Experts meet for workshop on web-based soil data exchange

20 Jun 2019

ISRIC, in its role as Soil Data Facility of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), is an important contributor to the Global Soil Information System (GLOSIS), a federated system of national databases. A common standard -or information model- is needed to enable different soil databases to ‘talk’ to each other, and this requires a common language. Various attempts to define such a standard have been undertaken during the last decade. An expert workshop was convened at ISRIC to review what has been achieved so far and in how far these exchange standards are applicable to GLOSIS. Subsequently, the way forward was discussed resulting in a pragmatic, but generic, information model that will form the technical backbone of GLOSIS.

The workshop (17-18 June 2019, Wageningen) was attended by soil information experts from Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research (NZ), CSIRO (AU), European Environment Agency (DK), BGR (DE), Wageningen Environmental Research (NL), CABI (UK), Masaryk University (CZ), and ISRIC-World Soil Information. USDA-NRCS (USA) and the GSP secretariat joined remotely.

To have this expert group together for two days was unique. We are happy with the common ground that was achieved. In the coming months, data exchange model development for GLOSIS will evolve in an iterative process that will involve a wider range of organisations and experts. Ultimately, this collaborative process should lead to a new generic soil data standard that may be used in a broader context than GLOSIS alone.