I ran into a file today that is in a format I'm unfamiliar with, and I'm hoping that someone can identify it.

The file extension is CTZ, but the only file type I found on Google with that extension was the "Custody Toolbox Zip" file extension (which is software unrelated to GIS).

Here are a couple of lines from the file (all of the lines are in this format). The whitespace is all space characters, not tabs.

00000 000       0000CANADA                          +1285448500+4308048100+0001891000+0728293500+7050177200+0002341100+0557155000+7257869800+0001302700
10000 000       0000NEWFOUNDLAND - TERRE-NEUVE      +0024419500+0340743500+0001395400+0014446000+0243530500+0001685800+0009974000+0097218800+0000974700
10000 000       6999NFLD./T.-N. CT - SR S/TOTAL     +0007789500+0138134200+0001773300+0004317000+0093599600+0002168200+0003472500+0044536500+0001282500


59935A9350005.002412VICTORIA                        +0000188000+0003855300+0002050700+0000096000+0002484500+0002588000+0000092000+0001372500+0001491900
59935A9350006.002413VICTORIA                        +0000109500+0002311900+0002111300+0000056000+0001599600+0002856400+0000053500+0000709900+0001326900


Update: After some more Googling, I found this mailing list post of a person with very similar data, but I couldn't garner the format from that conversation.

Update 2: The data was acquired via the Statistics Canada Data Liberation Initiative. It sounds like it came from an FTP site that requires authentication, so I can't provide access to the files.

  • 1
    Where did you find the data? What was it's source? The more info you can provide, the more rapidly you are likely to get an answer. – RyanKDalton Apr 5 '13 at 17:04
  • What is the source of the data? (other than being Canadian) – user681 Apr 5 '13 at 17:05
  • I work in a library, and the file was sent to me by a patron who was asking for help finding a GIS application that can read it. I've asked her where she got it and will update when I get a response. – Brysonic Apr 5 '13 at 17:13
  • 1
    @AndreSilva Done. – Brysonic Apr 5 '13 at 17:21
  • 3
    I think, after some googling of my own, that the CTZ format is from the CyberTracker software: cybertracker.org/software/introduction – nmpeterson Apr 5 '13 at 17:39

This appears to be a fixed-width text file. The format is easy to read into Excel (or other spreadsheet), where it can be saved as a CSV or other format that is generally more GIS-friendly. You may have to change the extension from .CTZ to .TXT, or tell the spreadsheet to list "all files" when opening it. Note that some GIS software, e.g. TNTmips, can easily import fixed-width text files.

However, without a header row or metadata that specify what the columns represent, it is very difficult to determine what the data is.

--- EDIT BELOW ---

Based on the link you added in your edit, the data may be both fixed width AND delimited by a plus (+), which will make it difficult to save then import into GIS software without further edits to the table. The simplest way may be to first open the file in a plain text editor (e.g. Notepad++), search-and-replace each plus with a few spaces, save, and then open the file in a spreadsheet as a fixed width text file.

  • fixed width plus delimiters is easy to deal with, just tell excel there's a one-character column where the "+"s are and then hide those columns – Sparr Apr 5 '13 at 17:35
  • If the pluses are added to separate columns, then deleting those columns would be better than hiding them, assuming the data is to be saved to a CSV or XLS to be imported into GIS software. – user3461 Apr 5 '13 at 17:40

That's Canadian census data. The format of that file is an export using a program called Beyond 20/20. I believe it mashes up census data with some internal GIS tools. If you're in a Canadian library, you should have access to that software.

Here's another example of your file: http://prod.library.utoronto.ca/datalib/codebooks/c/cc86/bsts/ct/ec86b02.sps

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.