• August 13th, 2020

Opinion: NSA commences with census mapping

Iipumbu Sakaria

The NSA has officially started its census mapping exercise last week, starting with the Zambezi region and to be extended to the entire country from next year February until August 2020. In order to really understand what this project is all about, a bit of information is necessary. Namibia has held three censuses since independence; one in 1991, 2001 and 2011 respectively. The next one will be held in the year 2021. The census is generally considered to be the most complete statistical collection exercise that a country can conduct. A census provides not only complete demographic information, easier understood as relating to population counts, but also a complete collection of household and socio-economic activities in the country. Since a census is such a huge and costly undertaking it takes place only once in every ten years. Since census are undertaken in literally all countries of the world, the next census round is known as the 2020 Round of census. This essentially just means that all countries have a specific period of time around 2020 to conclude their censuses. 

Now, before a census can successfully take place, a census mapping exercise will have to be conducted. The census mapping exercise essentially takes actual maps of the entire country, identifies all structures on the map, and then requires fieldworkers to literally go on the ground and verify each and every structure as identified in person. The purpose of this verification is to ensure that all structures identified are correctly identified as either dwelling units, commercial structures, educational or health facilities, recreational facilities, heritage sites, public structures, religious places, transport notes, industrial or agricultural structures, power stations, water sites, treatment plants and telecommunication towers, just to mention a few. Once this is completed the NSA will be able to create a national sampling frame which will be used for the 2021 Census. We shall also be able to produce a national dwelling unit frame, or better known as a complete national housing database, a frame for statistics business register, digital maps for all households and institutions. This is massive data and information that will be used for development planning. 

You might wonder where we would get these maps from. Well, this year in May the NSA obtained high resolution online satellite images for this exercise. This allowed us to digitize all structures as per the maps and the actual ground field work will now verify all this information. It is important to remember that technology should be our best friend instead of enemy and the NSA will conduct the next Census and this current census mapping exercise completely digital, meaning no paperwork; or as limited as possible. We have also put in the necessary steps to ensure that the upcoming census and most our statistics will have a spatial component to it. This just means that we will be able to add location to all statistics that we produce and will hence be able to make geographic sense of what we have. There are numerous advantages to it. 

Since the census exercise is an expensive exercise, we have already put in measures to cut costs as much as possible. To that regards we are extremely grateful for the assistance that we received from the Zambezi region. The region came to our aid logistically in terms of training venues, parking space for our vehicles and numerous other positive gestures that we really appreciate. The NSA has also listened to its stakeholders that consistently urged us to ensure that we recruit people from their respective regions to do its fieldwork. To that regards the NSA is happy to announce that all fieldworkers that are currently doing the mapping in the Zambezi region are all from there. We aim to do that for the entire country as well. We would like to urge all citizens to receive our fieldworkers with open arms and cooperate where required so that we can have improved information for our development. For further queries do not hesitate to contact our office or statisticians based in all regions. 

*Iipumbu Sakaria is the Manager of Corporate Communication at the Namibia Statistics Agency 

Staff Reporter
2019-10-21 07:33:09 | 9 months ago

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