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Creating Historical Digital Census Boundary Maps for Canada - a Pilot Project

Presenter 1
Andrey Petrov
University of Toronto Libraries
Presenter 2
Laine Ruus
University of Toronto Libraries

While vector-based boundary files are available from Statistics Canada for census boundaries for most levels of geography from the 1986 census through 2006, almost no comparable files are available prior to 1986.  Maturing GIS software, meanwhile, has made aggregate statistics in computer-readable form from 1961 and on more widely used for research than ever before. There is clearly demand for digital boundary files to allow the spatial display and analysis of pre-1986 census aggregate statistics. The objectives of this pilot project were to (1) Assemble the existing resources for creating digital enumeration: boundary files for 1976 and 1981 census geography (2) Devise and test methodologies of re-creating historical EA data based on currently available ancillary digital and analog spatial datasets and supportive Statistics Canada materials. The ultimate objective, to (3) Evaluate the feasibility of creating a national coverage of historic census maps.

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