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Soil Interoperability Experiment Demonstrator

The Soil Interoperability Experiment Demonstrator was constructed as part of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) global soils interoperability experiment. It consumes soil data stored in three disparate databases in New Zealand, Australia, and The Netherlands. Data is accessed via a universal schema (SoilML) and can be dynamically modelled using pedotransfer functions via a web processing service (WPS).

Soil Interoperability Experiment Demonstrator screenshot

Soil Interoperability Experiment Demonstrator 


The primary aim of the Soil Interoperability Experiment was to develop and test a global Soil Markup Language (SoilML), attempting to harmonise several international soil interchange formats including ANZSoilML, and incorporate established standards for observational data including WaterML and the newer TimeseriesML.

CeRDI made a significant contribution to the Soil Interoperability Experiment by developing a demonstration web client that federated soil data from several web-based services. 


The mapping client consumes soil data from global partners delivering complex web feature services. The client includes the ability to search and filter for Sites which have soil observations meeting user-defined criteria (across state and national boundaries). For example, “Show me all the soil test sites which have observations of Soil pH below 3.5.”


The client was able to demonstrate the use of a remote WPS implemented by ISRIC (World Soil Information, The Netherlands) sending defined soil parameters to the WPS and returning inferred soil properties to the user. The WPS used pedotransfer algorithms developed in collaboration with the Italian Agrobiology and Pedology Research Centre.   

Technical Features

The client was developed using the OpenLayers 3 mapping library and a Bootstrap layout. An XML to GeoJSON wrapper was developed to convert the GML-based soil site locations into an efficient format for browser-based mapping. All other interaction with the XML-based services was on the fly, including the WPS service. New sources of soils information complying with the SoilML standards can be easily integrated into the map. The map demonstrates the power of interoperability using OGC standards and open-source software.

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    Ritchie, A., Medyckyj-Scott, D., Wilson, P., Simons, B., Dahlhaus, P.G., MacLeod, A., Roudier, P., Gregory, L. and Watson, B. (2016). Developing a global soil data infrastructure - The Open Geospatial Consortium Soil Data Interoperability Experiment.  Soil, a Balancing Act Downunder. Joint conference of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science and Soil Science Australia. 12–16 December 2016, Queenstown, New Zealand. Oral Abstracts, p.112.

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