Australia: The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), state territory and agencies, Geoscience Australia, and the University of Sydney collaborated to establish a new soil mapping facility in Australia. It aims to respond to the need for more valuable information, needed to manage the country’s vast landscapes and ecosystems.
The facility, known as the Soil Landscape Grid of Australia, will produce a comprehensive fine-scale grid of functional soil attributes and key landscape features needed for modelling and managing Australian landscapes and ecosystems, which are currently not available.
The facility is expected to enhance the ecosystem research capability through the immediate improvement in the capacity to extrapolate from existing plots/sites, to effectively place new plots, and to design more effective landscape-scale research.
In addition, once the facility is completed, Australian soils information will be consistent, readily available, comprehensive and relevant to current and developing modelling processes, and uncertainty estimates will make clear where there is need for more survey effort.
The Soil and Landscape Grid is a two stage facility –The first stage uses currently available funding to establish the baseline for the facility and the first estimation of the key features of the soils grid.
This will be achieved by using a combination of the existing soils data; developments in new soil measurement techniques and proximal soil sensing, digital soil mapping and accompanying information and communication technology (ICT) improvements; and spatial statistics to provide the best possible estimates of the key soil functional attributes at a scale important in ecosystem processes.
The second stage will capture a much wider set of source data, will broaden the attributes estimated, will reduce and categorise the uncertainty of the estimates, and substantially improve the access to and ease of use of the facility.