Basic Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QAQC)

Author: Nicolas R. Malloy

Table of Contents

  1. Basic Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QAQC)
  2. Setting up Your Workspace
  3. Download Data from the United States Census Bureau
  4. Skill Drill: Download Census Data
  5. Adding County Data to ArcMap
  6. Skill Drill: Adding Data to ArcMap
  7. Documenting the Quality of the Metadata
  8. Skill Drill: Document the Metadata Quality
  9. Precision vs Accuracy
  10. Compressing the Project Folder as a 7z File

The goal of this activity is to document a basic review of quality assurance and quality control for geospatial data. As you learned in this Chapter, you can communicate uncertainty and error using standardized quality assurance and quality control (QAQC) procedures. Organizations, such as governmental agencies, Tribal governments, or non-profit organizations often establish standardized QAQC procedures to assess error and uncertainty, completeness, and overall quality of geospatial datasets. Standard methods include documentation of existing metadata quality, inspecting spatial accuracy and resolution, and providing relevant notes or comments about the data to coworkers and colleagues. Always perform QAQC procedures for both attribute data and spatial data at the start of any project during the data collection phase.

For this tutorial, you will need to have ArcGIS Desktop installed on the computer from which you are working. If you are a registered student at Humboldt State University, ArcGIS Desktop is installed in the HSU Library as well as in several computer labs on campus including, NR 203FOR 203FOR 204ASCIA 364, and FH 106.

Estimated time to complete this tutorial: 2 hours

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this tutorial should be able to:

  • Summarize the steps for creating and organizing a project workspace folder structure
  • Describe best file management practices for transferring geospatial data
  • Demonstrate the ability to download data from a public source
  • Practice decompressing zipped files into a specific folder
  • Examine data using ArcGIS software
  • Document a basic review of Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QAQC)
  • Practice compressing a project level folder with contents intact


In this scenario, you are working for a non-profit organization as a GIS technician. You have a co-worker that helps to manage geospatial data for the organization. You are about to start a project that uses U.S. Census data to answer questions about different social issues related to poverty and housing across the United States.

Your coworker has asked you to collect county boundary shapefiles for the project and perform a basic QAQC evaluation of the data. Your company is still in the process of developing a standardized QAQC form. For now, you will record the results your QAQC review using a Microsoft Word Document.