Before migrating any land grid, there are some important questions that need to be asked.
Does the land grid data you use provide you with the full picture - including lots and quarters? Or does your land grid give you just the sections and townships? Other important questions that may have arisen include: Is the data easy to implement into company projects? Is the data seamless and contiguous? How much does the data cost your organization? Is the data leased or owned? How is the data delivered and in what formats?
There should be no mystery behind your spatial data. If you remember the science behind that point or polygon, you will always be able to check the source and accuracy. Apart from possibly saving you large amounts of money from bad habits, the land grid provides the backbone to accurate and complete map projects. The best part is that you will have confidence in your data and, most importantly, your maps.
Below are some tips you can use to make sure you are getting the full picture from your land grid data:
» Check the accuracy using streaming USGS topos (+-40 feet accuracy, this is what most vendors use in the PLSS states).
» Check the accuracy using streaming imagery.
» Are you getting all the layers (lots, surveys, quarters, etc - headers, bottom holes, formations, etc)?
» Is it seamless and contiguous (run a dissolve across the states for polygons)?
» When was it last updated?
» Does it have a common data model within its own dataset and across the other related datasets?
» Is it easy to integrate?
» Don't be fooled by claims that one is better than the other - compare each to the source.
Some important things to remember:
» A ground survey is always more accurate than digital data provided by data vendors. This type of data should always be treated as the primary.
» Some data vendors lease their data. Once subscription is cancelled, they may ask you to remove the data.
» Most subscription datasets are set on auto-renew. Don't be caught out paying for something you don't need.
Once you have determined your current state of affairs, it's time to consider what it is actually going to take to make the move to another vendor.
Do you have a plan for removing the old datasets (if required)? Do you have a plan for migrating the new land grid data to the server and desktop level? Are you going to re-fit your internal polygons to the new land grid? If so, how?