Project Update: Visualising Australasia’s Soils

Posted Jun 11,2019

Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus at the Ballarat workshop

Project: Visualising Australasia’s Soils

Project Leader: Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus  – Federation University

Program: 2

Duration: 2 years

The Visualising Australasia’s Soils project brings together soil data from both public and private sectors, on the fly, into an online web-mapping portal that allows you to find the best possible soil data for any place.  The soil data custodians keep control of their data and set the rules under which the data is made available.

Watch Peter Dahlhaus explain the Visualising Australasia’s Soils project.

Project Update

The first project meeting was held in February, with more than 30 participants from partner organisations attending. Some traveled from as far away as New Zealand, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Canberra and Tasmania.

The workshop marked a very successful start to the project and was a valuable networking opportunity for all participants. The discussions were really useful, particularly in gaining feedback about what the grower groups’ interests and concerns are in sharing data, and the ways we need to accommodate this.

Check out this video of the workshop findings.

The workshop discussions have helped to frame what needs to be achieved in the two year time frame of the project, such as:

  • Developing a free, working portal that is intuitive to use, value-adds to the data (e.g. showing trends) and provides user support.
  • Creating grower-centric case studies that outline the value proposition to sharing data.
  • Building trust with grower groups and addressing fears of data misuse, disadvantages or penalties in sharing data. Having these groups advocate use of the portal because there is a clear, obvious benefit. Groups maintaining control over the sharing of their data.
  • Capturing narratives about the use and value of the portal and the extent to which it matches user needs.

A steering committee has been created for the project, comprising of members from universities, state agencies and farmer groups.

Next steps

The next steps for the project include the steering committee setting governance and stewardship procedures, working with grower groups, bringing some existing project data into the test portal. Social research to measure the impact of the portal is also being planned.

Participants

Federation University Australia
Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research New Zealand
University of Tasmania
University of Southern Queensland
Birchip Cropping Group
Burdekin Productivity Services
Central West Farming Systems
Gillamii Centre
Herbert Cane Productivity Services
Landmark
Liebe Group
Mackillop Farm Management Group
Mallee Sustainable Farming
North Central Catchment Management Authority
Riverine Plains
Southern Farming Systems
Western Australian No Tillage Farmers Association
Wimmera Catchment Authority