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To tell a system designer or vendor what is needed in a geographic information system or its components, it is necessary to formally specify the user requirements that have been identified in the needs analysis process. These user requirements, or specifications, are recorded in a critical document that is used in the design and implementation phases of an organization's GIS project. They are the plan and bill of materials needed to construct the house—or system, in this case. Specifications are the means used to translate the design of the system into a working system.

Specifications are used to define needs for many different components of a geographic information system, including the following:

  • Hardware and software
  • Applications and interfaces with existing (legacy) systems
  • Data conversion and data quality (for both ...
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