Working group on soils in Brazil is created to facilitate public access to data

Expert scientists and the MapBiomas Network have created a working group to map Brazilian soil information and make the data freely accessible to the general public. Currently, most of the soil data in Brazil is published in scientific journals, dissertations and theses or is not available for public use. This, according to the group, hinders and prevents the reuse of data and its practical applications.

"The creation of this working group, which brings together specialists from various areas of knowledge, with emphasis on soil scientists, geographers, environmental scientists and data scientists, aims, from the survey of the state-of-the-art on soil knowledge in Brazil and new mapping strategies based on remote sensing data and statistical and ecosystem modeling contribute to the compilation and easier access to data and information, as well as to the generation of new maps in a temporal perspective and with a high level of spatial detail," explains Laerte Guimarães Ferreira, from the Image Processing and Geoprocessing Laboratory of the Federal University of Goiás (Lapig/UFG) and coordinator of the Grazing team in MapBiomas.

The working group, called GT Solos in MapBiomas, is currently formed by researchers from the MapBiomas Network, the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR, http://www.utfpr.edu.br/) and the University of São Paulo (USP, http://www.esalq.usp.br/), as well as other Brazilian public universities.

Among the group's objectives are to retrieve soil data and samples to improve the spatial and temporal coverage of open soil data in Brazil, and to promote the development of maps of soil properties in Brazil.

"Farmers, technicians and researchers have already produced a lot of Brazilian soil data. With these open data we will be able to reconstruct the history of our soil and know the effects of its use since the mid-twentieth century," adds Professor Alessandro Samuel Rosa, from the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR), who participates in the Soils WG.

The first maps and data available on the MapBiomas platform will be released later this year. 

The MapBiomas

MapBiomas is a muti-institutional initiative involving a collaborative network of universities, NGOs and technology companies dedicated to mapping the transformations in land cover and land use in Brazilian territory. All data and methods produced by MapBiomas are made available openly and for free to all audiences. To learn more, access: http://mapbiomas.org.