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Overview of Spatial and Numeric Data Services

This guide was produced for the Law Faculty Lunch and Learn, May 16, 2018.

Numeric data

Numeric (statistical) data

SANDS collects and provides access to aggregate data and Statistics Canada public use microdata files (pumfs). 

Pumfs are not complete files, some data has been suppressed to protect confidentiality.  Master (complete) microdata files are available through the Prairie Regional Research Data Centre.

Most Canadian aggregate and microdata data is produced by Statistics Canada, derived from surveys.  Most aggregate data and pumfs are now freely available, even though SANDS still pays membership fees to the DLI program.

Check Statistics Canada's statistics by subject page for data topics, including Crime and Environment.  The Census is a major source of socio-economic data.

There are a number of free international aggregate data portals.  ICPSR is a portal for international microdata.

Access aggregate data portals from SANDS webpage.  Access public use microdata from SANDS file server.

What is aggregate data?

statistics organized into a data structure or database based on tabulations organized by geography, time or social observations.  A lot of numeric data can be mapped, ie Census.

What is microdata?

data directly observed or collected from a specific unit of observation, usually an individual, household or family. Microdata files are composed of individual records consisting of a row of numbers, and need processing with statistical software before they are ready for interpretation.

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