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A Compendium of On-Line Soil Survey Information

Computer Programs

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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.

PageTop Site observations

These programs are used to organise site observations, such as profile descriptions, and their supporting laboratory analyses.

PageTop Geostatistics & Interpolation

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.

PageTop Soils Data Viewers

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.

PageTop Soil Geographical Databases

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.

PageTop Soil mapping

These programs directly assist the soil mapper.

PageTop Topographic analysis

These programs segment the landscape according to topgraphic features. These segments could be the starting point for a soil map.

PageTop Soil-water relations

These programs analyse the behaviour of the soil as an unsaturated medium.

PageTop Soil Survey Interpretations

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.

PageTop Soil Classification

First, some attempts to help with determining soil climate

Next, some small attempts have been made to automate soil classification

PageTop Vendors

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.


Author: D G Rossiter URL:
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