People can get data and information on the soil they are standing on, thanks to an app developed by several national research organisations. The app, called SoilMapp, runs on the iPad, and provides direct access to national soil data and information from the Australian Soil Resource Information System (ASRIS) and ApSoil, the database behind the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM).

It was developed by the Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation Program (ACLEP), in collaboration with CSIRO and the Grains Research and Development Corporation(GRDC). The TERN facility, Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia (‘TERN Soils’) works closely with ACLEP to improve the availability and accessibility of consistent national soil data and information for a wide range of users. Mr Peter Wilson from TERN Soils said the facility is developing new fine-resolution soil and terrain data sets which will be progressively released through the TERN soil data portal and ASRIS and become an important data source for the app.

‘SoilMapp gives users access to the best available soil data, either for their current location by using the iPad’s GPS, or by the user identifying any place of interest in Australia,’ Peter says. ‘Users make a direct web connection to data services from ASRIS and ApSoil. This makes SoilMapp unique and innovative, and it also ensures that the data returned is always the latest and best available, a great benefit to researchers, land managers and developers on the ground. SoilMapp provides a lot of soil information supplied largely by state and territory agencies and from CSIRO research, including the Australian Soil Classification types most likely to occur at the location, descriptions of reference sites for each likely soil, and summary data on each soil’s key attributes (such as pH, organic carbon and clay content). Data and descriptions from specific ASRIS field sites can also be displayed, as can analytical data associated with sites that have samples which now reside in the CSIRO’s National Soil Archive.’