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Chapter 4-

Geospatial Data Quality

and Standards
Concepts and Techniques of
Geographic Information Systems,
by C.P Lo and Albert K.W. Yeung
Read PAGE 109
Accuracy, Precision, Error, and
► Accuracy: Degree to which data agree
with the values or descriptions of the
real-world features they represent.

 Often estimated by taking the average of

repeated measurements.

 Application specific and always relative.

Figure 4.1(a)
Figure 4.1(b)
►Ameasure of how “exactly” data are
measured and stored.

 Number of significant digits the data is

taken in.

 Doesn’t imply accuracy.

 Level of detail in categorical data types.

Figure 4.2(a)
► Deviationfrom measured value and
true value of a feature or data.

► Three types of error:

 Gross: blunders or mistakes made by
 Systematic: human bias in
measurement, mechanical defects in
instruments, etc.
 Random: usually normally distributed
errors after the above two are eliminated.
► Associated with data of unknown
► Lack of confidence in data because of
lack of familiarity with it.
Sources of Error
► Come from three sources:
 Original source media
 Data compilation
 Data processing and analysis
► Vitek et al. (1984) groups them into:
 Inherent: incomplete and generalization
of reality
 Operational: processing and collection
Inherent Geospatial Errors
► Realworld too complex for total

► Governed by scale, geospatial data

collection is essentially a process of
selection, generalization, and symbolization.

► Arecalled inherent because they occur

naturally in geospatial data no matter what
collection instruments and procedures are
Operational Errors
► Aka User Errors

► Errors
associated with the human
component of the GIS

► Generallyoccur at the same time as

inherent errors.
Components of Geospatial Data
► The U.S. National Committee for
Digital Cartographic Data Standards
identified five dimensions for
geospatial data quality
 Lineage
 Positional accuracy
 Attribute accuracy
 Logical consistency
 completeness
► A documentation of the source materials from
which a specific set of geospatial data was derived
► Describes the method of derivation, including all
the transformations involved, in producing the final
data files.
► Who collected the data
► When?
► How?
► Why?
► How converted?
► What algorithms used for transformation?
► Precision?
Positional Accuracy
► Defined as the closeness of the
coordinate values in the geospatial
database to the true positions.
► Often related to 0.5 mm line width and
map scale.
Attribute Accuracy
► Simply measurement error for metric
attributes, like in DEM or TIN.
► For categorical attributes:
 What is classification scheme is
appropriate for
 Amount of gross errors
 Degree of heterogeneity assumed in
Logical Consistency
►A description of the fidelity of the
relationships between the real world
and encoded geospatial data.
► Spatial: Does the data cover the entire
area of interest?
► Thematic: Does the project include all
the data layers it needs?