Cloud Computing Lets a Florida Website Catch What the U.S. Census Missed

Categories: Silicon Beach
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By this point you've either seen the commercials on TV, heard about it on the radio, had someone knock on your door, or received a giant envelope in the mail -- the U.S. Census is everywhere.

But how can you be sure that your vote is getting counted and the Magic City is getting all the funding it needs? Now thanks to the power of the internet and a Florida website, the Census is going digital.

The Florida House of Representatives is making sure every Floridian adds up in the 2010 Census through MyFloridaCensus.gov. The site allows residents to contribute and make sure they're being included. But it's not as simple as it looks: All of this is made possible by a Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform and run using Microsoft Silverlight.

Microsoft Silverlight is a free plug-in powered by the .Net framework that works across multiple browsers. The development platform is used for creating rich media applications and business applications for the web, desktops and mobile devices, and includes a Bing Maps interface -- simple enough. All of this information will eventually be provided to the U.S. Census Bureau, state and local governments, and citizens, with visual representations of all feedback.

What's really exciting about this new development is their use of Windows Azure -- a cloud services operating system that provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft datacenters.

It was used by the City of Miami earlier this year when Miami 311 was launched as an online application letting residents track service requests and view the status of non-emergency related events anywhere in the city. Through the interactive map, operational costs and web development time were reduced, and each caller was properly counted. We're hoping this works for the U.S. Census, too.
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