Road Network File, Reference Guide, 2016

Release date: November 16, 2016

This reference guide is intended for users of the Road Network File. The guide provides an overview of the file, the general methodology used in its creation, and important technical information.

What's new?

  • The 2016 Census Road Network File contains information such as street arc unique identifier, street name, type, direction, address range and class. As well, the unique identifier, name and type for each side of a street arc (where applicable) are included for the following geographic levels:
    • province or territory
    • census subdivision
    • census metropolitan area/census agglomeration
  • The 2016 Road Network File includes updates to the road network that were made using the following provincially-sourced data:
    • The province of Prince Edward Island
    • The province of New Brunswick
    • The province of Nova Scotia
    • The province of Quebec
    • Ontario Road Network (ORN) in thirty-five census divisions in Ontario: Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (3501), Prescott and Russell (3502), Leeds and Grenville (3507), Lanark (3509), Frontenac (3510), Lennox and Addington (3511), Hasting (3512), Prince Edward (3513), Northumberland (3514), Peterborough (3515), Kawartha Lakes (3516), Durham (3518), York (3519), Dufferin (3522), Wellington (3523), Niagara (3526), Perth (3531), Chatham-Kent (3536), Essex (3537), Lambton (3538), Huron (3540), Muskoka (3544), Haliburton (3546), Renfrew (3547), Nipissing (3548), Parry Sound (3549), Manitoulin (3551), Sudbury (3552), Greater Sudbury / Grand Sudbury (3553), Timiskaming (3554), Cochrane (3556), Algoma (3557), Thunder Bay (3558), Rainy River (3559) and Kenora (3560)
    • The province of Alberta
    • The province of British Columbia

The result of this effort is an improvement in the representation of the road network.

1. About this guide

This reference guide is intended for users of the 2016 Census Road Network File. The guide provides an overview of the file, the general methodology used in its creation, and important technical information.

This reference guide does not provide details on specific software packages that are available for use with the 2016 Census Road Network File. Users are advised to contact the appropriate software vendor for information.

This data product is provided 'as-is', and Statistics Canada makes no warranty, either express or implied, including but not limited to, warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will Statistics Canada be liable for any direct, special, indirect, consequential or other damages, however caused.

2. Overview

The 2016 Census Road Network File depicts the digital road line coverage for Canada and contains information such as street arc unique identifier (UID), street name, type, direction, address range, rank and class. As well, the UID, name and type for each side of a street arc (where applicable) are included for the following geographic levels:

  • province or territory
  • census subdivision
  • census metropolitan area/census agglomeration

The 2016 Census Road Network File is available as a national file.

How to cite this guide

Road Network File, Reference Guide, 2016 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 92-500-G.

How to cite this product

Road Network File, 2016 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 92-500-X.

3. About this product

Purpose of the product

The purpose of the 2016 Census Road Network File is to provide a framework for mapping and spatial analysis and to support Geographic Information System (GIS) applications used for land use and demographic studies, social, economic and market research.

The 2016 Census Road Network File is positionally consistent with the 2016 Census geography boundary files, which provides additional reference for mapping.

The 2016 Census Road Network File should be used in conjunction with the 2016 suite of geography products.

Definitions and concepts

Geographic terms and concepts are briefly defined in the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016

Content

The 2016 Census Road Network File contains street arcs depicting the national road network and includes attribute information such as street arc unique identifier, name, type, direction, address range, rank and class. As well, the unique identifier (UID), name and type for each side of a street arc (where applicable) are included for the following geographic levels:

  • province or territory
  • census subdivision
  • census metropolitan area/census agglomeration

General methodology

The National Geographic Database (NGD) is a joint Statistics Canada–Elections Canada initiative to develop and maintain a national road network database which serves the needs of both organizations. The focus of the NGD is the continual improvement of quality and currency of road network coverage using updates from provinces, territories and local sources. The source file used for the creation of the road network file resides on Statistics Canada's Spatial Data Infrastructure and was derived directly from data stored on the NGD.

