Standardization of world soil profile data to support global mapping and modelling

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Procedures for collecting, compiling, standardizing/harmonizing and subsequently providing quality-assessed world soil profile data to the international community, as developed in the framework of WoSIS (World Soil Information Service), are described. Harmonization, as defined by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), involves “providing mechanisms for the collation, analysis and exchange of consistent and comparable global soil data and information”. Areas of harmonization include those related to: a) soil description, classification and mapping, b) soil analyses, c) exchange of soil data, and d) interpretations. Seen the breadth and magnitude of the task, so far we have focused on developing and applying procedures for handling and standardizing legacy soil profile data, with special attention for the selection of soil properties considered in the Global-SoilMap specifications: organic carbon, pH, texture (sand, silt, and clay), coarse fragments (> 2 mm), cation exchange capacity, electrical conductivity, bulk density, and water retention. These properties are commonly considered in digital soil mapping and can be used to address a wide range of global issues, such as food security, combatting land degradation, and adaptation and mitigation to climate change. The standardized data are served to the international community using two formats. Static snapshots in TXT format, with a time stamp and identifier (doi), are provided to allow for consistent citation purposes. For example, the ‘July 2016’ snapshot includes standardized data for some 94,000 profiles. Newly standardized data are gradually added to a dynamic version of the dataset that can be accessed ‘24/7’ using WFS connection in GIS applications (some 109,000 profiles as of March 2017); the number of measured data for each property varies between profiles and with depth. Both the static and dynamic versions are freely available at: Future releases of WoSIS will consider a wider range of soil properties (e.g. content of nitrogen, phosphorus and other (micro) nutrients), including data derived from soil spectrometry. Instrumental to enhanced usability and accessibility of data managed in WoSIS will be the continued harmonization of soil property values and further standardization of soil analytical method descriptions. Development and testing of such procedures, in partnership with data providers, will allow for the fulfilment of (future) demands for global soil information, and enable further collation of standardized soil data shared by partners and third parties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract Book Pedometrics 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventPedometrics conference - Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 26 Jun 20171 Jul 2017


ConferencePedometrics conference


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