Visual Sample Plan

Develop a defensible sampling plan based on statistical sampling theory

  • 3D rendering of city from overhead
  • Heat maps generated by VSP.

Visual Sample Plan blue logo

Visual Sample Plan (VSP) is a tool that helps ensure the right type, quality, and quantity of data are gathered to support confident decisions and provides statistical evaluations of the data with decision recommendations. Developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control, and the United Kingdom, VSP has more than 5,000 active users. Many statistical sampling designs are available—from random and systematic, to sequential, adaptive cluster, and more. VSP is recommended by many regulators for defensible sampling design and statistical analysis.

The underlying methodology employs statistically defensible approaches and has strong Data Quality Objective (DQO) process underpinnings. The objective is to ensure that the right type, quality, and quantity of data are gathered to support confident decisions.

It allows real-time evaluation of the tradeoffs between increased confidence in decisions and costs or number of samples required. VSP answers the questions of how many samples are required and where samples should be obtained. Designed for the non-statistician, VSP is organized around possible data uses. Before developing a data-gathering plan, each user must determine what they will do with the data to support their decision-making process.

VSP currently supports the following sampling goals:

  • Estimate or compare averages
  • Compare individual sample results against some limit
  • Do transect or anomaly sampling/analysis for unexploded ordnance sites
  • Evaluate trends over time
  • Develop a geospatial contaminant concentration map
  • Evaluate well placement redundancies or inadequacies
  • Explore correlation between multiple analytes
  • Estimate or compare proportions
  • Assess whether the boundary around an area is contaminant free
  • Develop a targeted, purely judgmental sampling scheme
  • Sample items

Visit the VSP website.