Basic Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QAQC)

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

Documenting the Quality of the Metadata

Each shapefile can store metadata. Metadata refers to data about data. The documentation about the source of data, methods of data collection, times of data collection, and data authorship are all part of metadata. Thorough and well-documented metadata can be a valuable resource for any company, agency, or government. As a GIS analyst, inspecting the metadata should be the first step you take when beginning a project as part of quality assurance and quality control (QAQC).

Before inspecting the metadata, you will need to make sure ArcMap is set to read it correctly. There are different metadata formats available. In this example, you will use ISO 19139 Metadata Implementation Specification, a commonly used format. In ArcMap, locate the Customize menu at the top. Select ArcMap Options. When the ArcMap Options window opens, select the Metadata tab.

An image of the ArcMap Options menu under Customize
The main menu is located across the top of ArcMap.

Under the Metadata Style, choose ISO 19139 Metadata Implementation Specification from the drop-down menu. Leave all other default settings and click OK.

An image of the ArcMap Options window with ISO 19139 selected
ArcMap Options allow you to change many of the global software settings.

Return to the Catalog Window and right click on the county 500k shapefile located in the original folder. Select, Item Description to open the metadata stored in the shapefile.

An image of the Item Description selected for 500k
You can access contextual menus in the Catalog Window by right-clicking on files and folders.

Enlarge the metadata window so that you can effortlessly read the contents. As you can see, this shapefile includes some metadata such as a summary, a description, credits, and the use limitations. Take a moment to read these first four sections.

An image of the county 500k metadata
The Item Description window has two tabs, Description, and Preview. The Description tab displays the metadata. Click to view the image in a larger size.

Open a new Microsoft Word document. Add a Heading 1 style heading that says, “Metadata Inspection.”  Below the Heading 1, add a Heading 2 style heading that says, “County 500K.”

An image of the Microsoft Word header styles
You can locate the header styles on the Home tab.

Below the heading, record the answers to the following questions:

  1. How would you describe the quality of the metadata summary and description? (e.g., detailed, sparse, non-existent, etc.)
  2. Does the metadata provide information about what organization or person created the data? If so, who is the author of the data?
  3. Does the metadata describe the way the data was collected or assembled? If so, what was it?
  4. Are there any use limitations? If so, what are they?
  5. What type of spatial reference does the data have? Geographic or Projected?

For this last question, do not worry about the meaning of the terms Geographic or Projected. You will learn about this in a later chapter. For now, try to find the answer in the metadata.

When done, save the Microsoft Word document to your final folder. Name the file “Basic QAQC” and save as a .docx file.

Keep the Microsoft Word document open. In the next steps, you will add additional documenation.