Statistical Data in Schools and Public Libraries received and excellent comment on the DLI post about access to some of the Statistics Canada data in schools and public libraries. Today I am looking at E-STAT online and am quite impressed – but alas I have not yet gone to a public library to check out what is actually there and what I can do. Nor do I know the limitations of CANSIM data. I did however speak on the phone with a fine librarian at the Main Ottawa Public Library this morning and look forward to digging for data later on today or tomorrow.

E-STAT is:

Statistics Canada’s interactive learning tool designed with the needs and interests of the education community in mind. E-STAT offers an enormous warehouse of reliable and timely statistics about Canada and its ever-changing people.

Using approximately 2,600 tables from CANSIM*, track trends in virtually every aspect of the lives of Canadians. Updated once a year during the summer, CANSIM contains more than 36 million time series.

Hundreds of schools across the country and Depository Service Program Libraries make these data accessible if you go in person to access them. You can get access to these data online only if you are registered with one of these institutions.

The E-STAT license on the data are quite restrictive.

The Government of Canada (Statistics Canada) is the owner or authorized licensee of all intellectual property rights (including copyright) in the data product referred to as E-STAT. Statistics Canada grants the educational institution a non-exclusive, non-assignable and non-transferable licence to use the data product subject to the terms below.

The data product supplied under this agreement shall at all times remain under the control of the institution. It may not be sold, rented, leased, lent, sub-licensed or transferred to any other institution or organization, and may not be traded or exchanged for any other product or service. The data product may not be used for the personal or commercial gain of any authorized user, nor to develop or derive for sale any other data product that incorporates or uses any part of this data product.

The data that are made available are Yearly updated Canadian Socio-economic Information Management System (CANSIM) data, the daily updates are sold for commercial purposes. I am also not sure how fine the geography is for E-STAT data, for instance if the data are available by Dissemination Blocks, Dissemination Area or, Census Tract, or Urban Areas (Note the cost associated with these and other maps). These make a difference, since DB is the finest granularity, DA is a larger neighbourhood level while CT covers a larger areas, while UAs are larger still. Each scale is for a different level of analysis and the boundaries if you aggregate any of these do not necessarily line up. Additionally, DB and DA are only for the 2006 Census while CT and UA are for others. I am guessing E-STAT is CT Scale data and larger.

E-STAT also has some census data, agricultural data, aboriginal survey data, some environmental data and health behaviour data for school aged children. Clearly not all the data are available and certainly not the specialized surveys such as business, waste management, household spending surveys, health, the survey of particular sectors etc. The data come with explanations, and teachers and users guides.

Lets see what we can get once I make a visit!