Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

UK Soil Observatory

Rothamsted is a Partner in the UK Soil Observatory which provides a portal for accessing UK soils data and underpinning research. These fully described datasets allow users to access information for novel research, for public and private decision making and for general interest groups. These datasets are provided for free, where possible.

Knowledge of soil types and properties can underpin management practices to develop sustainable agricultural production while maintaining the UK's carbon balance and a wide range of other services, e.g. flood prevention. UKSO was initially set up with funding from NERC, and the other partners are Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), British Geological Survey (BGS), Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute, the James Hutton Institute, Forest Research and the Forestry Commission. 

A total of 115 soil data layers are available. These cover soil type (classification) and a wide range of physical, chemical and biological properties and characteristics. Each organisation has contributed data covering a mix of these topics. Additional data layers are to be added over the next few months and the consortium’s aim is to compile a steadily growing archive of current and legacy soil datasets. UKSO also provides access to other sources of information such as soil apps, publication links and soil observatories.

In November 2014, UKSO won the Association of Geographical Information Award for Geospatial Excellence in the category: Excellence with Impact