November 2010

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The Joy Of Stats… Coming soon to BBC Four (Tuesday December 7th):
This documentary takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride through the wonderful world of statistics to explore the remarkable power they have to change our understanding of the world, presented by superstar boffin Professor Hans Rosling, whose eye-opening, mind-expanding and funny online lectures have made him an international internet legend.

You gotta love the re-mix folks! Here is a video to celebrate the no more $5 bucks for FOI request for Government of Canada information. It is a good thing too, as apparently it cost $55 bucks to process the checks!

Mark Weiler left the following message on

The Office of the Information Commissioner has entered a six month pilot project where the $5.00 application fee for ordering records through the Access to Information Act is now being waived. You can now order records from the OIPC by emailing the Access to Information and Privacy Officer,  English & Fraçais.

Some Health Atlases

I posted the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care – Geography is Destiny that was discussed in Miller-McCune on CagList & Geographers shared some Canadian examples. (just updated – February 4, 2011)

  1. MyPeg – Tracking Well-Being in Winnipeg
  2. Atlas of Canada – Health Matters
  3. Infonaut – “putting health on the map”
  4. Martin Prosperity Insights – Food Deserts and Priority Neighbourhoods in Toronto
  5. Atlas Santé Montréal, du Carrefour montréalais d’information sociosanitaire
  6. New Brunswick Health Association Environmental Health-Mapping Project
  7. Diabetes in Toronto, Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences
  8. Saskatoon, GIS and Health
  9. Ottawa Neighbourhood Study. U Ottawa, CIHR and City of Ottawa
  10. UVic Geography Dept members have put together an online BC Atlas of Wellness
  11. UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research has published 2 editions of a BC Health Atlas. These and background reports related to issues of health & health care mapping are available for download from CHSPR’s publications webpage.
  12. Primary Health Care Atlas & Pharmaceutical Use in Canada Atlas (CHSPR).
  13. Manitoba Child Health Atlas
  14. Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES) has created some ‘Atlases’
  15. Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC has been using cartography for public policy related to early child development.
  16. Social Planning Council of Ottawa Community Information and Mapping System (CIMS) is an infrastructure to support voluntary sector groups and community members in Ontario to do local community based research to understand and improve population health.
  17. Canadian Network of Population Health Observatories – Calgary and area zone Atlas
  18. GeoConnections Public Health Map Generator

Health Mapping URLs in, Cancer Surveillance, cardiovascular, chronic, health in general.

I will go looking for more at some point.

More census talk at committees, Meagan Fitzpatrick on PostMedia News,  politics and the nation

Two House of Commons committees are spending their mornings talking about the cancellation of the long-form census, the issue that just won’t die. Last week, the Status of Women committee had a hearing on it (you can read my story on it here) and they are back at it today. Among the witnesses are representatives from the Canadian Council on Social Development, Federation quebecoise des professeures et professeurs d’university, someone from a consulting firm, and the senior vice-president and chief demographer from Environics Analytics, a member of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association. The executive director of that group, meanwhile, is over at the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development committee, along with a City of Toronto councillor, the Chinese Canadian National Council and a few other witnesses.

There is a long list of groups and organizations that are opposed to the cancellation of the long-form census. The website in fact, says there are more than 350 of them that have spoken out in opposition to the government’s decision.  I’m not sure how many of them the various committees plan on hearing from, but you can bet with each of them MPs will keep hearing the same refrain — canceling the long-form census was a bad, bad idea, the new voluntary National Household Survey will not produce enough reliable data, and the government should reverse course and bring back the long-form.

Women’s groups decry end of long-form census

It has been a busy time and I have not been able to post media roundups as I would like.  However, with the EU announcements, radio programs and Bi-Elections, women and court challenges..


Ms. Tracey P. Lauriault discusses neighbourhood scale research using Census data. She introduces the The Cybercartographic Pilot Atlas of the Risk of Homelessness created at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research and will feature community based research used to inform public policy as part of the Canadian Social Data Strategy (CSDS) . She features maps and data about social issues in Canadian cities & metropolitan areas (e.g. Calgary, Toronto, Halton, Sault Ste. Marie, hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, & others) and focuses on the importance of local analysis and what the loss of the Long-Form Census could mean to evidence based decision making to communities in Canada’s. She will also discuss issues surrounding the cancellation of the long-form census in Canada.


Tracey P. Lauriault is a researcher at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University and is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. She participates in activities and represents the GCRC on topics related to the access to and the preservation of Data. She was the Research Leader for the Pilot Atlas of the Risk of Homelessness funded by HRSDC, part of the Project Management Team for the Cybercartography and the New Economy Project responsible for collaboration, transdisciplinary research, organizational theory and lead researcher of the Cybercartographic Atlas of Antarctica Case Study for the International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems (InterPARES) 2 and General Study of Archival Policies of Science Data Archives/Repositories.

Currently, she is working on the Canadian Social Data Strategy a project of Canadian Council on Social Development as a Research Associate with Acacia Consulting and Research. Her PhD dissertation is on mapping data access discourses in Canada.  She is co-founder of, and co-author of which hosts Census Watch.

For those of you willing to explore the issues of digital geospatial and cartograpic data preservation a new book has just been released online.  A big challenge to open data is data preservation.  Chapter 2, The Preservation and Archiving of Geospatial Digital Data: Challenges and Opportunities for Cartographers, was co-authored, by Tracey P. Lauriault, Peter L. Pulsifer and D.R. Fraser Taylor covers alot of ground, including a review of geodata portals.  You can read the book online for free!

Lucky 13!

Canada – Open Data Cities & Province:

  1. OpenData BC (Citizen Led Catalog)
  2. G4 Open Data Framework; Municipal Open Government Framework
  3. City of Calgary
  4. City of Edmonton
  5. City of London, Citizens’ Group OpenData London
  6. City of Mississauga – Mississauga Data
  7. City of Montreal (Citizen Led – Montréal Ouvert)
  8. City of Nanaimo
  9. City of Ottawa, Citizens’ APP Group – OpenData Ottawa
  10. City of Toronto
  11. City of Windsor Open Data Catalog
  12. City of Vancouver
  13. District of North Vancouver GeoWeb

More info here – Resources page

Liberal Leader Carolyn Bennett gave this speech in the House today as the second reading of the bill she tabled on the long-form census.  I hope they include the work of others who have provided recommendations and proposed other bills.

Journalism in the Age of Data documentary funded by the John S. Knight Fellowship.  It is about the who is who and the the what is what of data visualization.

Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?

The table of contents included:

  1. Data Vis in journalism
  2. Telling Data Stories
  3. A new era in infographics
  4. Life as a data stream
  5. Exploring Data
  6. Technologies and tools

My favorite line is “Transparency is the new black”.  I also agree that we are not quite ready yet for this form of communication, we are just figuring it out, tools are few, you still have to be a coder to do visualization and the main tool remains Flash.  We are seeing some tools like ManyEyes, but alas we still have a long way to go before we really get to see what OpenData Data will yield.

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