USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

You are here

The USA-NPN takes a comprehensive and robust approach to data quality.

Image credit:
Ellen Denny

Data Quality

The NCO develops and delivers raw and value-added phenology data and data products to advance science, to inform decisions, and to communicate the value of phenology. These products include observational and gridded phenology data and derived products, which are processed to maximize the quality and value of the data.

We implement measures designed to maximize the quality of input data and to evaluate the data and data products we deliver to stakeholders and researchers, with a focus on plausibility, validity, and reliability. The data products that are currently available and those envisioned for development in the coming five years are described in our Data Product Catalog.

Observational data

Observational plant and animal data in the National Phenology Database are collected by a national pool of observers ranging from professional researchers to high school students to dedicated retirees, who participate in Nature’s Notebook. These participants collect data on a scale that would not otherwise be feasible. To ensure that the observational data in National Phenology Database are robust for use in scientific analyses and decision-making, we employ a range of quality assurance (QA) processes to improve species identification, phenophase status evaluation, and data entry. In turn, quality control (QC) processes evaluate and flag data according to standards of plausibility, validity, and reliability.  QA and QC processes and activities are described in the USA-NPN Data Quality Assurance & Quality Control Technical Information Sheet

This dashboard summarizes real-time data quality metrics for our observational data, including information on how frequently geographic data is corrected, how many observation records are flagged with a conflict, how many status observations include intensity measures, and the temporal precision with which estimates of phenophase onset and end are captured.

Quality Control Measure 2009 to 2014 2015 2016 2017 All Time
Elevation (%) 0.91 0.42 0.08 0.22 0.71
Coordinates -- 4/4 5/6 0/0 14/15
One-Observer Status Conflict (%) 0.02 0.04 0.04 0.07 0.03
Multi-observer Status Conflict (%) 1 2 3 5 2
Intensity Records (%) 79 77 76 80 78
No prior/following "No" (%) 33 24 21 48 28
No < 8 days (%) 44 51 56 45 48
No in 8 - 14 days (%) 12 12 13 5 12
No in 15 - 30 days (%) 6 6 7 2 6
No in > 30 days (%) 5 6 4 0 5