks to complete.

CSD is asking for the public’s assistance as their mappers canvass and plot housing locations in your neighborhoods. The mappers have been trained and are conducting this operation in accordance with the provisions and mandates of the CNMI Statistical Act of 1990. They are required to introduce themselves, briefly explain the purpose of their visits and carry with them their Mapper’s
Identification at all times.

The Department of Commerce’s Central Statistics Division would like to acknowledge the assistance of the CNMI Bureau of Environmental & Coastal Quality (BECQ) for sharing a copy of satellite images for Saipan, Rota, and Tinian. Acknowledgement and a big thank you also goes to Dr. Gerald Haberkorn of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in detailing one of his staff, Mr. Phil Bright BSc(GIS) to lend technical assistance to CSD. Using the BECQ satellite image, GPS points, all household unit locations will be marked on the map and recorded in CSD’s Housing Unit Address Register.

“Once all the new GPS data points on all HHs are updated into CSD’s mapping database, we would be able to calculate exactly how many HH per block and review their boundaries depending on desired HH counts per block,” stated Mr. Bright. “These will then provide even sized areas for survey sampling and fair enumerator workloads for fieldwork.” With creative use of limited funding, CSD is using an open source mapping software, QGIS (previously known as “Quantum GIS”) a cross-platform application that provides data viewing, editing, and analysis capabilities.

Department of Commerce’s Secretary Sixto K. Igisomar is optimistic on the use of the new GPS units and intends to fully support the vision of data imagery to a whole new level for the CNMI. The ongoing GPS mapping phase 1 of the broadband survey is funded by the State Broadband Initiative Grant, also referred to as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. Once all HHs are updated, the mappers will switch to the roles of enumerators and begin the broadband survey. The broadband survey is focused on assessing and determining HHs experience with broadband coverage, price, usage, etc.

For more information or for any inquiries please contact the Acting CSD Director, Alfonis M. Sound, or Justin H. Andrew, the Managing Supervisor for the mapping and survey at 664-3023 or 664-3045.

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