EPA’s Data Standards are managed by the Data Standards Branch (DSB) within the Office of Environmental Information (OEI). DSB works closely with Federal agencies, states, tribes, and other information trading partners to develop data standards. By its nature the program is a part of EPA’s Enterprise-wide Data Architecture and EPA’s Quality Systems.
The use of data standards across EPA's multiple program offices provides consistently defined and formatted data elements and sets of data values which provide the public access to more meaningful data.
The benefits of EPA’s data standards are those as are applicable to any standard:
- They are developed by subject matter experts coming to common consensus on how to solve business problems – so represents the “best” solution
- They are harder to develop than non-standards, but are more economical in the long term because you can use the same code or presentation and publishing mechanisms to provide access to information
- They enable transparency and understanding – use of standards promotes common, clear meanings for data that is often reused
- They enable access - the same well understood terms, codes, and data structures can be used for data retrieval
- They encourage and enable reuse of data and software for multiple purposes
- Mappings to standards allow comparisons even when data isn’t standardized – solves the “environmental interest” problem between programs and states
- They provide consistent results during data retrieval
Standards also promote quality – EPA's goal is high quality information delivered in an efficient way to the people who need it.