The UK Soil Observatory (UKSO), a new online portal launched this month, provides free access to national UK soils data and its research for those who have an interest in soil and soil related matters.

Bringing together valuable data from several institutions across the UK, the portal includes information from Cranfield University’s Land Information System (LandIS). Its popular and well-used 'Soilscapes' tool enables anyone to access soils information for England and Wales.

Knowledge of soils provides information to public and private decision makers such as water utilities, financial institutions and insurers. It is used by a range of industries and practices, aiding decisions including developing sustainable agricultural production and improving flood prevention techniques. Currently, soils data, knowledge and expertise is scattered across a wide range of institutions. The UKSO facility brings together this knowledge in a simple and freely accessible format. The UKSO project will develop over time to improve the quality and coordination of national and regional soil-data resources.

Dr Steve Hallett, who manages Cranfield’s LandIS system, said: “This exciting new initiative provides an excellent impetus to draw the various scientific institutions together. It presents national and regional soil cartographic mapping and data, and soil monitoring resources, but importantly provides interested stakeholders a simple and effective means to explore that most precious of our natural resources – soil.”

Notes for editors

About Landis

First commenced in the 1970's, Cranfield University's “Land Information System” (LandIS) has provided the basis and repository for holding the digital representation of the soils information collected for England and Wales over the past 60 or more years.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Environment Doctoral Training Centre

This higher research degree is associated with our Environment Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The Environment DTC provides a focal point for engagement and academic discussion for all students involved in environmentally-related research at Cranfield. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge relating to the sector which characterise our research portfolio.

A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside the generic core skills training programme, provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities with Cranfield’s wider research community.