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Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Non-Geospatial Data

This guide helps you get started learning about GIS and how to find geospatial data.

Non-Geospatial Data

On your hunt for data, you may find that the data you are looking for does not exist in a GIS-ready format, such as a shapefile. Don't despair! There is a lot of other data out there that can be geocoded or linked to geospatial files. For example, this is often how people map census data - linking the data with census boundary files. So don't discount non-geospatial data! This page presents links to some major Canadian data & statistics portals, datasets, and tools, but be sure to check out the Data & Statistics Guide for much more!

Canada & BC: Major Data & Statistics Portals

Canadian Census Mapping Tools

Geocoders and Other Geospatial Data Creation Tools

Check out these tools you can use to geocode your data or easily create GIS-ready data:

Canadian Cartographic Boundary Files

Postal Code Conversion Files (PCCF & PCCF+)

The DLI (Data Liberation Initiative) provides access to the Postal Code Conversion File (PCCF) and the Postal Code Conversion File Plus (PCCF+). (More info) These files provide a correspondence between the Canada Post Corporation six character postal code and Statistics Canada’s standard geographical areas, e.g., dissemination areas, census tracts, and census subdivisions.

  • The PCCF uses an SLI or ‘Single Link Indicator’ for matching. The single link indicator identifies the geographic area with the majority of dwellings assigned to a particular postal code.

  • The PCCF+ uses population-weighted random allocation for postal codes that link to more than one geographic area.

A YouTube video produced by Jeff Moon (Queen's University) describes how to use the PCCF+ file and SAS to match your postal codes to census geography.