Harris wins $600 million Census automated field data deal

Harris Corp. won a five-year, $600 million contract from the Census Bureau to build an automated system capable of collecting data in the field.

Under the contract, Harris of Melbourne, Fla., will serve as the systems integrator and handle program management for a large team that will carry out the bureau's Field Data Collection Automation project.

Harris' team includes Accenture Ltd., Client Network Services Inc., Dell Computer Corp., Headstrong Corp., High Tech Computer Corp., Oracle Corp., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Unisys Corp.

Accenture will furnish mobile computing applications and enterprise support systems, while Unisys will oversee nationwide support and service for about 500 Census Bureau field offices.

The Harris-led team will be responsible for integrating multiple automated systems required to obtain data securely and efficiently for the 2010 Census.

Field representatives will use mobile computers to collect data, which aims to increase efficiency and ultimately reduce costs for the 2010 Census.

"We are revolutionizing the census. The hand-held computers are an integral part of a reengineered 2010 Census," said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon in a statement.

Traditionally, Census field data collection was handled primarily through paper address lists, maps and questionnaires, resulting in high labor costs and potential errors because it took so many people to collect and process the data.

For the 2010 Decennial Census, the Census Bureau plans to use automated systems to directly capture information collected during interviews, reducing the need for paper-based processing while increasing operational efficiency, improving accuracy, and reducing costs.

These systems will support the data collection activities of Census Bureau enumerators and local census offices during the 2008 dress rehearsal and ultimately the 2010 Decennial Census. At the peak of data collection operations during the 2010 Census, the FDCA system will support approximately 500 local offices and over 500,000 enumerators.

Harris also is integrating the Census Bureau's Master Address File and Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing databases as part of the Accuracy Improvement Project.

Harris of Melbourne, Fla. has more than 13,000 employees and annual sales of more than $3 billion. The company ranks No. 23 on Washington Technology's 2005 Top 100 list of federal prime contractors.

Mary Mosquera is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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