View a map of the soil in your local area, retrieve descriptions of the soil depth, texture, pH, soil temperature, organic matter content and dominant habitats across the UK. European users can view a map of the soil parent material and access soil depth, texture and dominant habitats.
Runs offline: partially (the maps are stored in the cache)
Last update: Android 24/10/2013 (v. 1.1) – iOS 12/07/2016 (v. 3.0)
Website of the developer: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
This application, designed specifically for Great Britain (also offers less detailed data for the rest of Europe), provides information on pedology at scale 1:50 000 with a resolution of 1 km. Its aim is to contribute to the free distribution of the data available through mobile technology, including information maps derived from parent materials, land cover, climate, etc. It also incorporates a section about citizen science, allowing application users to upload their own observations, describing the texture, depth, temperature and pH, as well as photographs, about the soil of a zone.
The application has the following options, accessible through the menu on the top left:
- Layers > Basemaps, where the basemap used by the application, that in this case belongs to European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC), is detailed.
- Layers > Overlays, option that, when is activated, enables you to view the points with observations that application users have uploaded (you may need to zoom to a specific area). Clicking on these points, you can see the features of the soil and a photography of that area.
- Contribute > Add record, section to add your own observations using a form in which you can pinpoint the location, a description, photograph, pH and texture (by clicking on these last two features it can access a help section that explains how to measure pH and select the texture correctly).
- More apps, where other mobile applications that can be useful, such as iGeology and Farm Crap, which allows a more efficient use of manure as fertilizer, are linked.
- Settings, that includes a help section and an option to clear the cache and delete stored maps.
Images: Screenshots 19/09/2016. © NERC CC BY-NC 3.0
The soil, despite being the support of agriculture and a key element in climate regulation by its ability to sequester carbon or in the management of water flow, is one of the great forgotten of natural ecosystems. Its progressive occupation by building infrastructure or degradation as a result of erosion leads to loss of fertility, affecting directly to crops.
MySoil attempts to remedy the lack of information on this natural element, establishing, in this way, the first corrective action to value it. Although the detailed information is only included for Great Britain, it is an example about how to distribute and publicize open access databases, also incorporating a citizen science functionality that allows users to add their own comments to the system. As aspects to improve, it might be necessary to clean the observations that do not meet a minimum quality or are poorly localized in order to facilitate the use of the application. It would also be desirable to include didactic information about the importance of this resource in ecosystems.