Quick Tutorial for the Census Program Data Viewer

In this tutorial, we will show you how to do many interesting things with the Census Program Data Viewer (CPDV) dashboard, by leading you through a typical scenario. In this scenario, you will find a place in Canada you are interested in, choose what statistical data you want to see and look at the different ways the information is presented on the CPDV dashboard.

Before starting this tutorial, it might be best to reset your dashboard to exactly how it looks when it is first launched. This is most easily done by reloading the CPDV dashboard site in your Internet browser. The tutorial makes some assumptions about what is displayed on your dashboard, so it could be confusing if you do not start from scratch.

When the CPDV first loads, you will see a thematic map of Canada, showing population percent change from 2011 to 2016 for the provinces and territories. On the left hand side is an information panel containing information about the geographic focus and the selected indicator. (By default, these are Canada and population change, respectively.) The panel is updated with different information according to the geographic focus and the selected indicator. At the bottom of the information panel are some tabs that provide further information (e.g., the map legend). Below the map are two charts showing different types of information that we will describe in more detail later in this tutorial.


This image represents the landing page for the Census Program Data Viewer.

Step 1: Find a place of interest

The first step of the tutorial is to find a place in Canada we are interested in. For this tutorial, we will be looking at census data for Hull, Quebec.

What to do

  1. Click the “I want to…” menu button over the map.
    This image represents the button “I want to” which is displayed over the map.
  2. Choose “Find a place” from the dropdown menu.
    This image represents the option “Find a place” from a dropdown menu.
  3. Type “Hull” in the place name entry box.
    This image represents “Hull,” typed in, in the place name entry box. Choices appear below the typed-in name.
  4. Select “Hull” from the list of suggestions shown. (Technically this is optional, since you have already typed the whole name, but it is a good practice.)
    This image represents “Hull” which is selected from the list of suggestions in a dropdown menu.
  5. Click the “Search” button.
    This image represents the “Search” button.
  6. Click the option for “Hull [Place] in: Gatineau, Ville (Que.).”
    This image represents a list of areas with the word “Hull” in them. Hull [Place] in: Gatineau, Ville (Que.) is selected.
  7. Click the “Set as Focus” button.
    This image represents four buttons (back, zoom to, set as focus, cancel). The button “set as focus” is selected.

Alternatively, this can be done by selecting a geographic area on the map.

  1. Find the location you are interested in on the map. Do this by zooming in or out and panning around the map and by using the “I want…” menu button to set the appropriate geographic level for the area you are interested in.
  2. Click within the boundaries of the desired geographic area.
  3. Click “Set as focus of analysis” from the map tip that appears.
    This image represents Gatineau, V [CSD] (Que.), the number 4 and the option to set as focus of analysis.

What you see

Your map will zoom in on Gatineau, Quebec, which is across the river from Ottawa.

Why did the map zoom in on Gatineau when you chose Hull? The answer is that census data are tied to very specific geographic boundaries. Though there is no boundary in the CPDV for Hull on its own, Hull is part of the Gatineau census subdivision, which does have census data. Your CPDV dashboard took you to the nearest location to Hull that has census data associated with it.

You will see some information in the panel to the left of the map, and the charts below the map will refresh after a moment. We will look at these shortly.

You will also see a yellow highlighted border on your map. It identifies the boundary of the Gatineau census subdivision. The area inside this yellow border is what all the census data are tied to. That said, let’s choose what type of census data we want to look at. In CPDV terms, a type of census data that is tied to a geographic area is called an “indicator.”

Step 2: Select an indicator

As we have seen, “indicator” is the name for a type of census data that is tied to a geographic boundary (or place). In this step, we will choose an indicator from the library of census data available in the CPDV.

