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Spatial/temporal mismatch: a conflation protocol for Canada Census spatial files

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The Canada census is one of the chief sources of demographic and socio-economic data for researchers in this country. Census variables are linked to geography files that allow researchers using geographic information systems (GIS) to view and analyze spatial data. Some of the most useful analysis, however, is based on changes in attribute values over time and space. Analysis of spatio- temporal events such as shifting migration patterns or changes in the distribution of health status permits a more dimensioned perspective than the viewing of static spatial phenomena. The analysis of spatio-temporal phenomena is limited by major changes in the spatial framework (e.g., location of road networks and other spatial entities) between national censuses. This paper addresses this limitation by (i) illustrating the extent of spatial mismatch between the 1996 and the 2001 census; (ii) examining attempts to rectify this problem in other jurisdictions and (iii) presenting a ‘made-in-Canada’ solution for conflation of census geometries. We believe that this solution will enhance the ability of Canadian researchers to describe and analyze socio-economic, health and demographic shifts across time and space. The research is supported by an ftp site for downloading the census geography rectification software presented in this paper.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, RCB 7123, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6 2: Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, WMC 2812, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6 ( ), Email: [email protected] 3: Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, WMC 2812, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6 4: Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, RCB 7123, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6 ( ), Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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