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:

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.

Boundary Data Sets and Downloads

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

Note: The functionality to link to and download data from GeoDiscover Alberta for the items below is under development. Full content will be available soon.

  • Provincial Electoral District (PED) Boundaries:
    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.

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

  • Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) and Census Agglomeration (CA) Boundaries:
    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.

  • Census Tract (CT) Boundaries:
    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.

  • Dissemination Area (DA) Boundaries:
    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.

  • Economic Region (ER) Boundaries:
    A grouping of complete census divisions (CDs) created as a standard geographic unit for analysis of regional economic activity.

  • Land-Use Framework (LUF) Planning Regions Boundaries:
    Sets out an approach to manage Alberta's lands and natural resources to achieve the province's long-term economic, environmental and social goals and provides a blueprint for land-use management and decision-making that addresses Alberta's growth pressures.

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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:  October 30, 2016