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Environmental Protection Agency Visual Sampling Plan (VSP) Overview  

Visual Sample Plan (VSP) provides statistical solutions to sampling design problems. VSP helps the user select the correct number and location of samples so that a required confidence level for decision-making can be achieved. VSP can be used to conduct Step 7 of the data quality objectives (DQO) process.


VSP Home Site
  • Visualization
  • Initial Sampling
  • Secondary Sampling
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Input
  • Tabular File: *.txt, *.xls, *.csv
  • Graphical File: *.dxf, *.shp
  • Output
    • Tabular File: *.txt
    • Graphical File: *.dxf, *.shp, *emf, *.rtf
    • Print Report: Yes
    • Metals
    • Chlorinated Solvents
    • SVOCs
    • Pesticides/PCBs
    • Petroleum
    • Radionuclides
    • Soil Sediment
    • Soil Gas
    • Air
    • Surface Water
    • Groundwater
    Technical Team Members
    • Statistician
    VSP - data loading
    • Manual data entry is the primary method of loading tabular data.
    • All tabular data must either be imported as txt file or cut and pasted from a txt, xls, or csv file
    • Requires a specific format for input of tabular data.
    VSP - graphic loading
    • Base maps must be loaded as either AutoCAD 2000 dxf or ESRI ArcView shp file.
    • Imported sample locations must be within the extent of the area to be usable; however, there is a dropdown menu to quickly change the extent of the map to include sample coordinates.
    • Sample areas can be drawn using basic drawing functions that come with the software.
    VSP - logical flow
    • The user is guided through sample plan development by a series of choices (such as "Data required to be normally distributed " or "Data not required to be normally distributed") that facilitate the user's selection of an appropriate sample design. Submenus that provide additional choices are mouse-activated (automatically pop up as the mouse is rolled across the screen).
    VSP - expert knowledge
    • Knowledge and understanding of statistical parameters to be evaluated (standard deviation and alpha and beta variable) are required to use VSP correctly.
    • VSP is a tool to complete Step 7 of the seven-step data quality objectives (DQO) process. VSP developers recommend that the user has solid knowledge of the DQO process and has read relevant EPA guidance (EPA 2000).
    • Can be used by a novice, but expert knowledge of statistics is advised.
    VSP - functionality
    • Allows for input of cost per sample to aid in a cost analysis when developing a sample plan.
    • Allows easy switching from one statistical analysis function to another to compare the results.
    • Allows user to show four screens at one time that include the map, coordinates, graphical interface, and end report. The user is allowed to change data in any screen, which will interactively change the visual output.
    • Allows user to readily identify the largest unsampled area.
    • Adaptive Cluster sampling can be used for an ongoing cleanup to establish the sample grids required to meet cleanup goals in relation to a known hot spot.
    • Allows for the addition of historical samples to be used during the statistical analysis process. The software will give credit to these samples when calculating the number of samples required to meet the user goals.
    VSP - documentation
    • Documentation is designed to walk users through the process of sampling design.
    • Quick Start guide uses example problems to lead user through basic functions.
    • Help menus appear every time the program is started.
    VSP - output
    • Summary report provides a quick explanation of the statistical analysis used, why it was used, and how it works.
    • Can print any of the four provided screens: map, coordinates, graph, and summary report.
    • Maps can be exported only as a dxf file.
    VSP - sources
    • Version 2.0 downloaded November 4, 2004.
    • Help Menus.
    • VSP Quick Start Guide.
    • U.S. EPA. 2000. Guidance for the Data Quality Objectives Process. EPA QA/G-4. EPA Office of Environmental Information. EPA/600/R-96/055. August.
    Note that this DST matrix is under active construction. Comments and suggestions about the structure
    or content of this website should be sent to Mike Adam .
    This web site contains technology information from private contractors and government agencies and is for informational purposes only. EPA cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service, by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation, or favor of the United States Government.