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Evaluating the fitness for use of spatial data sets to promote quality in ecological assessment and monitoring

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This article proposes and illustrates a practical methodological framework to evaluate the fitness for use of spatial data sets for environmental and ecological applications, focusing on user requirements for specified application contexts. The methodology is based on the use of metadata to analyze similarity between the data characteristics and the user’s needs or expectations for several quality indicators. Additionally, the concept of ‘critical factors’ is introduced in this framework, allowing users to define which quality indicators have greater importance given their own requirements or expectations and the specified application contexts. The proposed methodology further allows integrating and interconnecting the spatial data quality (SDQ) evaluation methodology with metadata geoportals in WebGIS platforms, facilitating its operation by users from non-spatial disciplines and with often limited expertise on this subject. Examples of the evaluation of fitness for use for specific application contexts within the project BIO_SOS (‘Biodiversity Multi-SOurce Monitoring System: From Space To Species’ FP7 project) are presented. By providing a prompt and straightforward evaluation tool, the proposed methodology can encourage the implementation of SDQ evaluation routines in ecological assessment and monitoring programs, promoting a more adequate use of geospatial data and ultimately contributing to well-supported policy and management decisions.
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Keywords: application context; critical factors; external data quality; geospatial metadata; quality indicator; spatial data quality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO), Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal 2: Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo. Escola Superior Agrária de Ponte de Lima, Ponte de Lima, Portugal 3: Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo. Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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