Er. Ramesh Neupane
Central Department of Computer Science and Information Technology Institute of Science and Technology
March 13, 2011
Short for optical mark recognition, the technology of electronically extracting intended data from marked fields, such as checkboxes and fill-infields, on printed forms. OMR technology scans a printed form and reads predefined positions and records where marks are made on the form. This technology is useful for applications in which large numbers of hand-filled forms need to be processed quickly and with great accuracy, such as surveys, reply cards, questionnaires and ballots. A common OMR application is the use of "bubble sheets" for multiple-choice tests used by schools. The student indicates the answer on the test by filling in the corresponding bubble, and the form is fed through an optical mark reader (also abbreviated as OMR, a device that scans the document and reads the data from the marked fields. The error rate for OMR technology is less than 1%.
OMR Software is a computer software application that makes OMR possible on a desktop computer by using an Image scanner to process surveys, tests, attendance sheets, checklists, and other plain-paper forms printed on a laser printer.
1.1 Method of getting data from paper to computer
There are only three practical methods of getting data from a piece of paper into a computer. These three methods are to KEY the data, to use Optical Mark Reading (OMR) or to use Imaging combined in some way with Optical Character Reorganization (OCR). I should first like to review each of these techniques and select the best way of using each technique for census data collection.
There are two components to any keying system. The first component is human. This is the component that does most of the work. The second component is the keying hardware. In the early days, data was keyed on to paper tape or punched cards, with clumsy mechanical devices. In those days it was the mechanics of the keying device that determined the performance of a keying system. With the introduction of key to disk systems the constraints on keying performance shifted from the hardware to the operator. As a result the rate at which keying is done, and the accuracy of keying is no longer significantly improving, although some minor improvement is possible with improved key station ergonomics, computer aided keying and with the use of key from image systems. The latter can only realistically be used as part of an overall imaging approach but is the first new technique in keying for many years. It brings two main benefits, albeit at a price: Eliminating paper handling – there is no need to move, count, control or even store large quantities of forms. More effective and efficient key entry – as individual key operators can concentrate on one or a limited type of census question and double key entry administration can be done electronically. However, no major technical developments are expected in human keypunch operators. The main alternatives facing in selecting an appropriate method of keying census data is the degree to which keying is centralized. In the past, because of the high cost of computers compared to peripherals, it had only been economic to centralize keying with a single powerful computer and tens or hundreds of key stations attached to it. However, with mass produced PCs and local and wide area networks the balance has long ago shifted in favor of each key operator having their own local computer. This in turn has removed the necessity for physically clustering all the key operators around a central computer. The possibility of distributed keying has emerged. The general consensus appears to be that distributing the keying and moving the key operators closer to the source of the data is a good thing.
1.1.2 Optical Mark Reading
Optical Mark Reading (OMR) is...