Summary of survey software: Feel and interface

This is a summary of the information included under the heading "General description of the 'feel' of the software" for each of the software packages described on these pages. Select the appropriate title for more information on any package.

AM Software

Windows menu-based interface.

Input: Data are read as SPSS .sav files, SAS transport files, or ASCII files with a data dictionary in a specific format (adapted to structuring variables for an educational test with scales and subscales). Newest (Beta-release) version accomodates a larger range of input and output formats.

Output to web browser, spreadsheet or plain text.


The software is a standalone Windows program, but it can communicate with the Blaise system also developed at Statistics Netherlands. The data may be in ASCII format or in Blaise format.

Bascula is menu-driven. The order of the menus and of the options within each menu more or less reflects the order in which the various tasks must be carried out.



Standalone. Designed to minimise the need for manipulation of input data files, though the data must be in text mode and appropriately sorted. Hierarchical file structures are handled, though rectangular files remain most convenient. Facilities for variable recoding and for identification and exclusion of missing values are included.

Epi Info

The CSAMPLE program is a module of the Epi Info package, which contains a full range of facilities for entry, management, manipulation, and analysis of data, specifically oriented toward public health applications. (There are translations of Epi Info into 11 languages other than English.) Epi Info can be used with either a menu interface or a command-driven (keyword) interface.

Data can be imported from a variety of other formats.

Generalized Estimation System

GES is a SAS-based application, which runs under SAS (currently with Version 8). A windows-type interface has been developed with SAS/AF.
Data must be either in SAS data set format or in ASCII form with fixed field positions; GES can load data in ASCII form to a SAS data set.


SAS-callable, working from SAS data sets with command file for specification of analysis.


Standalone program with text-based menu screens. (No mouse support). Data entered/prepared as ASCII text. Records may be space-delimited or fixed-length. FORTRAN format syntax used for reading fixed-length data.


Functions to be used within a programming language, with each call to be entered from the command line or included in scripts or programs. R is an open-source implementation of the popular S language (commercially distributed in the S-Plus package).


The interface is similar to other SAS procedures. Programs may be entered from command files or through a windowing system. The Explorer window is used to view and manage SAS files. The Program Editor is used to enter, edit, and submit SAS programs, and messages appear in the Log window. Output from SAS programs is viewed in the Output window and navigate and managed in the Results window.


Menu-based entry with "wizards" for the various modules.


Stata is a complete statistical software package with full statistical, data management, and graphical capabilities. It can be run interactively or in batch mode, and is fully programmable. The survey commands are part of the standard software package. Initially, data can be read in from ASCII files and a Stata-format data file created; or data in other file formats can be translated to Stata format using a stand-alone software package (Stat/Transfer or DBMS/Copy). Support can be obtained from the vendor, or through an active mailing list. A huge depository of user contributed modules (over 1000) is available online at Statistical Software Components Archive. Samping capabilities are limited to SRS, although there is a number of user-contributed routines for PPS sampling. The manuals, although bulky, are extremely informative, and may serve as an introductory reading.


SUDAAN uses a SAS-like language. There are two versions of Sudaan with different data interfaces: In either case, the same programming language is used.


VPLX is a standalone program with its own command language. Data are stored in a special file structure which includes "metadata" describing the sampling design; they can be read in from standard text files.


Software developed for Windows with the 'look and feel' of Windows. Users specify request by clicking on variables, tables, etc., in a variety of screens developed to support this activity. No programming language requirements.

Input in SAS Transport, PC-SAS(DOS), ASCII, SPSS, ODBC formats. Output in SPSS, SAS Transport, ASCII formats.

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