Creation of the 2016 Census Road Network File

The Road Network File was created from a source file consisting of all streets, highways and other road segments maintained on Statistics Canada's Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). A copy of the source file in its original format was created to facilitate geo-processing (e.g., joins, modifications and verification operations). Additional attribute information (i.e., province or territory, census metropolitan area and census subdivision attributes) were then joined to the spatial component at the road segment level (see Table 4.1). The resulting file containing both the spatial and attribute content, was verified against the source file maintained on the Spatial Data Infrastructure.

The file was verified for spatial and attribute content, translated into French and English and appropriately named according to the file naming convention. Final data processing consisted of the conversion of the file using FME® (Safe Software) into the following file formats supported by Geographic Information System (GIS) software: ArcGIS® (.shp), Geography Markup Language (.gml) and MapInfo® (.tab).

The ArcGIS®, Geography Markup Language and MapInfo® files are compressed into WinZip® files (file extension .zip) and made available for download from the Internet.

Limitations

Statistics Canada maintains road network file information to support the census and other Statistics Canada activities. The relative position of road network features is important in maps created for reference purposes; therefore, relative positional accuracy takes precedence over absolute positional accuracy. The Road Network File does not contain street information required for route optimization. For example, data on one-way streets, dead-ends and other street obstacles are not included in the Road Network File. Consequently, this file is not recommended for engineering applications, emergency dispatching services, surveying or legal applications.

The Road Network File contains road arcs with either address ranges sourced from field observation, administrative data sources, imputed address ranges, or no address ranges.

The limitations of the Road Network File should be recognized for uses other than the mapping, analysis and retrieval of Statistics Canada data.

The positional accuracy of the file does not support cadastral, surveying, digitizing or engineering applications.

Comparisons to other products/versions

Differences between the 2016 Census Road Network File and previous versions of the road network file include:

  • The 2016 Census Road Network File contains additional roads, street names, address ranges and road class
  • The 2016 Census Road Network File is compatible with the suite of 2016 Census Geography products
  • The 2016 Census Road Network File does not necessarily follow the 2011 Census boundaries
  • The 2016 Census Road Network File includes updates to the road network that were made using the following provincially-sourced data:
    • Prince Edward Island (2013)
    • New Brunswick (2014-2015)
    • Nova Scotia (2013-2014)
    • Quebec (2014-2015)
    • Ontario (2010-2014)
    • Alberta (2013-2014)
    • British Colombia (2009)

There was a continuing alignment for all provinces. The result of this effort is an improvement in the representation of the road network.

Using with other products

When considering using the 2016 Census Road Network File, users should be aware of the compatibility of this file with those that are available from other sources. They may not be consistent with Statistics Canada files.

Reference date

The geographic reference date is a date determined by Statistics Canada to finalize the geographic framework for which statistical data are collected, tabulated and reported. For the 2016 Census, the geographic reference date is January 1, 2016.

4. Technical specifications

Record layout and data descriptions

The following table identifies and briefly describes the selected attributes comprising the content of the 2016 Census Road Network File.

Attribute domain values

Representation of unknown or no value

The null value is used to represent values of the street's name, type, direction and address range that are either missing or non-existent.

The null value is also used for geographic area unique identifier, name and type to indicate that it is outside of Canada.

Street type

Indicates the street type associated with the arc.

Street direction

Street direction can be used in conjunction with street name and type to identify common street elements (e.g., Elm ST S versus Elm ST W or Elm ST). Street direction has no relation to the direction the street arc was digitized.

CSDTYPE_L and CSDTYPE_R

Census subdivisions are classified according to designations adopted by provincial/territorial or federal authorities. The geographic reference date associated with the assignment of CSDTYPE_L and CSDTYPE_R is January 1, 2016.

CMATYPE_L and CMATYPE_R

PRUID_L and PRUID_R

Uniquely identifies a province or territory. The geographic reference date associated with the assignment of PRUID_L and PRUID_R is January 1, 2016.

RANK

Rank is a value assigned to a street arc to facilitate the selection of streets.

CLASS

The street class code identifies the different types of street features within the 2016 Census Road Network File.

Software formats

The 2016 Census Road Network File is available for download from the Statistics Canada website in the following formats:

  • ArcGIS®
    File extension: .shp
  • Geography Markup Language (GML) 3.1.1
    File extension: .gml
  • MapInfo® format
    File extension: .tab

This reference guide does not provide details on specific software packages that are available for use with the 2016 Census Road Network File. Users are advised to contact the appropriate software vendor for information.