What to do

  1. Click the “I want to…” menu button over the map.
    This image represents the button “I want to” which is displayed over the map.
  2. Choose “Select an indicator” from the dropdown menu.
    This image represents the option “Select an indicator” where you can choose a different type of data to analyze on the map.
  3. Select the “Age and Sex” category from the list provided.
    This image represents the category age and sex.
  4. Select the indicator “Census Subdivision – Average age.”
    This image represents the indicator “Census subdivision – average age.”

What you see

After you click the “Census Subdivision – Average age” indicator, your map will refresh to show Gatineau and all the surrounding census subdivisions, coloured based on the average age of the people living there. The information panel to the left of the map now shows summary information related to the “Average age” indicator, including how the Gatineau census subdivision compares with other areas in Canada and Quebec. Take a look at the data in the summary panel and see what they are telling you—this is one of the easiest ways to gain insight from your CPDV dashboard.

Statistics Canada has preselected some potentially useful data related in some way to the “Average age” indicator. These data are now shown in the chart on the right, below the map. For the “Average age” indicator, you can choose from a couple of different related charts using the dropdown chart selector. We will return to this in a bit more detail later in the tutorial.

This image represents a dropdown menu: counts and percentages. Percentages is selected.

Note that the picture above may not be exactly what you see when you go through this tutorial; Statistics Canada frequently adds data and charts to the CPDV.

The chart on the left below the map has refreshed to show the average age for all the census subdivisions in Canada. Since there are so many census subdivisions in Canada (over 5,000), each individual census subdivision cannot be shown. Therefore, your CPDV dashboard presents a generalized area chart instead. Notice that the colours in the chart match the colours in the map—this lets you make correlations between the two more easily.


This image represents a vertical bar graph with the indicator census subdivision – average age displayed. The vertical line within the graph represents where the Gatineau census subdivision fits into the overall national picture.

The vertical yellow bar on the chart shows where the Gatineau census subdivision (your “geographic focus of analysis”) fits into the overall national picture. You can get a more detailed view by clicking a bar in the chart.

Looking again at the chart on the left side, notice the checkbox labelled “Only show selected.” If you check that box, the chart will refresh to show only the value for the Gatineau census subdivision.

This image represents a bar graph displaying average age for the Gatineau census subdivision only.

With only one census subdivision selected, this chart is not very useful. Let’s see how we can make better use of it in the next step.

Step 3: Compare other areas

Your CPDV dashboard allows you to look at more than one place at once, so you can see how they compare with one another.

What to do

Once again, there are two ways to do this. You can either select areas interactively on the map, or go through the “I want to…” button to the menu and select “Compare with another location.”

  1. Click the “I want to…” menu button over the map.
    This image represents the button “I want to” which is displayed over the map.
  2. Choose “Compare with another location” from the dropdown menu.
    This image represents the option “Compare with another location” which enables the user to compare the current geographic focus with another location.
  3. Type “Grande Prairie” in the place name entry box.
    This image represents Grande Prairie, typed in, in the place name entry box. Choices appear below the typed-in name.
  4. Select “Grande Prairie” from the list of suggestions shown.
    This image represents “Grande Prairie” which is selected from the list of suggestions in a dropdown menu.
  5. Click the “Search” button.
    This image represents the “Search” button.
  6. Click the option for “Grande Prairie, City [Census Subdivision] (Alta.).”
    This image represents a list of areas with the words “Grand Prairie” in them. Grande Prairie, City [Census Subdivision] (Alta.) is selected.
  7. Click the “Add to Comparison” button.
    This image represents four buttons (back, zoom to, add to comparison, cancel). The button “add to comparison” is selected.
Note that you can select areas for comparison only from the same geographic level as the geographic focus.

