USDA Forest Service -
Geospatial Advisory Committee
This questionnaire is intended to help resource specialist
compile information about their data. This compilation should
be done up-front, as the data are being developed.
This questionnaire is designed to collect critical
information about how data were developed or collected. It
applies to hard copy maps and manuscripts and digital including
those developed by specialists using screen digitizing. As
skills increase in the agency, more specialists are conducting
their own analyses. The questionnaire applies to information
generated by analysis as well. Fill out what you know about
the data. For items you don't know, leave blank or state
where information might be found. Diligent efforts to provide
complete information will produce the best data documentation.
you are creating the data, you have the most information
available and understand best what the data represents.
Filling out this form thoroughly will help future data
users understand your data as well prevent later attempts
to reconstruct lost information. GIS specialists and others
with experience using metadata tools such as Arc Catalog
may prefer to enter metadata directly rather than using
Standards and Protocols - consult data steward
- Is there a standard or protocol for this type of data?
By this we mean standards specific to your resource, for
example in TEUI Protocol for ecological land types, NRCS
soil survey standards.
- If so, ensure data meet are collected according to protocol
and meet standards
- Is the theme of the data covered by the Forest Service
Data Dictionary published at GSTC
- What should we call this dataset (no spaces or caps,
8 or less characters)?
- What the data represents?
- What is the geographic extent of the data:
- Name of extent (ex. Southmanti Project, Moab Ranger
District, Utah, Quad Name)?
- For what time period is this data applicable?
- What is the intended use for this data?
- Do you care who sees/uses these data? Is it sensitive
information? Do you wish to place any restrictions on
the use or distribution of the data?
- List key words (for searching) which describe the
- What is the Name, Address and Agency of the preparer?
- Are the data raster (cell data as from ERDAS, Grid,
or Spatial Analyst or vector (lines, points, polygons)
- What is the output scale or resolution (ex. 1 meter
cells, 10 acre cells, 1:24,000, 1:100,000)
- What is the source of the data? Provide citation and
other pertinent information about the source data such
as how it was created, by whom, when, and why.
- What is the resolution/scale of the source data? (ex.
1 meter cells, 10 acre cells, 1:24,000, 1:100,000)
- What is the original digital format of the existing
dataset? (autocad, Arc 7.1, shapefile).
Screen Digitized Data
- What was background data and scale/resolution were used
for geographic reference ( 1 meter DOQ, 1:24,000 DRG, etc)
- How far were you zoomed? Provide as a scale_____________(ex
2000, 8500, 1000000) (make sure to set map units so you
Table Digitized Data (manuscripting)
- Are the quad corners or other registration points (tics)
clearly and accurately drawn so the
- data can be tied to a coordinate system?
- If corner tics aren't available, are geographic references
such as roads, streams, and section
- lines easily discernible? (old range and timber maps
were sometimes based on township and range and lacked tic
- Is each polygon completely closed (no line breaks)?
- Do lines match lines adjacent quads precisely?
- How was the manuscript prepared from the source information?.
For example did your transfer data from 1:16000 photos
to 1:24,000 manuscript by eyeballing the features using
streams, roads, or topog as a reference or did you use
a transfer scope?
- Explain the written feature designations shown on your
manuscript. What do they mean?
- Are any codes missing?
- Do any of the features represented in the data already
occur in existing datasets?
Ask the GIS specialist if you are unsure. ex. Forest Boundary,
- What is the condition of the source manuscript? Is it
in good condition or damaged, creased, rolled, folded,
etc? If damaged, how did you maintain accuracy?
- What is the horizontal positional horizontal accuracy
of the source features? (ex +- 10 meters, 1 mile)
In other words how accurate was the original source map
in showing the location of mapped features? (+- feet,
If the dataset is transcribed from the source, do those
features have a similar accuracy?
In other words, was the accuracy of the original data preserved,
degraded, or improved and by how much?
If elevations are part of this dataset, what is the
accuracy? (ex +- 1 meter, 10 meters, 30 meters)
Analysis and Model products - what information was combined
and how was it done.
- What was the goal of the analysis or model (ex. determine
lands not biophysically suitable for timber production)
- what information was combined
ex. slope, soils, geology, timber stands
- What processes were used to combine information
ex. overlay, select: erodible soils, unstable formations
on x slopes, and highly compactible soils
- did you recalculate areas/acres, length/miles after
running your analysis or model
- provide information about the equipment and procedures
Reference the data dictionary
- grade of equipment
- correction information including base station used
- projection and datum
- What methods were used to make data
- criteria to used identify features/draw lines
ex. Spruce Fir stands with x basal area and y canopy closure
- method used to draw lines
- plane table or survey
- mapped directly onto air photos
- mapped in field directly onto topo map
- mapped directly onto topo map
- GPS (see above
- What do the symbols/codes mean?
ex. 1 steep slopes
2 moderate slopes
3 gentle slopes
- Are any features not labeled or any codes missing?