File extension and accented character information

The ArcGIS® , Geography Markup Language and MapInfo® files are compressed into WinZip® files (file extension .zip).

A XML schema file (.xsd) is included to describe and validate the structure and content of the .gml files.

The 2016 Census Road Network File contains attributes with accented characters. They were successfully tested on the desktop versions of ArcGIS® 10.2.2, Mapinfo 12.0® and FME Data Inspector 2015.1 ®.

Geographic representation

The 2016 Census Road Network File is available on the Statistics Canada website in the following geographic representation:

  • Projection: Lambert conformal conic
  • False easting: 6200000.000000
  • False northing: 3000000.000000
  • Central meridian: -91.866667
  • Standard parallel 1: 49.000000
  • Standard parallel 2: 77.000000
  • Latitude of origin: 63.390675
  • Linear unit: metre (1.000000)
  • Datum: North American 1983 (NAD83)
  • Prime meridian: Greenwich
  • Angular unit: degree
  • Spheroid: GRS 1980

The North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83) is an adjustment of the 1927 datum that reflects the higher accuracy of geodetic surveying.

Users of the 2016 Census Road Network File can transform the file into the representation that best satisfies their needs knowing the effects these representations have on angles, areas, distances and direction. Users have the option to choose the best projection in concert with the maps objectives.

File naming convention

Spatial product file names follow a file naming convention. The file projection, geographic level, geographic coverage, file type, geographic reference date, file format and language are embedded within the file name. Standardizing the names of the files facilitates the storage of compressed files, all having the extension .zip.

Each file name is 13 characters in length. All alphabetic characters are in lower case to maintain consistency.

First character: projection of file

  • l - projection of file is Lambert conformal conic

Next three characters: primary geographic level of file/type of file

  • rnf - road network file

Next three numbers: geographic code of coverage

  • 000 - Canada

Next character: file type

  • r - road network file

Next two numbers: geographic reference date

The geographic reference date is a date determined by Statistics Canada to finalize the geographic framework for which statistical data are collected, tabulated and reported. For the 2016 Census, the geographic reference date is January 1, 2016.

  • 16 - geographic reference date is 2016

Next character: file format

  • a - ArcGIS® (.shp)
  • g - Geography Markup Language (.gml)
  • m - MapInfo® (.tab)

Final two characters: language

  • _e - English
  • _f – French

5. Data quality

Spatial data quality elements provide information on the fitness-for-use of a spatial database by describing why, when and how the data are created, and how accurate the data are. The quality elements include an overview reporting on the lineage, positional accuracy, attribute accuracy, logical consistency and completeness. This information is provided to users for all spatial data products disseminated.

Lineage

Lineage describes the history of the spatial data, including descriptions of the source material from which the data were derived, and the methods of derivation. It also contains the dates of the source material, and all transformations involved in producing the final digital files.

The National Geographic Database (NGD) is a joint Statistics Canada-Elections Canada initiative to develop and maintain a spatial database which serves the needs of both organizations. The focus of the NGD is the continual improvement of quality and currency of spatial coverage using updates from provinces, territories and local sources. The source files used for the creation of the road network file reside on Statistics Canada's Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) which was derived directly from data stored on the NGD.

The data in the 2016 Census Road Network File were derived from the SDI environment based on a copy of the NGD that contains the road network in Canada, as well as street attributes (name, type, direction, address ranges, rank and class).

The files were verified for their spatial and attribute content, translated into French and English, and appropriately named according to the file naming convention. The geographic area unique identifier, name, type, and the relationships among the various geographic levels are found on the SDI.

Final data processing consisted of the conversion of the file using FME® (Safe Software), into the following GIS file formats: ArcGIS® (.shp), Geography Markup Language (.gml), and MapInfo® (.tab).

Road information was incorporated from a variety of sources, including provincially sourced data, municipal maps and field observation. The timeliness of the National Geographic Database varies from region to region depending on the source data.

