Census learning centre
Geographic products

Release date: February 9, 2022

Catalogue number: 982000032021003

Hello and welcome to the online census geography video!

This video is one of a series of videos related to census geography in the context of the activities of the 2021 Census and previous censuses. The objective of this video is to present the various geographic products and services available to users. It will guide users through reference documents, attribute information products (such as Correspondence files) and spatial information products, that can be found on the census website.

Census of population

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Concept videos: Geographic products - Transcription

(The Statistics Canada symbol and "Canada" wordmark appear on screen with the title: "Concept videos: Geographic Products".)

Hello and welcome to the third video in the geography online program!

This video will help you learn more about geographic products offered by Statistics Canada.

(A map of Canada appears on the screen.)

After the census, Statistics Canada is responsible for the initial release of data showing population and dwelling counts by geographic region.

(A list of geography products appears on the screen.)

A number of products are also released to accompany the data, to make it more meaningful and useful for different user groups.

The first category of geographic products released is defined as "Reference Documents".

These documents include the "Geography Catalogue"; the "Illustrated Glossary"; the geography section of the "Census of Population Dictionary"; the "Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries", "Status", and "Names"; and the "Reference Guides".

(An image of a laptop screen showing the "Geography Catalogue" page from the census website appears on the screen. Five bubbles on top show the following text - “What’s new?”, “Reference Documents”, “Attribute Information Products”, “Spatial Information Products” and “Maps”.)

First, the "Geography Catalogue" provides highlights of the most important new geographic products, as well as links to all the many geography-related products in the census.

Next, census data users can use the "Illustrated Glossary", which provides all of the geography-related information from the census.

(An image of a laptop screen showing the "Illustrated Glossary" page from the census website appears on the screen. Three images from the "Illustrated Glossary" show postal code, dissemination area and Provinces and Territories of Canada on top.)

The "Illustrated Glossary" is a visual explanatory document intended to guide users and facilitate their understanding of the geographic concepts and products used in the census.

Also, like the "Illustrated Glossary", the geography section of the "Census of Population Dictionary" supports the data collected and concepts used in the census.

(An image of a laptop screen showing the "Dictionary" page from the census website appears on the screen.)

It is a document that contains definitions of each geographic term, delineation rules as well as special notes or information on data quality.

The "Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status and Names" is also a product included in the "Reference Documents" category.

(An image of a laptop screen showing the "Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status, and Names" page from the census website appears on the screen.)

It provides a summary of changes to the name, status and boundaries of municipalities that have occurred over a period of time.

(An image of a laptop screen showing the "Reference guides" page from the census website appears on screen. Three bubbles on top show the following text: “Attribute Information Products” with three bullet points underneath – “Correspondence Files”, “Geographic Attribute File” and “GeoSuite”; “Maps” with two bullet points underneath – “Reference Maps” and “Thematic Maps” ; “Spatial Information Products” with two bullet points underneath – “Boundary Files” and “Road Network Files”)

The "Reference guides" describe the content, methodology, applications, data quality, and record layout for most geographic products.

The Second category of released products is called "Attribute Information Products". This category includes the "Geographic Attribute File" and "Correspondence Files".

(Eight circular text boxes appear on the screen with the following text – "Population Counts", "Dwelling Counts", "Area", "Geographical Codes", "Names", "Unique Identifiers", "Types" and "Classes".)

The "Geographic Attribute File" includes dissemination block data. The file also includes geographic codes, names, unique identifiers and, in some cases, types and classes for higher geographic levels as well as population and dwelling counts.

In addition, there are three types of census correspondence files. They allow users to obtain tabulated data to describe the correspondence between two editions of geographic areas.

These three files are called; the "Dissemination Area" correspondence file, the "Dissemination Area and Land Area" correspondence file and the "Dissemination Block" correspondence file.

They describe the relationship between these geographic areas, between the previous and current census.

The Third category, "Spatial Information Products", includes "Road Network Files", "Digital Boundary Files" and "Cartographic Boundary Files".

(Image of a map of Canada appears on the screen with 4 circular text boxes around it with the following text – "Street names", "Street types", "Street direction" and "Address ranges".)

Road network files are a digital representation of Canada's national road network. They contain information such as street names, street types, street directions and address ranges.

(Image of a "Digital boundary file", showing a map of Canada with boundaries extending along bodies of water, appears on the screen.)

Digital boundary files illustrate the boundaries of the standard geographic areas established for census data dissemination purposes.

As a result, boundaries extend along bodies of water, rather than following the shoreline to include all land and islands in the count.

Consequently, boundaries may cross lakes, extend across the ocean, or intersect a river at approximately its centre.

(Image of a "Cartographic Boundary File" showing shorelines and offshore islands appears beside the "Digital boundary file".)

Lastly, "Cartographic Boundary Files" were created by incorporating Canada's outer coastline as well as major inland lakes and rivers.

Boundaries extending into bodies of water are replaced by shorelines and offshore islands. "Cartographic Boundary Files" are intended for thematic mapping and analysis.

The Fourth and last product category is defined as "Maps". This category includes "Reference maps" and "Thematic maps".

(Image of a 2016 "Reference map" showing census divisions appears on the screen.)

First, "Reference maps" are released, which are intended to indicate the location of geographic areas for which census data are tabulated and released.

They indicate the boundaries, names and unique identifiers of standardized geographic areas, as well as certain physical features such as roads, coastlines, rivers and lakes.

(Images of five thematic maps of Canada for "Education", "Families and households", "Income", "Labour" and "Population" appear on the screen.)

A second type of map is also available: "Thematic maps".

They illustrate the spatial distribution of data for one or more specific census themes related to census data for selected geographic areas.

They can be qualitative, such as predominant mother tongue, or quantitative, such as percentage change in the population.

(A map of Canada appears on the screen.)

This is the end of the third video on geographic products.

(The census logo appears with a link, which is also available to view here: Census of population.)

For more detailed information on concepts, variables, methodology, historical comparability and other elements, please refer to the Statistics Canada census web pages.

(The "Canada" wordmark appears. ISBN: 978-0-660-41411-9 )

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