GeoSearch2011 - Glossary of terms

Block-face
A block-face is one side of a street between two consecutive features intersecting that street. The features can be other streets or boundaries of standard geographic areas.

Block-faces are used for generating block-face representative points, which in turn are used for geocoding and census data extraction when the street and address information are available.

Cartographic boundary files
Cartographic boundary files (CBFs) contain the boundaries of standard geographic areas together with the shoreline around Canada. Selected inland lakes and rivers are available as a supplementary layer.

Census agricultural region
Census agricultural regions (CARs) are composed of groups of adjacent census divisions. In Saskatchewan, census agricultural regions are made up of groups of adjacent census consolidated subdivisions, but these groups do not necessarily respect census division boundaries.

Census consolidated subdivision
A census consolidated subdivision (CCS) is a group of adjacent census subdivisions. Generally, the smaller, more densely-populated census subdivisions (towns, villages, etc.) are combined with the surrounding, larger, more rural census subdivision, in order to create a geographic level between the census subdivision and the census division.

Census division
Census division (CD) is the general term for provincially legislated areas (such as county, municipalité régionale de comté and regional district) or their equivalents. Census divisions are intermediate geographic areas between the province/territory level and the municipality (census subdivision).

Census division types
CT
County / Comté
CTY
County
DIS
District
CDR
Census division / Division de recensement
DM
District Municipality
MRC
Municipalité régionale de comté
RD
Regional district
REG
Region
RM
Regional municipality
TER
Territory / Territoire
UC
United counties
Territoireéquivalent

Census metropolitan area and census agglomeration
A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more must live in the core. A CA must have a core population of at least 10,000. To be included in the CMA or CA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the core population centre, as measured by commuting flows derived from census place of work data.

If the population of the core of a CA declines below 10,000, the CA is retired. However, once an area becomes a CMA, it is retained as a CMA even if its total population declines below 100,000 or the population of its core falls below 50,000. The population centres in the CMA or CA that are not contiguous to the core, or a secondary core, are referred to as fringe. All remaining area inside the CMA or CA is called rural area.

When a CA has a core of at least 50,000, it is subdivided into census tracts. Census tracts are maintained for the CA even if the population of the core subsequently falls below 50,000. All CMAs are subdivided into census tracts.

Census metropolitan area and census agglomeration influenced zone
The census metropolitan area and census agglomeration influenced zone (MIZ) is a concept that geographically differentiates the area of Canada outside census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs). Census subdivisions outside CMAs and CAs are assigned to one of four categories according to the degree of influence (strong, moderate, weak or no influence) that the CMAs and/or CAs have on them.

Census subdivisions (CSDs) are assigned to a MIZ category based on the percentage of their resident employed labour force that has a place of work in the core(s) of a CMA or a CA. CSDs with the same degree of influence tend to be clustered. They form zones around CMAs and CAs that progress through the categories from 'strong' to 'no' influence as distance from the CMAs and CAs increases.

Census subdivision
Census subdivision (CSD) is the general term for municipalities (as determined by provincial/territorial legislation) or areas treated as municipal equivalents for statistical purposes (e.g., Indian reserves, Indian settlements and unorganized territories).

Census subdivision types
C
City / Cité
CV
City / Ville
CY
City
CC
Chartered community
CG
Community government
COM
Community
CT
Canton (municipalité de)
CU
Cantons unis (municipalité de)
CN
Crown colony / Colonie de la couronne
DM
District municipality
UC
United counties
HAM
Hamlet
ID
Improvement district
IGD
Indian government district
IM
Island municipality
LGD
Local government district
LOT
Township and royalty
M
Municipality / Municipalité
MD
Municipal district
NH
Northern hamlet
NL
Nisga'a land
NV
Northern village
PE
Paroisse (municipalité de)
P
Parish / Paroisse (municipalité de)
IRI
Indian reserve / Réserve indienne
RCR
Rural community / Communauté rurale
RDA
Regional district electoral area
RM
Rural municipality
RV
Resort village
SA
Special area
SC
Subdivision of county municipality / Subdivision municipalité de comté
S-é
Indian settlement / établissement indien
Settlement / établissement
SET
Settlement
SG
Self-government / Autonomie gouvernementale
SM
Specialized municipality
SNO
Subdivision of unorganized / Subdivision non organisée
SV
Summer village
T
Town
TV
Town / Ville
TC
Terres réservées aux Cris
TI
Terre inuite
TK
erres réservées aux Naskapis
TL
Teslin land
TP
Township
NO
Unorganized / Non organisé
V
Ville
VC
Village cri
VK
Village naskapi
VL
Village
VN
Village nordique

Census tract
Census tracts (CTs) are small, relatively stable geographic areas that usually have a population of 2,500 to 8,000. They are located in census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and in census agglomerations (CAs) with a core population of 50,000 or more in the previous census.

