Geographic / Geospatial Statistics

The spatial context of information is critical when it comes to data – where something occurs is often now recognized to be just as important as what is actually occurring.

OSI General Reference Maps

The following are the most requested general reference maps created by OSI:

PDF format  Overview Maps (1 page each):

PDF format  Map Series:

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Alberta Census Webmap

Click here to access our easy-to-use census webmap, which allows one to view and assess basic demographic parameters across the entire province of Alberta, in relation to our various levels of geography.

PDF format   User Guide (how to use the interactive web mapping application in GeoDiscover Alberta)

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OSI Publication Maps

PDF format  OSI mapping products, listed by date released, are available below.

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Boundary Data Sets for Downloading

The OSI employs a number of different administrative and census geographic boundaries for its work, depending on the type of analysis being performed and/ or publication being prepared.

Notes about using this Data and Download Instructions

The data files below will also eventually be made available in the Open Government Portal. They contain information licenced under the Open Government License – Alberta.

Please click on the data links below to download zipped shapefile packages for the following boundaries. The shapefile format is a popular geospatial vector data format for geographic information system (GIS) software. To save and extract the files:

  • Click on the link and save the zip file to your computer in a location you choose.
  • To extract the files, browse to find the file on your computer, and then right-click on the file, and select "Extract" from the drop down. The multiple files will be saved to your computer in the location you choose.

Index - Boundary Files - Reference Guides and Data Sets

Boundary Files - Statistics Canada Reference Guides (2016 and 2011)

PDF format  Statistics Canada Reference Guide - 2016 census year

PDF format  Statistics Canada Reference Guide - 2011 census year

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Census Division (CD) Boundaries (2016 and 2011)

A general term for provincially legislated areas (such as county, municipal and regional district) or their equivalents. Census divisions are intermediate geographic areas between the province/territory level and the municipality (census subdivision).

Zipped format  Download 2016 CD Boundaries

Zipped format  Download 2011 CD Boundaries

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Census Subdivision (CSD) Boundaries (2016 and 2011)

Area that is a municipality or an area that is deemed to be equivalent to a municipality for statistical reporting purposes (e.g., as an Indian reserve or an unorganized territory). Municipal status is defined by laws in effect in each province and territory in Canada.

Zipped format  Download 2016 CSD Boundaries

Zipped format  Download 2011 CSD Boundaries

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Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) and Census Agglomeration (CA) Boundaries (2016 and 2011)

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.

Zipped format  Download 2016 CMACA Boundaries

Zipped format  Download 2011 CMACA Boundaries

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Census Tract (CT) Boundaries (2016 and 2011)

Small geographic areas that usually have a population between 2,500 and 8,000 persons. They are located in census metropolitan areas and in census agglomerations that had a core population of 50,000 or more in the previous census.

Zipped format  Download 2016 CT Boundaries

Zipped format  Download 2011 CT Boundaries

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Dissemination Area (DA) Boundaries (2016 and 2011)

A small geographic unit composed of one or more adjacent dissemination blocks. It is the smallest standard geographic area for which all census data are disseminated, features a population between 400 to 700 persons, and covers the entire province of Alberta.

Zipped format  Download 2016 DA Boundaries

Zipped format  Download 2011 DA Boundaries

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Economic Region (ER) Boundaries (2016 and 2011)

A grouping of complete census divisions (CDs) created as a standard geographic unit for analysis of regional economic activity.

Zipped format  Download 2016 ER Boundaries

Zipped format  Download 2011 ER Boundaries

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Provincial Electoral District (PED) Boundaries (2010 and 2003)

Comprised of all the polygons that represent the areas in Alberta established as electoral divisions under the Alberta Electoral Divisions Act, and reflects the legally valid boundaries for provincial general elections and for provincial by-elections.

Zipped format  Download 2010 PED Boundaries

Zipped format  Download 2003 PED Boundaries

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Geography Standards

Cartographic Standards

Wherever possible, OSI geographies and symbologies default to the mapping standards as commonly defined within the National Topographic System (NTS) Polychrome Map Standards and Specifications. To expand on these standards, where applicable, proprietary standards have also been defined following conventional and sound cartographic principles.

Metadata Standards

Metadata is kept and recorded for every spatial dataset used by OSI. All metadata is compliant with the Government of Alberta’s (GOA) standard of the ISO 19115 North American Profile. See more information on this standard.

Quality Control Standards

Every spatial deliverable in OSI undergoes a thorough Quality Control (QC) review to ensure accuracy and consistency throughout. This simple yet proprietary QC review process is rigorously enforced within OSI.

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Geographic Acronyms

PDF format  See the full set of OSI Geographic Acronyms.

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For more information or if you have questions regarding any of these topics, please contact:

John Statham
Manager, Geospatial Statistics
Office of Statistics and Information
Treasury Board and Finance

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Page last updated:  March 2, 2018