Positional accuracy

Positional accuracy refers to the absolute and relative accuracy of the positions of geographic features. Absolute accuracy is the closeness of the coordinate values in a dataset to values accepted as or being true. Relative accuracy is the closeness of the relative positions of features to their respective relative positions accepted as or being true. Descriptions of positional accuracy include the quality of the final file or product after all transformations.

The Spatial Data Infrastructure is not fully Global Positioning Systems (GPS)-compliant. However, every possible attempt is made to ensure that the standard geographic area boundaries maintained in the Spatial Data Infrastructure respect the limits of the administrative entities that they represent (e.g., province and territories and census subdivision) or on which they are based (e.g., census metropolitan area or census agglomeration). The positional accuracy of these limits is dependent upon source materials used by Statistics Canada to identify the location of limits. In addition, due to the importance placed on relative positional accuracy, the positional accuracy of other geographic data (e.g., road network data and hydrographic data) that are stored within the Spatial Data Infrastructure is considered when positioning the limits of the standard geographic areas.

Absolute positional accuracy

Absolute positional accuracy describes the degree to which the position of features in a geographic database reflects their true position on the ground (i.e., the closeness of reported coordinate values to values accepted as true).

The 2016 Census Road Network File includes updates to the road network that were made using the following provincially-sourced data:

  • Prince Edward Island (2013)
  • New Brunswick (2014-2015)
  • Nova Scotia (2013-2014)
  • Quebec (2014-2015)
  • Ontario (2010-2014)
  • Alberta (2013-2014)
  • British Colombia (2009)

There was a continuing alignment for all provinces. The result of this effort is an improvement in the representation of the road network.

The information present in the Spatial Data Infrastructure road layer was developed for the purposes of statistical analysis and census operations. The absolute position of roads in the Spatial Data Infrastructure varies with the source files and documents used to build and maintain the database. Therefore, the road layer is not suitable for high precision measurement applications such as engineering, property transfers, or other uses that might require highly accurate measurements of the earth's surface.

Absolute positional accuracy is not a requirement for census processes.

Relative positional accuracy

Relative positional accuracy describes the degree to which the position of features in a geographic database reflects their true ground relationships.

For the National Geographic Database, relative positional accuracy is important. A road must appear in the proper position relative to other roads and physical features.

Attribute accuracy

Attribute accuracy refers to the accuracy of quantitative attributes and the correctness of non-quantitative attributes. No explicit testing for attribute accuracy is done; however, results from internal operations suggest a high degree of accuracy.

During maintenance operations data entry goes through a data control process to ensure the proper association of attributes to a specific geometric feature. This includes the association as well as its accuracy.

As noted under Lineage, the attributes (names, types and unique identifiers) for all standard geographic areas are sourced from Statistics Canada's Spatial Data Infrastructure. The names and types of administrative standard geographic areas have been updated using source materials from provincial, territorial, and municipal authorities.

The class attribute is not updated on a regular basis, as such quality checks are not performed to verify its accuracy.

Logical consistency

Logical consistency describes the fidelity of relationships encoded in the data structure of the digital spatial data. For example, a street arc that does not have a street name should not have a street type.

The 2016 Census Road Network File was verified against data in the Spatial Data Infrastructure and found to be logically consistent.

Consistency with other products

The position of the arcs in the 2016 Census Road Network File are not necessarily consistent with previous editions of boundary files or road network files as a result of updates made using provincially and territorial sourced data.

Topology checks were performed with the 2016 Census Road Network File and the 2016 Census Boundary Files to measure the degree of integration amongst these products. The results indicated the degree of integration was within the default tolerance parameters as defined below.

  • Tolerance: 0.001 metres
  • Resolution: 0.0001 metres

Completeness

Completeness refers to the degree to which geographic features, their attributes and their relationships are included or omitted in a dataset. It also includes information on selection criteria, definitions used, and other relevant mapping rules.

New road features have been added to the National Geographic Database in order to create a more complete road layer and are present in this edition of the road network file.

Appendices

See definitions of the geography universe from the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016.

See Figure 1.1 Hierarchy of standard geographic area for dissemination, 2016 Census from the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016

See Table 1.1 Geographic areas by province and territory, 2016 Census from the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016.

See Table 1.5 Census subdivision types by province and territory from the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016.


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