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Purpose of the product

The 2011 Census Agricultural Regions Digital Boundary File portrays the boundaries used for the 2011 Census of Agriculture collection and dissemination activities and as such often extend as straight lines into bodies of water.

The 2011 Census Agricultural Regions (CAR) Cartographic Boundary File was created to support the spatial analysis and thematic mapping of 2011 Census of Agriculture when realistic shorelines are required.

With the appropriate computer software, the CAR boundary files provide the framework for thematic mapping — particularly choropleth mapping. The shorelines were integrated with the boundaries to enable users to easily shade the land polygons. Geographic identifiers provide the linkage between the statistical data and the geographic area boundaries. The CAR boundary files are positionally consistent with the 2011 Road Network File, which can provide additional geographic context for mapping applications.

Using Census Agricultural Region Boundary Files with other boundary files

When considering how to use the Census Agricultural Regions Boundary Files, users should be aware of the compatibility of these files with other spatial information files. Some of the mapping products available are:

Agricultural Ecumene Census Division Digital and Cartographic Boundary Files

The Agricultural ecumene boundary files contain generalized ecumene boundaries. It is suitable for thematic mapping at a small-scale when displaying statistical data aggregated to the census division level.

The 2011 Agricultural Ecumene Census Division Cartographic Boundary File is not positionally consistent with the CAR cartographic boundary file. Users who wish to use the Agricultural Ecumene Census Division Cartographic Boundary File with the CAR cartographic boundary file should consider their positional differences. However, the 2011 Agricultural Ecumene Census Division Digital Boundary File is positionally consistent with the CAR digital boundary file.

Digital and Cartographic Boundary Files

The Geography Division of Statistics Canada has produced and disseminated a series of 12 digital and cartographic boundary file products. Each contains the boundaries relating to a standard geographic level (e.g., census divisions). In addition, each product includes a separate file containing supplementary hydrography that supports mapping inland water bodies (i.e., large inland lakes and double-line rivers). The CAR boundary files are positionally consistent with these files since they were all created from the same base.

In deciding which set of boundary files to use, one should consider what other geospatial data will be used in conjunction with the boundary files.

Limitations

The positional accuracy of the 2011 Census Agricultural Region Boundary Files does not support cadastral, surveying or engineering applications.

The CAR boundary files will not be precise if plotted at a larger scale than the scale of the source material used in their creation. In particular, the shorelines originally digitised at a scale of 1:1,000,000 (outside census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations) will not support large-scale mapping.

The CAR boundary files are recommended for regional scale mapping. Boundaries can be mapped at scales ranging from 1:1,000,000 to 1:5,000,000.

General methodology

Creation of the boundaries for the Census Agricultural Regions Digital Boundary File

Geography Division's 2011 Dissemination Blocks Digital Boundary File of all 493,345 dissemination blocks (DBs) in Canada, served as the starting point for creating the CAR boundaries. In all provinces except Saskatchewan, census agricultural regions are defined as groups of one or more adjacent census divisions, while census divisions, in turn, are defined as groupings of census consolidated subdivisions (CCS). As a result, in these nine provinces the CAR boundaries were created by aggregating the polygons that formed individual dissemination blocks, first to the census consolidated subdivision level, then to the census division level, and then up to the CAR level. However, in Saskatchewan CARs are not defined as groupings of census divisions but rather aggregations of census consolidated subdivisions directly. Therefore, in Saskatchewan the CAR boundaries were created by aggregating the polygons forming individual dissemination blocks, first to the census consolidated subdivision level, then directly up to the CAR level.

Creation of the boundaries for the Census Agricultural Regions Cartograhpic Boundary File

The completed Census Agricultural Regions Digital Boundary File was the basis for creating the cartographic version. Geography Division's 2011 Dissemination Blocks Cartographic Boundary File of all 493,345 dissemination blocks (DBs) in Canada was used as the basis for the Census Agricultural Regions Cartographic Boundary File. The same methodology used with the digital file for aggregating DBs was also used here.

Attribute information for the Census Agricultural Regions Boundary Files

Five main attributes were associated with the polygons in the CAR boundary files. The CAR code (CARUID) and name (CARNAME) were obtained from the Census Agricultural Regions Attribute File, which is updated prior to each Census of Agriculture with information from the provinces. This code was added to the Dissemination Blocks Boundary Files and then all five were derived from those files for assignment to the Census Agricultural Regions Boundary Files. The three other main fields were the province or territory code (PRUID), the province or territory name (PRNAME) and the Census of Agriculture standard geographic area code (AGUID).

Content

The Census Agricultural Regions Boundary Files for Canada contain the boundaries of all 82 census agricultural regions delineated for the 2011 Census of Agriculture. A census agricultural region is a sub-provincial geographic area used primarily by the Census of Agriculture for disseminating agricultural statistics. In most provinces, census agricultural regions usually comprise groups of adjacent census divisions. The exceptions are in Saskatchewan, where census agricultural regions are made up of groups of adjacent census consolidated subdivisions that do not necessarily respect census division boundaries, and in Prince Edward Island where each of the three existing census divisions (counties) is treated as a census agricultural region for data dissemination purposes. Census agricultural regions are not defined in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut. In the Prairie provinces, census agricultural regions are commonly referred to as crop districts.

The CAR boundary files consist of polygons representing the census agricultural regions. In the cartographic version, there are many more polygons than census agricultural regions primarily because additional polygons are needed to represent islands. Every polygon encoded as a census agricultural region has a CARUID (a code to uniquely identify each census agricultural region) associated with it. The CAR boundary files are available at the national level only.

Comparison to the 2006 Census Agricultural Regions Boundary File

The 2011 Agricultural Regions Boundary Files are not compatible with the 2006 Agricultural Regions Boundary File.

The 2011 Agricultural Regions Boundary Files were created from dissemination block polygons aggregated into CARs to insure standardization with Geography Division 2011 Boundary Files.

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