The Land Information System - LandIS - currently comprises a number of key databases (119 in total, 369 files with 756 attributes) containing data about the soils, climate and land of the UK, particularly the digitised National Soil Map, the National Catalogue of Soils, National Soil Inventory, an Agroclimatic Databank, Auger borehole and Representative profile records and a range of interpretive models. LandIS is now over ten years old and there are now a number of problems relating to the mode of access, the database management software, the graphics component and the costs of operation. This study, undertaken by the team currently managing LandIS, recommends an updated system which would handle all the existing digital data held in LandIS by SSLRC but include additional data on urban soils, detailed soil survey maps, digital terrain information and the indexes to the physical collections.
A Reference Site is proposed whereby an updated LandIS would reside on a central database server at Silsoe, with a small group of experts to manage and maintain the system thereby ensuring the ultimate security and integrity of the data. It is recommended that the Reference Site use the ORACLE relational database management system (RDBMS). The high level language C is recommended as the best tool for application development in an updated LandIS based on ORACLE which should be mounted on a dedicated database server, a powerful workstation running under the UNIX operating system at the Reference Site.
All the existing applications available by way of the current menu system would be rewritten in XBASE for running on a PC under the MS-DOS operating system. Each application would be written as a separate module so that users can select the modules they require. A dedicated GIS workstation would also be necessary for applications development and R&D work. This would provide an essential spatial analysis capability particularly for the National and EC Soil Maps. Outline costs of the updated system are suggested.