A committee of local specialists (for example, planners, health and social workers, and educators) initially delineates census tracts in conjunction with Statistics Canada. Once a CMA or CA has been subdivided into census tracts, the CTs are maintained even if the core population subsequently declines below 50,000.

Coordinate system
A coordinate system is a reference system based on mathematical rules for specifying positions (locations) on the surface of the earth. The coordinate values can be spherical (latitude and longitude) or planar (such as Universal Transverse Mercator).

Cartographic boundary files, digital boundary files, representative points and the road network file are disseminated in latitude/longitude coordinates.

Core, fringe and rural area
The terms 'core', 'fringe' and 'rural area' replace the terms 'urban core', 'urban fringe' and 'rural fringe' for the 2011 Census. These terms distinguish between population centres (POPCTRs) and rural areas (RAs) within a census metropolitan area (CMA) or census agglomeration (CA).

A CMA or CA can have two types of cores: the core and the secondary core. The core is the population centre with the highest population, around which a CMA or a CA is delineated. The core must have a population (based on the previous census) of at least 50,000 people in the case of a CMA, or at least 10,000 people in the case of a CA.

The secondary core is a population centre within a CMA that has at least 10,000 people and was the core of a CA that has been merged with an adjacent CMA.

The term 'fringe' includes all population centres within a CMA or CA that have less than 10,000 people and are not contiguous with the core or secondary core.

All territory within a CMA or CA that is not classified as a core or fringe is classified as rural area.

Datum
Datum is a geodetic reference system that specifies the size and shape of the earth, and the base point from which the latitude and longitude of all other points on the earth’s surface are referenced.

Designated place
A designated place (DPL) is normally a small community or settlement that does not meet the criteria established by Statistics Canada to be a census subdivision (an area with municipal status) or a population centre.

Designated places are created by provinces and territories, in cooperation with Statistics Canada, to provide data for submunicipal areas.

Designated place types
CFA
Class IV area
DMU
Dissolved municipality
DPL
Designated place
IRI
Indian reserve / Réserve indienne
IST
Island trust
LNC
Localité non constituée
LSB
Local service board
LSD
Local service district
LUD
Local urban district
MDI
Municipalité dissoute
MDP
Municipal defined places
MET
Métis settlement
NCM
Northern community
NVL
Nisga'a village
OHM
Organized hamlet
SE
Aboriginal settlement
UNP
Unincorporated place
UUC
Unincorporated urban centre

Digital boundary files
Digital boundary files (DBFs) portray the boundaries used for 2011 Census collection and, therefore, often extend as straight lines into bodies of water.

Dissemination area
A dissemination area (DA) is a small, relatively stable geographic unit composed of one or more adjacent dissemination blocks. It is the smallest standard geographic area for which all census data are disseminated. DAs cover all the territory of Canada.

Dissemination block
A dissemination block (DB) is an area bounded on all sides by roads and/or boundaries of standard geographic areas. The dissemination block is the smallest geographic area for which population and dwelling counts are disseminated. Dissemination blocks cover all the territory of Canada.

Economic region
An economic region (ER) is a grouping of complete census divisions (CDs) (with one exception in Ontario) created as a standard geographic unit for analysis of regional economic activity.

Ecumene
Ecumene is a term used by geographers to mean inhabited land. It generally refers to land where people have made their permanent home, and to all work areas that are considered occupied and used for agricultural or any other economic purpose. Thus, there can be various types of ecumenes, each having their own unique characteristics (population ecumene, agricultural ecumene, industrial ecumene, etc.).

Federal electoral district
A federal electoral district (FED) is an area represented by a member of the House of Commons. The federal electoral district boundaries used for the 2011 Census are based on the 2003 Representation Order.

Geocoding
Geocoding is the process of assigning geographic identifiers (codes) to map features and data records. The resulting geocodes permit data to be linked geographically.

Households, postal codes and place of work data are linked to block-face representative points when the street and address information is available; otherwise, they are linked to dissemination block (DB) representative points. In some cases, postal codes and place of work data are linked to dissemination area (DA) representative points when they cannot be linked to DBs. As well, place of work data are linked to census subdivision representative points when the data cannot be linked to DAs.

