The Open Database of Buildings (ODB)

Detailed information for March 2019





Record number:


The Open Database of Buildings (ODB) is a centralized and harmonized repository of building data made available under the Open Government License - Canada. This exploratory initiative aims at enhancing the use and harmonization of open building data from government sources for the purpose of contributing to the creation of a complete, comprehensive and open database of buildings in Canada.

Data release - March 1, 2019


The Open Database of Buildings (ODB) is a collection of open data on buildings, primarily building footprints, and is made available under the Open Government License - Canada. The experimental Open Database of Buildings integrates data from 65 municipal, regional and provincial government sources. Individual datasets sourced from their respective open data portals were processed and harmonized into the ODB. The current version of the database (version 2.0) contains approximately 4.4 million records and includes provinces and territories where open building footprints were found during the collection period (from January to August 2018 for version 1.0, and February 2019 for additions made in version 2.0).

The benefit of open building data, and open data in general, is that any user can access and make use of it freely. Individuals, formal and informal organizations, or enterprises can use the data and other information to research and innovate on any number of topics.

Reference period: The reference period for these data varies. For more information on the reference period of a specific dataset, please consult the open data portal for that data provider directly.

Collection period: January 2018 to August 2018, and February 2019

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The goal of the ODB is to create a centralised and harmonized repository of building footprints available from government open data sources across Canada. Emphasis was placed on compiling buildings where substantial activity (e.g., economic activity) may occur. For this reason, footprints smaller than 10m2 were removed as they were deemed too small to be of interest for most users. As work on the experimental ODB progresses, definitions and thresholds will evolve. Users are reminded that unedited data can always be obtained directly from the open data portals of the various data providers.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Individual building datasets were downloaded from their respective government open data portals. The data providers are listed below:

1. Airdrie
2. Banff
3. Canmore
4. Chestermere
5. Cochrane
6. Edmonton
7. Grande Prairie
8. Lethbridge
9. Strathcona County

British Columbia:
1. Chilliwack
2. Courtenay
3. Kamloops
4. Kelowna
5. Nanaimo
6. New Westminster
7. North Vancouver
8. Prince George
9. Saanich
10. Squamish
11. Surrey
12. Vancouver
13. Victoria
14. Whistler
15. White Rock

New Brunswick:
1. Fredericton
2. Moncton
3. Saint John

Northwest Territories:
1. Yellowknife

Nova Scotia:
1. Cape Breton
2. Halifax
3. Nova Scotia

1. Barrie
2. Brampton
3. Brantford
4. Burlington
5. Caledon
6. Cambridge
7. Durham Region
8. Guelph
9. Hamilton
10. Huron County
11. Kingston
12. Kitchener
13. Muskoka
14. Newmarket
15. Niagara Falls
16. Niagara Region
17. Norfolk County
18. Oakville
19. Ottawa
20. St. Catharines
21. Toronto
22. Waterloo
23. Waterloo Region
24. Welland
25. York Region

1. Longueuil
2. Montréal
3. Québec
4. Repentigny
5. Rimouski
6. Rouyn-Noranda
7. Shawinigan
8. Sherbrooke

1. Regina

Within the 65 datasets obtained, each data provider attached a different set of variables to the building footprints. Only variables common across all data sources were included in the final output. Prior to merging, datasets were standardised and cleaned to ensure consistency in measurements and units. In the few cases where geographical coverage of municipal datasets intersected each other, a five meter buffer was applied to one dataset, and buildings within that buffer from the other datasets were removed.

Error detection

Footprints smaller than 10 m2 were removed as they were deemed too small to be of interest for most users.


No imputation was done


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Validation of the underlying datasets was not undertaken, since data provided by municipalities were collected as is.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

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