Mention the word “audit” and it sends chills up and down the spines of most people. It conjures up heavy scrutiny by a third party while being told all the things you are doing wrong. But, in our application of the word audit, it’s a self-examination of your organization’s geospatial data to ensure it is complete, discoverable, accurate, up-to-date, and accessible by all agencies, departments, staff and applications.
Let’s take a look at each of these areas:
- Complete: Do you have the geospatial data for your entire region of responsibility? Are there any gaps in your data? If so, how can you obtain the data you need to complete your area of responsibility?
- Discoverable: Do all the departments and staff within your agency know about your entire geospatial dataset? If not, how can you spread the word to make sure your data is known and discoverable? If you work for the city or county, would state personnel find your data useful? If so, why not make it known to a broader audience?
- Accurate: Is your data of the right accuracy based on how it’s being used? For instance, LiDAR may be required within the city for growth and infrastructure planning purposes, but IFSAR data may work great for suburbs and rural areas. The objective is to have the right accuracy for the right area.
- Up-to-Date: In areas of heavy growth and development, having up-to-date data may be critical. Whereas, in areas of little change or development, the age of the data may not be critical. The important factor is to have the right age of data based on its application.
- Accessible: Can agencies, departments, and staff access the data when they need it? What applications are they viewing and using the data in? Is the data in the right format for each of those applications? Can they share the data with others when required? If not, how can you make the data more accessible? How can you make your spatial data more useful for others?
If you have never self-audited your geospatial data, or haven’t performed an audit in a while, why not take the time over the next few months and go audit yourself? Then plan a yearly audit to ensure your data is complete, discoverable, accurate, up-to-date, and accessible by all agencies, departments, staff and applications.