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The 3rd ISPRS Workshop on Dynamic and Multi-Dimensional GIS & the 10th Annual Conference of CPGIS on Geoinformatics
Chen, Jun

ISPRS, Vol.34, Part 2W2, “Dynamic and Multi-Dimensional GIS”, Bangkok, May 23-25, 2001
Huhua CAO
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
University de Moncton
Moncton, New Brunswick
Canada E1A3E9
Tel: (506)858-4246
Fax: (506) 858-4166
E-Mail: caohuhua@umoncton.ca
KEY WORDS: centrographic technique, spatiotemporal analysis, Université de Moncton, Acadian
Centrographic analysis is a statistical technique that has been used for more than a century and that has experienced a rapid renewal
over the last few years, in large part due to its integration in geographic information systems (GIS). Through the use of this
centrographic technique, a series of spatiotemporal analyses were performed in a GIS on the intra-urban migratory phenomenon in the
Greater Moncton area. Greater Moncton, in the heart of the Maritimes in southeastern New Brunswick, Canada, is the only urban region
in Canada with such a high degree of cohabitation between Acadians and Anglophones, who are in the majority. However, despite their
minority status, over the years, Acadians have become more and more present in New Brunswick society through the creation of
Acadian institutions in the fields of education and financial services. The aim of the current research is to study the various behaviours
of Acadian and Anglophone inhabitants in their urban practices. Our analyses show that the more or less homogeneous distribution of
Anglophones gradually occupied almost all the space in the Greater Moncton area between 1981 and 1996. Unlike this dynamic, the
trend of the concentration of Acadians in the northwest and northeast, descending into the southeast, and in particular the migratory
trend of Acadians toward the residential areas close to the Université de Moncton has become a remarkable phenomenon in the region
being studied. Consequently, it reminds us of the vital role that the Université de Moncton, as an Acadian institution, has played in the
growth of the Acadian milieus in the Moncton area over the course of the past decades.
The development of a fully adequate theory of regional
analysis by statistical means was one of the principal
longstanding problems of geography. Neither maps nor
statistics alone are enough; they must be brought together.
Centrographical analysis is a perfect example of this
combination. It is an aggregate of indicators that allows the
description and measurement of the global characteristics of
the distribution of spatial phenomena. This type of analysis
provides the equivalent of statistical measures of central
tendencies and dispersion, adapted for a two-dimensional
geographical space (Caprio, 1970). Jones (1980) presents
centrographic measures as describing the three most
important characteristics of a spatial phenomenon: its location,
dispersion and form. The idea of measuring the center of
population distribution using centrography originated a century
ago, as far as can be determined. Hilgard (1872) has been
credited as the first person to compute a reliable census, when
he attempted, in 1872, to trace the movement of the population
of the United States as it expanded westward. Since that time,
there have been many important developments in this field,
and other closely related fields, for example, the creation of
new methods, the correction of various errors and
misconceptions, and the clarification of the interpretation of
computed results. Over recent years, centrographic analysis
has evolved quickly, in large part due to its integration in
Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It is also being
increasingly applied in different fields.
In the heart of Canada’s Maritime provinces, we find a unique
urban region: the Greater Moncton area, whose unique
characteristic is the cohabitation of Acadians and
Anglophones. This mostly bicultural region, which includes
three communities, Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe, is located
in southern New Brunswick on the Petitcodiac River, about
40 kilometres from the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Over the
years, this population cluster has made itself known across the
country and even throughout international Francophonie. The
roots of the region are found in the city of Moncton, which grew
from a small
Acadian colony. Following the deportation of the Acadians in
1755, the area was abandoned until the arrival of Dutch and
German immigrants in 1766. However, Moncton 1 , which was
named for Robert Monckton, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the
English army, marked the beginning of English domination
and, under him, became a center for the shipbuilding industry
(Brun, 1999). In 1855, Moncton was incorporated as a town
(Pelletier and Arsenault, 1977), but its charter was only
adopted in 1862. In around 1887, Moncton experienced a
marked boom following the establishment of the corporate
headquarters of the Intercolonial Railway, which later became
Canadian National Railways or CN.
Due to its excellent geographic location, Moncton was the
Maritimes’ railway center for nearly a century before becoming,
in the 1960s, a major distribution and services center. Today
Moncton plays a key role in the development of the Maritimes
as an important center for the high-tech and
telecommunications sectors (Cormier, 1995). It is also the only
Canadian region with such a high concentration of Acadians,
who are still in the minority.
For the past thirty years, with the creation of Acadian
institutions in the fields of education and financial services,
such as the Université de Moncton, the Acadian cooperative
society and Assumption Life, Acadians have become
increasingly present in New Brunswick society, particularly in
the Moncton area (Beaudin, 1993). The Acadians who are now
living in urban regions in New Brunswick come from rural
areas that are mostly Francophone. They have a high level of
education and have moved to be closer to employment
opportunities that offer more possibilities in terms of
professional careers (Beaudin and Boudreau, 1994). In fact,
1 At the time, the name was written “Monckton”.