Many general-purpose computer programs have been used in soil survey and land evaluation, including database management programs, spreadsheets, statistical packages, and geographical information systems. Only a few have been specifically developed for soil survey. The most common category are those that organise site observations such as profiles. For surveys that conceive of space as a continuous field, there are some useful geostatics programs. Finally, since a survey is not useful until it is interpreted, there are some programs to help in soil survey interpretation & land evaluation.
These programs are used to organise site observations, such as profile descriptions, and their supporting laboratory analyses.
This was developed by the MICROLeis 2000 project. Now a spin-off (even in Spanish they say that!) company.
From the FAO's Land & Water Development Division , a database tool useful for storage of primary soils information assembled at national level, or data collected in a soil survey at subnational and local level. SDBm data are used in the computerized AEZ land evaluation systems. There are options for calculation of weighted averages or dominant values of selected variables by soil unit, depth range and group of soil profiles; graphic presentation of soil analysis data, such as pie chart image of relative percentages of variable groups of attributes in a given soil profile.
You can also get a list of all the AGLS information systems
The software can be downloaded, see the entry for SDBm, above.
This was developed to organize ISRIC-World Soil Information's profile collection, and has excellent reporting and export capabilities.
"PEP ermöglicht, Bodenprofilbeschreibungen entsprechend der Kartieranleitung Bodenkunde 4. Auflage (KA4) zu erfassen, zu verwalten sowie Reports zu erstellen." Frei herunterladbar.
A program for collecting point observations, now superseded by the National Soil Information System (NASIS). This function is now in NASIS itself, however PEDON is being updated (expected in 2002! don't hold your breath) and may be downloaded from NASIS.
These programs are suited to model the Continuous Model of Spatial Variation. They have a wider application than soil survey, and are especially used in environmental studies.
The premier open-source statistics program. Many sophisticated
geostatistics applications have been contributed as add-in libraries,
Especially strong for spatial simulation and indicator kriging
Gstat is a computer program for geostatistical modelling, prediction and simulation, from Edzer Pebesma, now at the University of Muenster (D). It is freely available (including source),under the terms of the GNU General Public License, and has a particularly useful user's manual. Thanks, Edzer! This is the way all scientists should work.
From the US EPA. It was good then (1989), it still works now... it's being ported to Unix, has a good manual, gives reliable results... what more do you want?
From ESRI; commercial, with wizards, but closed-source and poorly-documented.
These are programs to view the contents of a SGDB, both soils data and interpretations. As such they are typically specific to a particular SGDB format.
Note: the following seem to have disappeared, I am keeping the link for now, and enquiring to find their new location.Western Australia Land Profiler CD-ROM, from the (WA) Department of Agriculture
This is the base product of the AGMAPS CD-ROM series, which are intended to extending agricultural land development and management information to clients. It shows maps of soil-landscape units (broad systems and detailed land units) and land use potential, along with a guide to development potential and management issues.
an extension to ArcView 3 that allows the user to create soil-based thematic maps, mainly (only?) from SSURGO. Also can incorporate orthophotos, hydrology, and climate.
This seems to be the engine in a previous product, Soils
Explorer, which doesn't seem to be available any more.
This was a digital soil map viewer for SSURGO data on CD-ROM;
it was a great value at US$15 per soil survey area
(typically a US county; the small state of Rhode Island is one one disc).
About 40 areas have been completed.
Unfortunately, this project seems to be dormant. The SDV is downloadable, and you should be able to add your own SSURGO datasets.
To my knowledge, there are no generally-available SGDB softwares. Each organisation rolls its own. I only list those which may be used by people outside the organisation.
Legends, map units, components; the standard USA soil survey model
developed by Thomas D'Avello (Illinois NRCS) as part of the "Soil Survey of the Future"
These programs directly assist the soil mapper.
from the International Working Group on Digital Soil Mapping of the IUSS
"A set of tools for predictive digital soil mapping under the SoLIM framework"; a MS-Windows executable; from Prof. A-Xing Zhu (U. Wisconsin / Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Designed to look at the slope characteristics of a landscape using digital elevation data, possibly with an orthophoto over a wire frame model of the landscape, in order to infer the soil classes that might occur.
"A software package for knowledge-based raster soil mapping. It implements rule-based reasoning (RBR) and case-based reasoning (CBR) to facilitate construction of soil-landscape models and perform automatic fuzzy soil inference"
These programs segment the landscape according to topgraphic features. These segments could be the starting point for a soil map.
Compiled by Richard J Pike, USGS
"TOPAZ is a software system for automated analysis of landscape topography from digital elevation models. The primary objective of TOPAZ is the rapid and systematic identification and quantification of topograhic features in support of investigations related to land-surface processes, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, assessment of land resources, and management of watersheds and ecosystems. Typical examples of topographic features that are evaluated by TOPAZ include terrain slope and aspect, drainage patterns and divides, channel network, watershed segmentation, subcatchment identification,... drainage distances, representative subcatchment properties...".
"Terrain analysis is the process of using topographic data to derive terrain attributes which describe the shape (morphology) of the landscape and the influence of topography on environmental processes such as water flow and solar radiation."
An approach to topographic modelling which has been applied to soil mapping and prediction of soil properties. Explained in the well-known reference: Wilson, J. P., & Gallant, J. (Eds.); 2000; Terrain analysis : principles and applications, New York: Wiley & Sons. No longer supported as such; it is being incorporated into ...
"A repository of software and supporting documentation intended to improve the efficiency and standard of catchment modelling." Based on the TIME modelling environment. This will include TAPES by the end of 2004. From the (Australian) Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Catchment Hydrology.
From Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University. Commercial program to compute DEMs without artefacts (same algorirthm in ArcINFO).
Same, using thin-plate splines for noisy surfaces.
Originally at the
Geographic Modelling Systems Lab
at the University of Illinois, but
now moved (with Mitasova?) to NCSU; she has a
GeoInformation Science and Environmental Modeling
This explains the
s.surf.tps module of
These programs analyse the behaviour of the soil as an unsaturated medium.
Commercially-priced, but powerful and slick. Works with primary data to estimate grain-size distribution, volume-mass properties, soil-water curves taking into account mineralogy, permeability, compression, compaction, shear strength, etc.
Once a survey is completed, it must be interpreted for multiple uses. The pedologist is not the main user of the soil survey! A further step than simple soil survey interpretation is land evaluation, which considers all relevant land and human resources when determining suitability.
FCC is a technical soil classification showing the principal aspects of soil fertility management.
First, some attempts to help with determining soil climate
This set of pages includes the NSM program and a detailed explanation of the methdology by Armand Van Wambeke,
Next, some small attempts have been made to automate soil classification
A Windows 95+ program to compute fuzzy k-means for a set of soil observations, with or without extragrades. Graphical or batch versions, written in FORTRAN.
Innovative application of the fuzzy k-means with extragrades algorithm to allocate any soil profile to several groups, with varying degrees of membership, from a detailed description (20 variables). Requires Macintosh or PC MS-Excel. Nice user's manual.
TAL is a script that works within a spreadsheet (Excel or Lotus) to determine the soil texture class based on 4 soil classification schemes: USDA, UK, Canadian, International. Written by Christopher Teh Boon Sung of the Universiti Putra Malaysia.
WinSieve is used to enter, edit and print grain size analysis charts. It is built on a Microsoft Access relational database. A commercial product of Gaea Technologies of Canada, who have several related products for engineering and environmental soil science.
These are suppliers who offer a wide range of software related to soil survey, terrain mapping, groundwater, environment etc. Many programs are commercial but some are public domain.
Especially strong on environmental models
"Everything" for the Earth scientist
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