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Modernizing the US Census with GIS technology

Population censuses are one of the primary sources of data for implementing policies aimed at inclusive socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability. Governments recognize the need to advance their mission with the help of digital technology and the use of GIS: a transformational technology that allows organizations to understand how location impacts their workflows and bottom line.


The US Census Bureau set a goal to modernize its entire census process and understand how to apply technology—including GIS—to better serve its mission.


The US Census used GIS technology to gain efficiencies, increase accuracy, and improve collaboration—all while reducing costs.

How do you count more than 330 million people

Each decade, the US Census Bureau evaluates its methods. For the 2020 Census, it used GIS in more ways than ever to get the count right.

Navigate your digital transformation with GIS

National Government

Any agency—no matter how large or complex—can adopt new technologies and realize the benefits of GIS.


GIS provides the tools needed to power elections, from the redistricting process to elections outreach and management.

State and Local Government

Much of what a community, business, or public agency does is related to its geography. Smart governments use location to innovate and collaborate.

Challenges: GIS provides the solutions

Establish where to count

Ensure an up-to-date, accurate, and complete address list for the 2020 Census by utilizing GIS and earth observation data such as imagery and remote sensing.

Optimize response rates

Make it easier to identify hard-to-survey areas by targeting efforts on increasing response rates with GIS.

Conduct the count

GIS tools have moved into the field, allowing us to collect, monitor, and manage the full operation.

Tabulate and release results

Data dissemination is a key part of your mission. GIS technology helps you make your data discoverable and fit for purpose for your users.


GIS was used to completely modernize and change the way the US Census Bureau does business.

Reduce costs

By conducting in-office address canvassing, the US Census eliminated 65 percent of the fieldwork needed to validate addresses.

Speed time to delivery

By using GIS in planning, US Census staff were able to optimize enumeration areas and create efficiencies in their work, saving time and money.

Improve accuracy

With the use of spatial analysis, census agencies can better understand hard-to-reach areas and improve overall accuracy.

Better serve customers

Use GIS to create products that serve different types of users, such as academia, researchers, policy makers, small business owners, and citizens.

Resources for modernization

Explore resources

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