Data describing soil characteristics and soil classes.
The characteristics of soil data are key to farming practice. The soil quality is influential on the selection of crops, the need for inputs and for management of the land. Many governments collect soil information in order to gain a better understanding of the environmental conditions in different areas of the country or as part of extension activities. However the applicability of soil data from government sources depends on the accuracy and the level of detail of the information. Generally the information is coarse (1 km or 250m resolution), which means that it is relevant for general farm advice or strategic planning.
- Soil maps
- Soil samples
- Soil classifications
- A detailed soil map or soil samples at or near the fields may provide a better understanding of the soil characteristics, resulting in better crop selection, input use and management practice
Use by other actors:
- A detailed soil map or soil samples at or near the fields may provide extension officers with a better understanding of the local conditions, resulting in better advice.
- A soil map may be used by mobile advice service providers to better target their advice.
- Better understanding of the differences in soil quality in different regions and of related crops, input use and management practice can allow input suppliers to devise better marketing strategies.
- Better understanding of the differences in soil quality in different regions and of related crops, input use and management practice can be used by financial service providers to make better risk estimates.
Most governments have collections of soil data and soil maps, but the quantity and quality of the data varies greatly. Performing a nationwide soil survey is costly and creating an accurate soil map is a specialist task. Soil data is nowadays stored in digital form in a Geographical Information System, such as ArcGIS or QGIS. If available the data can easily be published as open data. There are no sensitivities foreseen for their publication.
Implementation and dataset examples
- An example of a government sharing its soil data is the Australian Soil Resource Information System http://www.asris.csiro.au/mapping/viewer.htm, https://www.data.gov.au/
- ISRIC, the world soil information institute, manages and shares a collection of 96,000 harmonized soil records from around the world and a global soil data base, SoilGrids, at 250m resolution http://www.isric.org/content/data.
- The FAO soil map portal provides an overview of global, regional and national soil maps and data bases http://www.fao.org/soils-portal/soil-survey/soil-maps-and-databases/en/.
Initiatives that support interoperability
- Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Open Data Standard http://www.opengeospatial.org/projects/initiatives/soildataie
- EU INSPIRE Soil Data Standard http://inspire.ec.europa.eu/documents/Data_Specifications/INSPIRE_DataSpecification_SO_v3.0.pdf
- ISRIC – WoSIS exchange requirements http://www.isric.org/sites/default/files/isric_report_2015_03.pdf#page=46