Data Provenance

The information presented in this web site is compiled from data derived from a variety of sources which have different data accuracy and hence differing fitness for purpose. These data may not be complete, correct or up to date. Landcare Research advises that users should expect that ALL data contain error and uncertainty. You should therefore familiarise yourself with the information provided below to ensure you understand the limitations of the data presented on this web site. Landcare Research cannot be held responsible for inappropriate use of data and does not accept responsibility for any actions taken in reliance on the data or consequences arising from their use.

The National Soil Data Repository (NSDR) has been designed to capture the maximum level of data richness associated with observing soil phenomena. In addition the NSDR conforms to best practice metadata standards for spatial information. However much of the data stored within the NSDR is historical and for some sites data for particular properties are missing as such it is not possible to accurately populate all the metadata fields associated with particular observations. In the case of historical datasets metadata has been populated to the level of richness provided in the original data source.

A program of work has commenced to begin to populate the NSDR with datasets that were not a part of the original NSD. This includes soil survey data and soil data not associated with survey projects. This is intended to be an ongoing activity and will occur as capability becomes available.

Issues to Note

Current state

The infrastructure to deliver analytical results is currently in the implementation phase. As an interim measure users requiring access to analytical results are advised to consult the “deep” and “wide” site views in the Soils Portal. Implementation of the analytical component of the database will be available in this viewer in early August 2015.

Data collection

The NSDR contains records of observations of soil phenomena. The activity of collecting this data has been undertaken for a number of different purposes, as such the suite of phenomena observed and the methods used to describe and collect this data may differ significantly at different sites.

Soil observations and soil mapping

The NSDR contains records of actual observed or measured soil phenomena. Soil mapping uses the information observed at a location and through qualitative or quantitative methods generalizes the distribution of soil types or phenomena across the landscape at different scales (accuracy). As such soil observations may not match the soil mapping available for the region of interest.

Spatial locations

The NSDR contains records for soil observations from 1959 to the present day and from a multitude of different observers. As such the method used to spatially locate a site changed over time, between individuals and between projects. Where possible the method used to capture the spatial reference has been recorded. However for many observations this has not been possible.

Classification systems

Classification systems, analytical suites and other methods for observing soil phenomena have changed through time. Some of the terms used in describing soil phenomena are used in multiple contexts however underlying definitions may differ. It is cognisant on the user of soil information stored within the NSDR that the metadata associated with a particular observations is consulted.

Logical consistency

The records of soil phenomena contained in the NSDR have been collected for a number of different purposes (as noted above). Each of these activities have involved differing levels of rigour in the quality control of data collected. As such for a particular observation there may be logical inconsistencies between records for a site. The NSDR team are seeking to develop methods for highlighting obvious logical inconsistencies in the near future.

Land use data

The NSDR contains free text records that have been migrated from the original NSD database. These free text records are currently what may be filtered against on the search page. As such there are filter categories that appear to be similar or the same (such as sheep farming and sheep grazing). Future work will seek to map these categories to a consistent land use mapping classification.

Taylor, N. H, and I. J Pohlen. Soil Survey Method. [Wellington, New Zealand]: Dept. of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1962.