The West Virginia Statewide Addressing and Mapping Board (WVSAMB) and the U.S. Census Bureau have agreed to partner in improving the geographic database that supports federal censuses and surveys in West Virginia. The WVSAMB, established in 2001, has led the development of an updated statewide digital map base and GIS that ensures that addresses are assigned statewide and incorporated into the GIS. The resulting system will support the delivery of emergency-911 and utility services and assist in planning and economic development in West Virginia.
The partnership will help improve the accuracy of West Virginia roads in the Census Bureau’s geographic database. The Census Bureau plans to equip its 2010 Census field staff with handheld computers that include GPS capability to pinpoint housing locations. The accuracy of the road positions in the census database must be upgraded to ensure that people are counted in the census where they live. The WVSAMB and the Census Bureau partnership has other benefits. The Census Bureau will avoid the cost and redundancy of independently purchasing imagery (for example, aerial photography). Once the census database road information aligns with West Virginia’s GIS, the state and local governments can more easily communicate needed geographic and address updates to the Census Bureau helping to ensure good census coverage and useful data tabulations. As the Census Bureau and West Virginia geographic systems will be in alignment, the incorporation of census and survey data will be far simpler for West Virginia state and local planning and economic development applications using GIS.