Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.5, No.4, 1989. pp. 337348

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Statistical Aspects of the Application of Geographic Information Systems in Canadian Environment Statistics

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) permit the environmental statistician to combine highly varied data within geographic units that are natural for environment analysis. A GIS forms the core of the Statistics Canada Environmental Information System, which organizes spatial data, non-spatial data and a reference system to environmental data bases. GIS provides the ability to input, edit, transform, analyze, manage and output spatial data. The use of GIS raises several statistical issues: how to document data quality, means of assessing georeferencing error and errors arising from topological properties of the spatial units being analyzed, and concerns over statistical validity and the preservation of confidentiality when working with small geographic units. While complex to manage, GIS offers modes of analysis which were formerly impossible or prohibitively expensive; their use has permitted the rapid development of the Canadian Environmental Information System.

Geographic Information System; GIS; environment statistics.

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