Civic census goes high-tech

City of Calgary enumerators will be using new electronic tablets this year for more efficient record taking.

Edmonton census takers will be using pen and paper

Calgary census takers will be using tablets beginning on Monday. (Canadian Press)

The City of Calgary is hoping an investment in new technology will pay big dividends for census takers.

The annual civic census and enumeration begins on Monday and for the first time, enumerators will be using new electronic tablets.

It's a decision that city officials say should save taxpayers money in the long run since there will be no need for data processing.

"Long term, we will eliminate the data processing and data entry charges," says Melanie Hulsker, a project leader with Calgary's election and census department. "It will allow our census takers to ensure that they are gathering accurate information."

While there are extra up-front costs including buying hundreds of the new devices, census takers will also be making fewer errors since the system can catch irregularities.

Some veteran census takers are a little bit more cautious about the change.

"Well, it's okay," says Helene Fishman. "With perseverance, we'll make it work."

When census takers head out on Monday they will also be asking about eligible voters ahead of the municipal election in October.

"I think it's time to make some advancements in terms of our census collection," Hulsker says. "It's very exciting for us."

This year's census will continue for three weeks, with results expected in July.