Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
National Geographic Database (NGD)

Release date: November 16, 2016


The National Geographic Database (NGD) is a spatial database that contains attributed roads (names and addresses) and administrative boundaries used to delineate geographic entities such as provinces, municipalities, or even Health Regions. It also contains attributed reference layers such as hydrography (lakes, rivers), railways, transmission and pipelines that provide spatial reference for the delineation of administrative boundaries. The NGD is a shared database between Statistics Canada and Elections Canada as both organizations have shared requirements for attributed road network to conduct their respective business and collective maintenance reduces costs.

Reported in

2016, 2011, 2006


The National Geographic Database (NGD) was created in 1997 as a joint Statistics Canada/Elections Canada initiative to develop and maintain a national road network file serving the needs of both organizations. The active building of the NGD (that is, integrating the files from Statistics Canada, Elections Canada and Natural Resources Canada) occurred from 1998 to 2000. Thereafter, Statistics Canada and Elections Canada reconciled their digital boundary holdings to the new database's road network geometry so that operational products could be derived.

From 2001 to 2008, the focus of the NGD was on intensive data quality improvements, especially regarding the quality and currency of its road network coverage. This period included considerable expansion of road names and civic addresses ranges, as well as the addition of hydrographic names. In 2009, a major re-design of the NGD was undertaken that updated the underlying technology, improved the data model and enhanced maintenance concepts and activities.

From 2009 to 2015, the NGD undertook a project to improve road network geometric accuracy by aligning to its holdings to GPS-compliant provincial road network sources. This process, called convergence, was completed for British Columbia and six census divisions in Ontario, specifically Halton, Hamilton, Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and Waterloo for the 2011 Census. Hydrography for BC was also replaced with a more accurate National Hydrography Network at that time. For 2016, the entire provinces of Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec have been completed.

The NGD road network is constantly improved based on external data sources and geocoding feedback of administrative files to ensure road network currency and address range accuracy. Sources include provincially sourced data sets, field operation activities, and municipal and private sector licensed holdings. Priorities for road network file maintenance are determined by Statistics Canada and Elections Canada, enabling the NGD to meet the joint operational needs of both agencies in support of census and electoral activities.

The data are maintained and stored in the Lambert Conformal Conic projection based on the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83).

Refer to the related definitions of coordinate system; datum; map projection and Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).

Changes prior to the current census

Not applicable

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