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Quality Assurance | Quality Control

Quality Assurance/Quality ControlIt is very common for an organization that is implementing GIS or FMIS technology to contract for data acquisition, data conversion, or programming/customization services. Normally that organization would take steps to ensure that a company selected for the work has the experience necessary to ensure they do a good job. Unfortunately, often a decision is based more on price than anything else, which is perfectly understandable if all provider companies were created equal.

The first step in data development should be establishment of a specification for the workproduct that will assure the necessary quality. The development of the specification can be performed by a qualified consulting firm that has experience in this kind of product development. The specification not only alerts potential vendors that you are serious about quality, but also gives you a way to measure whether the work product meets the requirements of your applications.

Once a vendor is brought on board, it is important to monitor the data as it is developed against the specification. By beginning the review early, it will be possible to identify systemic problems in the production process that may result in unacceptable data or software.

gis-data-reviewIn the example to the right, note the actual configuration of the back line of the third lot from the right vs. the way it was drawn by the consultant. These types of oversights are very common in cadastral conversion, and only an experienced conversion firm, a careful client or a qualified QA/QC consultant will normally spot these kinds of issues.

While it is possible for an organization to perform QA/QC services itself, the process takes time away from other responsibilities that existing staff have. Further, if the organization has never had this kind of data or software developed in the past, it may be difficult to consistently identify the best way to perform QA/QC services. Contracting with an independent firm to develop the specification, assist in the procurement process, and perform QA/QC services provides an opportunity to assure that you spend your money wisely and that you get what you pay for.

As another example, when data is developed without the benefit of good quality base mapping, the resulting converted data can be seriously misplaced. SSA has had a significant amount of experience converting water, sewer and other utility datasets. The following graphics depict what a consultant without the benefit of good quality base maps might supply:

gis-converted-waterlineThe example to the left depicts a converted waterline in a subdivision. The location of the waterline is clearly not in its correct location as demonstrated when overlaid on properly registered as-built drawings shown in relation to current digital orthophotography. Unfortunately unless the client is able to use the technology to check the work of the subconsultant following delivery, the data may be accepted and paid for before the client has an opportunity to see these kinds of errors.

Please contact if you would like to discuss how we may be of assistance in helping your organization understand the potential uses of GIS and/or FMIS technology, understand the costs and benefits of implementation, and understand the possible pitfalls that may lie ahead should you choose to move forward.