Geographic code
A geographic code is a numerical identifier assigned to a geographic area. The code is used to identify and access standard geographic areas for the purposes of data storage, retrieval and display.

Geographic reference date
The geographic reference date is a date determined by Statistics Canada to facilitate the operational requirements in order to finalize the geographic framework for which census data are collected, tabulated and reported. For the 2011 Census, the geographic reference date is January 1, 2011.

Land area
Land area is the area in square kilometres of the land-based portions of standard geographic areas.

Land area data are unofficial and are provided for the sole purpose of calculating population density.

Map projection
A map projection is the process of transforming and representing positions from the earth's three‑dimensional curved surface to a two-dimensional (flat) surface. The process is accomplished by a direct geometric projection or by a mathematically derived transformation.

The Lambert conformal conic map projection is widely used for general maps of Canada at small scales and is the most common map projection used at Statistics Canada.

Place name
Place name provides information on local place names and includes selected records of active and retired geographic areas as well as names from the Canadian Geographic Names Database. Place names provide users with a means for searching and mapping on localized place names.

Polygon
An area of space delineated by a boundary composed of line segments.

Population centre
A population centre (POPCTR) has a population of at least 1,000 and a population density of 400 or more people per square kilometre, based on the current census population count. All areas outside population centres are classified as rural areas. Taken together, population centres and rural areas cover all of Canada.

Population centres are classified into three groups, depending on the size of their population:

  • small population centres, with a population between 1,000 and 29,999
  • medium population centres, with a population between 30,000 and 99,999
  • large urban population centres, with a population of 100,000 or more.

Population density
Population density is the number of persons per square kilometre.

Postal code
The postal code is a six-character code defined and maintained by Canada Post Corporation for the purpose of sorting and delivering mail.

Province or territory
'Province' and 'territory' refer to the major political units of Canada. From a statistical point of view, province and territory are basic areas for which data are tabulated. Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories.

Reference map
A reference map shows the location of the geographic areas for which census data are tabulated and disseminated. The maps display the boundaries, names and unique identifiers of standard geographic areas, as well as major cultural and physical features, such as roads, railroads, coastlines, rivers and lakes.

Representative point
A representative point is a point that represents a line or a polygon. The point is centrally located along the line, and centrally located or population weighted in the polygon.

Representative points are generated for block-faces, as well as for selected geographic areas - province/territory (PR), federal electoral district (FED), economic region (ER), census division (CD), census metropolitan area/census agglomeration (CMA/CA), census subdivision (CSD), population centre (POPCTR), designated place (DPL), census tract (CT), dissemination area (DA) and dissemination block (DB).

Households, postal codes and place of work data are linked to block-face representative points when the street and address information is available; otherwise, they are linked to dissemination block (DB) representative points. In some cases, postal codes and place of work data are linked to dissemination area (DA) representative points when they cannot be linked to DBs. As well, place of work data are linked to census subdivision representative points when the data cannot be linked to DAs.

Road network file
The road network file (RNF) contains roads, road names, types, directions, address ranges and road ranks for the entire country. Address ranges are dwelling-based.

Rural area
Rural areas (RAs) include all territory lying outside population centres. Taken together, population centres and rural areas cover all of Canada.

Rural population includes all population living in the rural areas of census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs), as well as population living in rural areas outside CMAs and CAs.

Spatial data quality elements
Spatial data quality elements provide information on the fitness for use of a spatial database by describing why, when and how the data are created, and how accurate the data are. The elements include an overview describing the purpose and usage, as well as specific quality elements reporting on the lineage, positional accuracy, attribute accuracy, logical consistency and completeness. This information is provided to users for all spatial data products disseminated for the census.

Standard Geographical Classification
The Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) is Statistics Canada’s official classification for three types of geographic areas: provinces and territories, census divisions (CDs) and census subdivisions (CSDs). The SGC provides unique numeric identification (codes) for these hierarchically related geographic areas.

Statistical Area Classification
The Statistical Area Classification (SAC) groups census subdivisions according to whether they are a component of a census metropolitan area, a census agglomeration, a census metropolitan area and census agglomeration influenced zone (strong MIZ, moderate MIZ, weak MIZ or no MIZ), or the territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut). The SAC is used for data dissemination purposes.

Thematic map
A thematic map shows the spatial distribution of one or more specific data themes for standard geographic areas. The map may be qualitative in nature (e.g., predominant farm types) or quantitative (e.g., percentage population change).

Unique identifier
The unique identifier is a unique numerical identifier assigned to a geographic area. The unique identifier is used to identify and access standard geographic areas for the purposes of data storage, retrieval and display.

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