Digital soil assessment delivers impact across scales in Australia and the Philippines

Michael J. Grundy, Ross Searle, Elizabeth A. Meier, Anthony J. Ringrose-Voase, Darren Kidd, Thomas G. Orton, John Triantafilis, Seonaid Philip, Craig Liddicoat, Brendan Malone, Mark Thomas, Jonathan Gray, John Mc Lean Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Retrospective evaluation has consistently shown that soil information has value beyond the investment used to produce it. Digital soil mapping and assessment (DSMA) is the new paradigm for soil survey and a key source of soil and land information. It promises increased utility and flexibility for the users of soil information. Does DSMA methodology add value? What are some of the outcomes and emerging impacts? Seven examples from the burgeoning use of DSMA in and near Australia have been explored to determine the nature and extent of outcomes and impact achieved. The analysis began with a workshop of key soil scientists, involved a survey of the use of DSMA and attitudes to impact amongst practitioners of DSMA and looked at each of the seven examples in the context of the systems they seek to influence. There is evidence of progress along impact pathways in each case. In the simpler systems, the products of DSMA are being used as envisaged and change is occurring. In more complex systems, the role of soil information meshes with many other influences and impact is harder to discern. Importantly, we find that few practitioners using DSMA explicitly identify impact pathways and design projects at the outset to optimise the chance of more extensive impact. Thus, an approach to planning for impact in DSMA is proposed that could improve the chance of impact and allow for iteration as our understanding of the systems in which change is expected improves through our interaction with them.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00314
Number of pages15
JournalGeoderma Regional
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Digital soil assessment
  • Digital soil mapping
  • Multiple soil classes
  • Philippines
  • Soil covariates
  • Soil data systems
  • Soil security
  • Soil spatial prediction


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