The ArcPad Team Blog

Unofficial stuff from the team behind the World's leading mobile GIS platform

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oman’s Building and Establishment Census to use Archer Field PCs with ESRI ArcPad

July 13, 2009 - The General Census of Population, Housing and Establishments will be conducted in April 2010 in the Sultanate of Oman. The difference this time round to the last census in 2003 is that GIS technology from ESRI and mobile devices – the Archer Field PC from Juniper Systems, Inc., are being utilized in an effort to efficiently and accurately capture required data.
“GIS is playing an increasing role in our daily lives and I see the great benefits for using it in our census collection efforts” says Ali Mahboob Al Raisi, Director General of Census. “Through the use of a mobile GIS solution being developed for us by ESRI Muscat, we anticipate reducing our survey of buildings and establishments in the Sultanate from 2 years down to just 4 months”.
The aim of the building and establishment survey is to identify every building, unit, household and establishment in the Sultanate, and collect specific information that will be used to aid the population census enumerators in their collection activities during the population census being conducted in April 2010. There are an estimated 450,000 buildings located in some 5,500 localities across the country, some being very remote and only accessible by foot.
CEO of ESRI Muscat Philip Burden says “we undertook research of available mobile devices when preparing our proposal and chose the Juniper Systems’ Archer Field PC because of its ruggedized characteristics, long battery life on a single charge and large screen, qualities that were essential for this undertaking. Bundled with ESRI’s ArcPad 8.0 this enables us to quickly customize applications to fit census requirements and get field collectors into the field”.
A total of 29 regional offices will be established around the Sultanate from where teams of field collectors (Data Leaders, Field Collectors and QC Collectors - 371 in all) will visit each building and establishment. A total of 401 Archer Field PCs were purchased, 30 initially to be held as spares, but indications are that these too will be used. Loaded with ArcPad 8.0, custom forms and GPS, the Archer Field PCs will be used to locate the buildings to be visited, record locations of buildings not previously recorded, and track the movement of field collectors.
On a daily basis, data from the regional offices will be transmitted via secure means to the data center in Muscat where the central GIS database will be updated and various progress reports produced which will enable management to monitor the progress of the surveys and the individuals collecting the information. At the conclusion of the survey, statistics will be produced and made available to senior government leaders in a matter of hours, something which in the past took weeks to collate and prepare. The GIS data will then be used as foundation data for the population census in April 2010.
Solution Concept The screen shots below show a building survey form prepared during demonstration of concept earlier this year. This interface was developed using ArcPad 7.1 and shows the use of Arabic forms.
The user interfaces for the final deployed building survey forms will utilize ArcPad 8.0. An example of the towns information screen is shown below. The interface will be bilingual (English and Arabic).

The project will rely on the comprehensive Geodatabase already existing in the GIS Department of the Ministry covering all towns and villages in Oman. Data for the project will flow from the central GIS Data Center in Muscat out to 29 GIS Regional Offices. From here it is extracted onto field PCs equipped with GPS. Field collectors visit buildings and establishments and enter/update information. This is then checked back in at the Regional Office and subsequently transferred to the Data Center where progress reports are issued to monitor the progress. At the conclusion of this phase of the project, collected data will be used as a base for the population census in April 2010. The below figure shows the data flow.

For more information about the census project, contact Ali Mahboob Al Raisi, DG of Census at
About Juniper Systems
Headquartered in Logan, Utah, USA. Juniper Systems, Inc. provides innovative field computing solutions designed for rugged applications. Juniper Systems designs and manufactures rugged handheld computers serving applications including: mobile GIS, agriculture, industry, natural resources, and asset management. Juniper Systems rugged mobile devices feature Windows Mobile operating system, full seal from water and dust (IP67) plus integration with GPS. See the full product line at
About ESRI Muscat
Since 1989, ESRI Muscat has been offering clients a wide range of ESRI (and related third-party) GIS products as well as implementation services, consulting, raining and technical support, to help clients derive the most out of their investment in geospatial information and its management. The company derives its strength from the expertise of its highly skilled employees, and is continually building upon their knowledge and experiences to ensure that they stay at the forefront of ever changing industry of GIS. Our vision is ‘Spatial Empowerment’. To learn more about how we can help you, visit
ESRI and ArcPad are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions.
Archer Field PC, Juniper Systems, and the company logo are registered trademarks of Juniper Systems, Inc. in the United States.