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Protocol for Accuracy Assessment of Ecosystem Maps

Author(s) or contact(s): D. Meidinger
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Ecosystems
Series: Technical Report
Other details:  Published 2003. Hardcopy is available.


This report outlines a protocol for assessing the thematic accuracy of large-scale ecosystem mapping (i.e., Predictive and Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping). The protocol presents a statistically unbiased approach to evaluate the acceptability or accuracy of the mapping. The thematic content of randomly selected map polygons (or small areas) is assessed by various means - the methods varying in precision and objectivity. The protocol requires the development of a sampling plan that articulates decisions about protocol level, sample size, assessment method, target error, etc. Although costly, assessing the accuracy of complex thematic maps is critically important to determining appropriate uses for ecosystem mapping. The approach outlined in this protocol provides a means of obtaining some overall, statistically valid scores to rate the accuracy of TEM, PEM, or other ecosystem maps. The results can be used as a component of quality assurance or for presenting statistics on the accuracy of mapping.

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Updated May 17, 2007