Statistics Canada
Thu, 26 May 2022

Making Census Data Accessible to All: VertiGIS Studio and Statistics Canada

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In our rapidly evolving world, the need for community-based data to inform decisions and drive future policy decisions continues to rise. For citizens, having access to community-based data can help them gain valuable insight into the makeup of their communities, identify changes over time and prepare them for the future. For government agencies and community leaders, having access to data about their citizens can help them to make data-driven decisions about future initiatives including where to place new schools, how to improve community services, and how to allocate electoral districts. One way that community-based data is collected is by conducting a census.

In Canada, Statistics Canada, a branch of the Canadian Federal Government, holds a census every five years to collect geographic and sociodemographic data about Canadian citizens. In recent years, efforts have been made to improve accessibility of the collected data to ensure that all citizens can easily access, view, and interpret the information. In 2016, Statistics Canada began a collaboration with VertiGIS to update their Census Program Data Viewer (CPDV), an advanced web-based data visualization tool where collected data is shared using VertiGIS Studio technology.

Statistics Canada’s Census Program Data Viewer (CPDV)

Updating the CPDV required VertiGIS technology to meet a variety of technical and regulatory standards. To ensure that collected data could be easily viewed by any citizen, updates made needed to meet the Canadian Federal Government’s robust design standards, the public-facing technology had to be available in both English and French (Canada’s two official languages), and the application needed to meet the Canadian Government’s standards for accessibility. Updates were also required to fit within the government’s existing investments into Esri technology. As an Esri Platinum Business Partner, VertiGIS met this need.

Using VertiGIS Studio Web and VertiGIS Studio Reporting technology, the CPDV was configured to make statistical data interpretable to all citizens by presetting key statistical indicators in a simple, visually appealing dashboard. In the updated version of the CPDV, users can simply search for a location and the viewer will automatically display the appropriate thematic map. The CPDV also enables users to compare indicator values for different locations and makes it easy to identify relationships between those indicators. Further, built-in comparison metrics allow users to see changes in their communities over time.  

An example map comparing the average age in each federal electoral district

The updated viewer was architected in a way that makes it easy for anyone to use, regardless of their GIS skill level. It uses advanced workflow technology to walk end-users through the process of selecting specific statistical indicators to help them find and analyze the information they need.

The built-in “Indicator Workflow” to help users choose the statistical indicator they’re interested in

To further optimize accessibility, the updated CPDV uses traditional map components that many users are likely already familiar with including dynamic legends and base-maps. Use of these standard, easy-to-use map features ensures that all users can easily find the information they are interested in. Finally, for users that want to analyze the data in ways that aren’t currently supported by the CPDV, there are options to export selected datasets.

Want to try out Statistics Canada’s updated Census Program Data Viewer for yourself? Click the button below to view the updated CPDV.

Are you looking to learn more about the capabilities of VertiGIS technology? Click the button below to discover how other customers are advancing their GIS capabilities with VertiGIS.

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