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STATIN launches electronic data gathering system

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | 7:05 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) today launched its groundbreaking Electronic Data Collection System (eDACS), which promises to revolutionise the way the agency collects and processes data.

Speaking at the launch held at the Knutsford Court hotel in New Kingston, Director of Information and Technology, STATIN, Howard Hamilton said the new system will utilise portable/mobile devices, such as tablet computers to compile data from surveys.

Under the system, questionnaires for surveys will be loaded to the electronic devices, which will be used by STATIN officers to record data in the field. 

This information will then be uploaded to the agency’s main system for analysis.

Hamilton noted that the system, which was designed by the STATIN team with funding support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will result in significant savings of both time and money. 

He noted that the agency is projected to save about 35 to 40 per cent in time and financial resources under the new electronic system.  

One of the main areas of savings, he said, will be in the use of paper, which will enable STATIN to become a much greener organisation. 

“STATIN has always been a paper-based operation — really paper-based. It greets you in the walkways, in the individual offices, and you see paper (stacked) to the roof. We had to find a way to reduce the amount of paper we used,” he said.

Hamilton said that apart from reducing the amount of paper used by the agency, eDACS will reduce errors and lessen the input time for data, which will also improve the quality of data and information collected. The new system will also enable more timely delivery of final results from surveys. 

In terms of external benefits, Hamilton pointed out that the new system will enable higher quality statistical products; as well as improve the agency’s ability to meet international standards, such as the Special Data Dissemination Standard. 

eDACS will be implemented in two phases with the first phase to involve compiling data from the Consumer Price Indices (CPI), Producer Price Indices (PPI) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Phase II will see the agency utilising the new system for the collection of data under the Survey of Living Conditions, Household Expenditure Survey and the Adhoc Survey.

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