iSOIL - Interactions between soil related sciences -
Linking geophysics, soil science and digital soil mapping


An essential prerequisite for site-specific soil protection and restoration, alongside sustainable land use, water management, and environmental management, is the availability of high-resolution soil property maps. In most cases, current European soil databases do not provide maps in sufficiently detailed resolutions. Furthermore, they are frequently inconsistent as they are based on different soil mapping standards. Therefore, a strong need exists to develop coherent databases and efficient technologies for (Digital) Soil Mapping.

Conventional, sample-based soil property mapping is very time-consuming, cost-intensive and data collected can only be utilized for discrete points in a landscape. Additionally, the high costs associated with laboratory analyses are prohibitive, meaning many soil properties are estimated during field investigations by different soil surveyors - resulting in subjective, non-reproducible and non-transferable data. Resultantly, sample-based soil mapping can therefore be said to be inadequate for large scale investigations.

Various soil parameters can already be mapped using rapid, nearly non-destructive methods (geophysics, spectroscopy), for quasi-continuous 2D as well as 3D mapping of soil physical and hydrological properties. However, the current techniques are deficient in terms of reliability and precision, the understanding of relationships between mapped soil parameters and relevant soil functions, the scaling up for investigating large areas (e.g. catchments and landscapes) and the evaluation of soil degradation at such scales. In this context, new strategies and innovative methods need to be developed to generate high-resolution and accurate soil property maps and to reduce the costs associated with traditional soil mapping techniques.

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Important Information

Project ended in November 2011

CWA 16373 "Best Practice Approach for electromagnetic induction measurements of the near surface" is published and available at CEN or DIN Berlin

iSOIL data are available at

iSOIL is a member of the SOIL TECHNOLOGY CLUSTER of Research Projects funded by the EC

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