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Improving soils data use across government - SP08003

One of the key actions of the First Soil Action Plan for England requires that Defra work to develop and provide better access to information on soils. A prior questionnaire survey has established a baseline information on the types of soil data licensed by Government Departments and Agencies. However, insufficient information was obtained to allow a strategy to be developed for improving the awareness of soils information and to facilitate data sharing. Specifically there was not a common and higher level description of the data that can effectively communicate fitness for purpose of the datasets that are available in a variety of formats and different spatial scales.

The objectives of this project are therefore to:

1. Obtain detailed information on the soils data used within UK Government Departments and Agencies or licensed to contractors on their behalf;
2. Identify the current and future requirements of the UK Government Departments and Agencies for soil data and present their business justification for these requirements;
3. Identify the extent of overlaps between current holdings to clarify the extent to which information needs from within Government can already be met if there were an appropriate mechanism for information sharing;
4. Provide details on complimentary datasets potentially available to fulfil additional requirements and fill gaps in data availability (taking due account of costs);
5. Investigate the potential of developing descriptive soils metadata for integration into SPIRE through the process of a survey of existing soil dataset attributes and metadata standards.

This will be achieved principally by interview of key data users within UK Government Departments and Agencies and providers across the UK. A dictionary of soils attributes will also be constructed from the available datasets. We will assess the need to extend the mandatory metadata elements in the Defra SPIRE cataloguing tool to include useful and searchable data on soils attributes and how the data has been derived rather than just the spatial footprint.
Project Documents
• Final Report : SP08003 Improving soil data use across government - Final Report   (427k)
• Final Report - Annex : SP08003 Appendix A - Contact List   (44k)
• Final Report - Annex : SP08003 Appendix B - Organisational Data Use   (251k)
• Final Report - Annex : SP08003 Appendix C - Function Matrices   (198k)
• Final Report - Annex : SP08003 Appendix D - Projects   (106k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2006

Cost: £35,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection              
Fields of Study
Soil Protection