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General principles of mapping and listing

After having selected the clusters, the next steps are to map them and to list, select and identify households to visit for data collection. This process is essential to ensure the random selection of the survey sample, and must be included in the survey budget and timeline despite its significant field expense.

Mapping and listing can be done slightly in advance of the survey, by specialist teams that do not include survey fieldwork team members. Alternatively, they can be done immediately before data collection by the survey teams themselves. Advance mapping and household listing is the recommended option, as it has been found to be more reliable. The national statistics office usually has staff with training and experience in mapping and household listing.

Some countries have electronically available maps, in other countries the maps are hand-drawn. Maps may or may not be up to date. The household listing team needs to establish the level of accuracy before beginning segmentation or household listing from any pre-existing maps. If the available information is more than one year old, a new household listing should be conducted.

The household listing team usually consists of two to three listers. Supervisors generally oversee several teams.

The listing team should identify the physical boundaries of the PSU, commonly with the help of a local guide. If the PSU is large it may require segmentation (see below) before the team can begin to map and list. Any problems encountered during the mapping and listing process should be communicated to the supervisor.

The materials needed for the household listing activity include:

  • A manual describing all procedures for mapping and household listing
  • Felt-tipped pens (alternatively, marker or chalk) to be used in numbering structures
  • A notebook
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Maps of the selected clusters
  • A cluster information form
  • A household listing guide and form
  • A segmentation form