M. Kate Beard and Barbara P. Buttenfield and Sarah B. Clapham.
NCGIA Research Initiative 7 Visualization of Spatial Data Quality, Technical Paper 91-26.
Technical Report, Natl Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, 1991.



This report is a summary of the Specialist meeting for NCGIA Research Initiative 7 entitled "Visualization of Spatial Data Quality" . It presents initial discussions on the role and utility of visualization for understanding and analyzing information about the quality of GIS data. The impetus for the initiative is based on rapid changes in spatial information system technology and a desire to see the technology used more effectively. Technology currently allows us to process and display large volumes of information very quickly. Effective use of this information for analysis and decision making presupposes that the information is correct or reasonably reliable. Information on the quality of data is essential for effective use of GIS data: it affects the fitness of use of data for a particular application, the credibility of data representation and interpretation, and the evaluation of decision alternatives. The credibility of spatial decision support using GIS may indeed depend on the incorporation of quality information within the database and the display.

The Specialist Meeting was held in Castine, Maine, 8-12 June 1991 to discuss issues of Visualizing Data Quality with researchers and representatives from the public sector, private sector, and academia. Participants from North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom worked together for four days to prioritize a research agenda. The highest priorities for initiative research are to develop tools which allow spatial data handling systems to be sensitive to error propagation, to design and implement tools to encourage use of metadata in spatial analysis and spatial decision-support, to facilitate understanding of data quality variations in digital data, and to sensitize the GIS user community to accuracy issues.

Visualization should be explored as a method for capturing, interpreting, and communicating quality information to users of GIS. Clearly, the quality of information varies spatially, and visual tools for display of data quality will improve and facilitate use of GIS. At present, those tools are either unavailable (in existing GIS packages), not-well developed (error models) or only recently developed as a research area (visualization).

Discussion at the specialist meeting by public sector participants indicated that the quality of spatial data and databases is a major concern for producers of digital data. Private sector participants indicated a strong interest in enhancing system support for data quality management. Academics expressed a need to manage quality within spatial analytical tasks as well as a research area in its own right. Jointly the representatives of the various groups entered into the spirit of moving this research area forward. Initial projects and products proposed for the initiative include a working bibliography, a periodic newsletter, presentation of research by external and NCGIA researchers at national and international conferences, options for refereed research published as journal special issues, and generation of a public domain Compendium showing examples of data quality displays that have been or can be implemented in GIS packages.


@TechReport{     beard:1991:VSDQ,
  author = 	 {M. Kate Beard and Barbara P. Buttenfield and Sarah B. Clapham},
  title = 	 {NCGIA Research Initiative 7 Visualization of Spatial
                  Data Quality, Technical Paper 91-26},
  institution =  {Natl Center for Geographic Information and Analysis},
  year = 	 {1991},