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Thread: Census work?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Census work?

    Any census-related experiences to relate?

    In 2000 I was with a wireless contractor, and it was not keeping me busy. Went through the enumerator training program, and then my main gig suddenly ramped up. (Training consisted of attending a couple of evenings and listening to a young lady read us a Powerpoint, while watching her bobbly braid hairstyle fall across her face and wondering how she could see through it.)

    Yesterday the first census management office ads hit my in-box, and I am considering applying. Interested in any comments. Thanks!

    (Since the Detroit office also serves Cleveland, I put this in front of our fearless leader, too.)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    In the late 80's I worked at the Detroit Regional Census Center as an assistant geographer or a geographic assistant or something like that. It was our job to check the TIGER files, and assign the tracks to these crappy early plotted out USGS maps. In essance we were creating the most basic layer of GIS, but no one called it that back then. There were all sorts of folks who worked beside me, many of which were not geographically inclined. We had a huge manual to follow, and if we broke from that manual because we knew that the data we were given was incorrect (even if we had proof) we were reprimanded if those who checked our work found it to be inconsistent with the manual. The lady who sat across from me would come into the office and sleep. When awake, I would see her adding subdivisions in the SE quadrant of an intersection when they should be in the NW, She had no idea how to draw to scale. Yet she never got reprimanded.

    It was a crazy sort of place to work though it did help pay for a few semesters of college. If you were assigned to the map room, you better not wear your tie, because those folding machines are deadly! You most definitely don't want loose clothing getting sucked into these babies: http://www.mboamerica.com/products_special.html

    When I was laid-off, I left happily. I did not qualify for unemployment (since I was considered a full-time student), but I learned a lot about how disfunctional places are, particulalry when it comes to dealing with applying a new technology. Believe it or not I learned more about how not to do things by being at the bottom of this heirarchy than I did about anything else. I also learned that there are about a billion Mud Lakes, and I spent quite a bit of time studying the forms of cities based upon their geography. It was an invaluable experience though at the time it seemed like I was living in a bizarro world.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    In the late 80's I worked at the Detroit Regional Census Center as an assistant geographer or a geographic assistant or something like that. It was our job to check the TIGER files, and assign the tracks to these crappy early plotted out USGS maps. In essance we were creating the most basic layer of GIS, but no one called it that back then. There were all sorts of folks who worked beside me, many of which were not geographically inclined. We had a huge manual to follow, and if we broke from that manual because we knew that the data we were given was incorrect (even if we had proof) we were reprimanded if those who checked our work found it to be inconsistent with the manual. The lady who sat across from me would come into the office and sleep. When awake, I would see her adding subdivisions in the SE quadrant of an intersection when they should be in the NW, She had no idea how to draw to scale. Yet she never got reprimanded.

    It was a crazy sort of place to work though it did help pay for a few semesters of college...
    I worked the enumeration in 1990. In a college town, this meant visiting the landlord and asking who lived there at the time of the Census, since many of the students had not filled out forms and most had already moved out. After the first Gulf War I worked on the TIGER update. Like DetroitPlanner. I can attest to the high level of quality going into that product.

    What can I tell you about the experience? It was nothing exciting, but not hard work either, and it paid better than many of the alternatives available to me while I was in college.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    whoops, that should be tracts, block groups....
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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