What is the QC process for data submitted to iMapInvasives?
Depending on the source of data being submitted to iMapInvasives, the quality-check process will vary. Two major items are reviewed when quality-checking observation records which include species identification and location.
QC - Species Identification
For data submitted from citizen scientists and other users with whom Pennsylvania administrators are unfamiliar with their species identification skills, photos are required to be submitted in order for a record to be quality-checked and confirmed. State administrators or trusted experts will review each observation record individually and determine whether the species can accurately be identified based on the provided photo(s). If the photo(s) provided are enough to determine the species identification, the state administrator will confirm the species record. If the photo(s) are not sufficient to confirm the species identification, the state administrator will ask for additional or different photographs to be submitted.
For certain invasive species, submitting a photograph is not sufficient for a state administrator to confirm the identification of a species. In these cases, an actual specimen will need to be collected and sent to an expert in order for the record to be accurately confirmed.
For data submitted from professional organizations and agencies with whom Pennsylvania administrators are confident in species identification skills, data is automatically confirmed by a state administrator and does not require a photo(s) or specimen. Photos are still encouraged to be included for data submitted by trusted organizations as they can be helpful to other iMapInvasives users who might want to see what a certain species looks like as well as its defining characteristics.
QC - Checking Location
Observation records from any and all data providers are also quality checked based on location data submitted. Before a record is confirmed, the state administrator will review the species being observed and the location it was found at. If the location makes sense (terrestrial plant found on land, aquatic animal found in water, etc.), then the location is deemed correct. If, however, an observation record for a fish showed up on the top of a mountain, communication would need to be made with the observer in order to identify the correct location for this record. For large bulk-uploaded datasets, location data is QC'ed by reviewing 10% of the records in the dataset.
QC - Project Leaders
iMapInvasives allows project leaders the ability to quality check data submitted to their project rather than restricting this capability to only the state administrator. To elaborate on this capability, project leaders are able to check/edit their project’s description and related details, add members to their project, and review/confirm observation records entered into the project. If the project leader capability is something you or someone else in your organization is interested in obtaining, please contact the state administrator for additional information.