Soil mapping describes the properties of soils and the landscapes in which they occur. We use these maps to evaluate land for planning, agricultural use or environmental protection. Having accurate and accessible information about land and soil helps us to manage it in the most productive and sustainable way.

Soil features such as nutrient levels, textural composition, chemical and biological properties affect the sustainability of Australia’s natural resources and ultimately the success of sectors such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure. That’s why it’s important for soil mapping in Australia to continue evolving so government agencies and consultants like GeoLINK can continue to provide best practice for future positive outcomes.

The Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook updates
The Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook (the yellow book) is currently being amended and improved.  These updates provide nationally consistent data and information on soil and land resources.

The handbook specifies methods and terminology for soil and land surveys. It provides a reference set of definitions and coding for the characterisation of landform, vegetation, land surface, soil and substrate. Importantly this latest version will be more consistent with the emerging and contemporary methods of digital terrain analysis.

It has recognised the need to be more in line with digital elevation models and remote sensing which is becoming more accepted and evolved. As the industry moves more toward digital mapping, the handbook is adapting and remaining relevant.

This new and improved edition will be available for use and implementation soon and will provide soil professionals and enthusiasts with more comprehensive and accurate guidance on the soils and landscapes they analyse.

Future is here with digital mapping
Along with these new updates, digital mapping and better soil information will help Australia into the future. Better soil information is integral to ensuring future soil productiveness for Australia as well as capturing the potential of emerging digital agriculture technologies.

Accurate and accessible information about land and soil assists in long term management and identifying opportunities for achieving more sustainable production of land. Soil information is important for both the direct users as well as for strategic planning, policy-making, environmental protection, development and construction. It is also vital as we deal with the more imminent environmental problems like extreme weather events, extensive soil erosion, salinisation and acidification.

Agriculture and food security is another sector where soil information plays a pivotal role, not only for human health, but for the health of the economy. In 2014-15 NSW delivered approximately $12.125 billion in agricultural production; agricultural activities in Australia are a major contributor to the national economy.

Over the past decade digital soil mapping in Australia has evolved from being research focused to becoming accepted as an operational norm. It’s important we continue to develop this area and enhance the knowledge base around soils and their capabilities.

 GeoLINK soil mapping services
As Environmental consultants, we use soil landscape information to provide baseline information for environmental assessments. These assessments are necessary for our client’s projects to gain the approvals they need.

Soil Landscape mapping gives us access to land resource information and general capability for development purposes. Having an idea of the type of soil and its general characteristics allows us to determine:

  • whether the development is suitable for the land it is proposed on
  • the potential impacts of development to land and water (surface and groundwater)
  • the development of appropriate management measures to ensure the use of the land is sustainable.

In conjunction with the scientific professionals in our organisation, we also have GIS professionals who work collaboratively to produce quality land and soil assessments for our clients.


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