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ACLEP Digital Soil Mapping Training - The University of Sydney 21-23 February 2011


3 March 2011

Digital soil mapping (DSM) involves a range of innovative software and modelling approaches to develop relationships between soil classes and individual properties and a number of environmental covariates. These relationships can then be used to predict the spatial pattern of soil classes and properties across the landscape.

The Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation Program (ACLEP) arranged for the world leading Sydney University to deliver an introductory DSM training course to a number of federal and state agency representatives. A total of 19 agency representatives from all states and territories (except the ACT) and Geosciences Australia and the CSIRO were involved. The three day technical course was developed and delivered by Sydney University lecturers Brendan Malone, Budiman Minasny and Ichsani Wheeler. Professor Alex McBratney added sessions on digital soil mapping concepts and principles and their application to GlobalSoilMap.net.

The course covered a range of topics including -

  • DSM software tools
  • Dealing with legacy soil data
  • Harmonising depth data using splines
  • Available covariates and their use as predictors
  • Prediction of soil properties
  • A basic overview of geostatistics
  • Predicting soil classes, and
  • Soil map disaggregation.

Whilst many of the concepts and software tools were new to participants most found the course lectures and hands on tutorials easy to follow. The course provided a well documented tutorial handbook as well as a collection of available software and training data sets. The challenge now is to progress the further use of these tools and approaches in participants own agencies and projects.

A number of DSM activities are already underway throughout Australia, including new ACLEP supported projects in Tasmania and the Northern Territory. The aim of ACLEP training is to facilitate development of skills and knowledge which will lead to improved soil related data sets and information products throughout Australia. The National Committee on Soil and Terrain Working Group on Digital Soil Assessment took the opportunity to meet during the training course. They will make recommendations on ways to progress digital soil mapping in Australia, through further training, cross-border and national collaborative projects and active involvement in the IUSS 5th Global Workshop on Digital Soil Mapping, Sydney Australia 10-13 April 2012.


Contact: Dr Budiman Minasny

Email: 3a16012c3e570f053f28591b42084976174a1c030d0b654a2b44401003