Following recent successes in Tokelau and Vanuatu, the Pacific Island Kingdom of Tonga is modernizing how they conduct their Population and Housing Census by adopting a fully automated system.

The Polynesian nation’s census began on 30 November, and currently enumerators and supervisors in the field have access to 600 tablets to complete the task.

The Pacific Community (SPC) is providing technical support to the Government of Tonga for this initiative.

“Tokelau was the first in the region to use the automated system with only 30 tablets and Vanuatu is the process of conducting their census with 350 tablets. Tonga tested the use of tablets when a household listing was conducted earlier this year and is now confidently pursuing this method for their census,” SPC Statistics for Development Division’s Geographical Information Systems Specialist, Phil Bright said.

A major advantage of the new system is its ability to provide more control over how data is collected and managed.

Another key feature is the utilisation of field maps generated using satellite imagery to assist enumerators with determining their location in the field.

“The automated system has completely eliminated paper questionnaires which significantly improves the quality of the data with validation checks being done directly on the tablets.

“Questionnaires can be synchronized with the main server whenever there is an internet connection allowing this vital information to be backed up, and also allowing supervisors and other project staff to have access to the data in real-time in order to perform checks and monitor progress,” Mr Bright added.

The census is expected to take approximately three weeks to complete.

Media contact:
Phil Bright SPC Geographical Information Systems Specialist, [email protected]  or + 687 26 20 00 ext 31226

Useful links:
Pacific Community Statistics for Development Division
Tonga Population GIS