iSDAsoil Launch

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iSDAsoil previously launched on 23rd October 2020 and is an open access soil property map with 30m resolution for Africa. iSDA has collaborated with ICRAF, Rothamsted Research, Envirometrix, GiLab, and MultiOne to gather the immense dataset which underpins this work.

Using on-site soil samples and computer modelling, a detailed and interactive image is produced displaying multiple properties of the soil throughout Africa. The high resolution of the data (24 billion data points) means that a single farm can identify the soil type accurate to a particular field. iSDAsoil also takes into account the depth of soil and the type of underlying bedrock to predict the full picture of soil status across the country. Where there are data gaps, iSDAsoil will be improved upon with further data received from dedicated soil agronomists.

Comparison of soil pH predictions at 250m and 30m spatial resolutions. Left: predicted pH results using standard 250m resolution. Centre: results using 30m resolution as developed for iSDAsoil. Right: satellite image showing geographical features of this location. Labels indicate measured pH values based on soil samples collected from the field.

Understanding the nutrient content and quality of the soil is important for successful and sustainable agriculture. Different crop species require different nutrients to grow well, therefore knowledge of the soil content will affect decisions on placement of crops and the use of fertilisers. Soil is the base from which all other life is sustained, so the impacts of poor soil management can damage the local environment.

iSDAsoil is a completely free resource. Developers can also freely (under licence) access the API to integrate the data into other tools and apps.

What’s next?

Having soil properties available for the entire continent enables low-cost agronomic advisory tools to be built by all parties, including local startups. iSDA will be building on this data to provide intelligent tools for small-scale farmers; and we can’t wait to see what others will do!

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