What you see

  • When you click “Add to Comparison,” the map reorients itself to include both the original place you searched for (Gatineau) and the new place you just added (Grande Prairie). Naturally, since Canada is such a large country and the two places are quite far apart, we get a much broader picture in the map, at the expense of details about the actual boundaries of the places. You can explore the map by zooming in and out and by panning around.
  • There is now a new section in the summary panel to the left of the map called “Selected comparison geographies.” It shows the average age for people in the Grande Prairie census subdivision.
    This image represents the selected comparison geography which is Grande Prairie, CY [CSD] (Alta.) = 32. Two small icons appear on the right of the comparison geography. The first icon enables the user to remove the geography. The second one enables the user to modify the geography.
  • The charts have also refreshed to include Grande Prairie. Remember how clicking the “Only show selected” box above the chart on the left did not provide much value before? When you add other places, it becomes much more useful.
    This image represents a bar graph comparing average age for the Gatineau census subdivision the Grande Prairie subdivision.
  • If you want to, you can now follow the step-by-step instructions you just followed for Grande Prairie to add more places to your comparison list. Your CPDV dashboard will let you add up to three places to compare with your geographic focus of analysis (currently Gatineau).
  • If you uncheck the “Only show selected” box, you will return to the complete view, and you can see how the two areas rank nationally.
  • Step 4: Review data

    You can access the data underlying all the maps and charts seen on your CPDV dashboard.

    What to do

    1. Click the “Results table” button, which is near the chart selector above the chart on the right side. The picture below shows where the button is in relation to the map so you can find it more easily.
      This image represents a map in the background. Underneath is an icon representing a small spreadsheet with the words “results table” next to it. Below, there is a dropdown menu with the word “Population” displayed.

    What you see

    After you click the “Results table” button, the data are shown in tabular format underneath the map, where the charts used to be. There are two sets of data: one showing the average age of all census subdivisions in Canada, and another with related data. You can switch between them using the tabs at the top of the data table.


    This image represents two tabs: census subdivision – average age; related data table.

    The average age data table orders the census subdivisions from oldest average age to youngest. You can change that by clicking the “Average age” column header. In fact, you can sort any of the columns in any of the tables by clicking the column header.


    This image represents average age with up and down arrows.

    There are many census subdivisions in Canada, and your CPDV dashboard will show you 50 of them at a time. You can flip through the different pages of results using the controls below the data table. They let you jump to the first page or to the last page, or go through each of the pages individually.


    This image represents how much information is displayed at a time on a page. Using the left or right cursor arrows, the user can move ahead one page or go back one page, or go to the end of the document or the beginning of the document. There are 106 pages in total.

    If you click one of the names, the map will automatically zoom in on that place.

    If you want, you can export these data in either CSV or XLSX format.

    What to do

    1. Click the “Export” button.
      This image represents the results of the search which are the geographies, indicators and related data displayed in a table format. Two icons offer the possibility of exporting or charting the results.
    2. Select the export format in which you would like to download.
      This image represents two possibilities of exporting the results: Export results to CSV or export results to XLSX.
    3. You will be asked to confirm that you wish to proceed. If you select OK, the download process will begin.
      This image represents the results being downloaded to a CSV format. It indicates the size of the file and prompts the user to go ahead (OK) or cancel.

    Step 5: Explore related data

    You can gain further insight into the data, and potentially identify relationships between the main indicator and other indicators, by using the related charts (in bottom right-hand corner). Let’s continue from the example above.

    What to do

    1. Click the dropdown menu in the top left hand corner of the chart to see what other related information is available for your selected indicator. In this case, choose “Median Age by Sex.”
      This image represents a pulldown menu with median age by sex displayed. It also shows a vertical bar graph with the data point 38.2.

    What you see

    The chart will be updated to show new information.


    This image represents a pulldown menu with median age by sex displayed. It also shows a vertical bar graph with two data points: 38.2 and 40.2. The X axis shows Gatineau (Ville) and the legend reads: median age for males and median age for females.

    This tutorial led you through a few of the most commonly used tools in your CPDV dashboard. We encourage you to explore the other data and places available in the CPDV, and to read through the user guide if you would like more information on all the different tools and capabilities of your CPDV dashboard.

    Date modified: