One of our PhD’s is looking to find data at the lowest geographic level possible on as wide a variety of environmental indicators (air, water and soil qualities, climate, etc) and wants to marry that with a wide range of demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, income, etc) at the same level of geography. He’d like the data from the 1990′s to the present.
We’ve looked at several sources but can’t really find anything. The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators provides data back to the 1990s but only at the national and/or provincial level.
Does anyone out there know whether these data would be available at lower levels of geography? He says he’s heard of data collected at either the postal code or FSA area, but we haven’t been able to locate them.
1. He might take a look at the paper by Buzelli et al. (2006) in Canadian Geographer 50(3): 376-391 for a method of estimating/interpolating such environmental data at the Census Tract scale in Vancouver.
2. Have you looked at the National Land and Water Information Service for some of the environmental data? The main data page is:
You might start with the Land Potential Database. It contains “data about soil, climate, physiography, land use, modelled constraint free (potential) crop yields, actual crop yields and soil degradation for all regions of Canada”.
3. Count Statistics Canada out for the data at that level of geography – and even if data was collected at a low level of geography,
it does not mean that it is reliable enough to publish at that level of geography. The counts of respondents plays a very important role in what level of geography is released (census vs. survey).
4. As an added piece of information, the Health Indicators project is working with Environment Account and Statistics Division in order to come up with indicators related to the environment. The major challenges are the level of geography and the link to the standard geography. When you talk about air, water and other environmental indicators, the standard boundaries are not always relevant. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed and in maybe two or three years, it may be possible to see some relevant data being released but not yet.
5. It depends whether the client wants to use an environmental boundary or census boundary. Agriculture Canada will soon be releasing Ag data at the sub-sub-basin level and soil landscape level. But most data are not available at this level.
Also, it depends on the type of data he is looking for. Waste management data, for instance, are only available at the provincial
level due to confidentiality.
6. A few more things your patron may want to look at:
Canadian compendium on common air pollutants: