The Census Bureau will soon be looking for a new vendor that can publish its statistics on topics like population trends and the economy as it gears up for the 2020 census.
Census’ nine-year, $90 million contract with IBM for data tabulation and dissemination services — known as the Data Access and Dissemination System, or DADS, program — in support of the 2010 census and other bureau surveys is coming to a close later this year.
The bureau is now doing market research for vendors to support those services when the contract expires and until Census develops a “new enterprise dissemination tool … to replace multiple Census dissemination systems including the legacy [American Fact Finder] system,” which will not be ready before the current contract expires, according to a request for information published in FedBizOpps Friday.
“The mission of the DADS Program has been to prepare, tabulate, and disseminate data and data products that are complete, accurate, and formatted properly, delivered on time and within budget,” the RFI states. “This broad mission has been largely achieved; the tabulation system has been archived and the DADS Program is in the process of transitioning [American Fact Finder] technology solutions, business knowledge and assets to the Enterprise Dissemination Initiative.”
American Fact Finder is the main web portal through which Census provides the data it collects — such as county and ZIP code business patterns, and population estimates — for the public’s use. The website accounts for 13 percent of Census’ web domain traffic
The focus of the eventual contract is to “continue uninterrupted on-time delivery of dissemination services through the AFF legacy on-line tool,” the RFI says. “The AFF system will continue to operate without interruption of dissemination services to release new data and provide public access to the historical data.”
The eventual contractor will be required to support about 80 scheduled major data releases, such the publishing of the 2015 Survey of Entrepreneurs, a variety of five-year American community surveys, and population estimates for the Unites States and Puerto Rico, among many others. It may also have to provide risk mitigation support for fiscal year 2018 testing of the 2020 census if awarded the optional extension during that time.
The contract will span 27 months, with a one-year base period, and nine- and six-month option periods, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, according to a draft statement of work.
Census has not yet released an actual solicitation for the contract. Information in its draft statement of work may change based on industry feedback.
Census did not comment on the transition prior to publication.