• Challenges in the Geo-Processing of Big Soil Spatial Data

    Liakos, L.; Panagos, P. Challenges in the Geo-Processing of Big Soil Spatial Data. Land 2022, 11, 2287. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11122287

    European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), IT-21027 Ispra, Italy

    This study addressed a critical resource—soil—through the prism of processing big data at the continental scale. Rapid progress in technology and remote sensing has majorly improved data processing on extensive spatial and temporal scales. Here, the manuscript presents the results of a systematic effort to geo-process and analyze soil-relevant data. In addition, the main highlights include the difficulties associated with using data infrastructures, managing big geospatial data, decentralizing operations through remote access, mass processing, and automating the data-processing workflow using advanced programming languages. Challenges to this study included the reproducibility of the results, their presentation in a communicative way, and the harmonization of complex heterogeneous data in space and time based on high standards of accuracy. Accuracy was especially important as the results needed to be identical at all spatial scales (from point counts to aggregated countrywide data). The geospatial modeling of soil requires analysis at multiple spatial scales, from the pixel level, through multiple territorial units (national or regional), and river catchments, to the global scale. Advanced mapping methods (e.g., zonal statistics, map algebra, choropleth maps, and proportional symbols) were used to convey comprehensive and substantial information that would be of use to policymakers. More specifically, a variety of cartographic practices were employed, including vector and raster visualization and hexagon grid maps at the global or European scale and in several cartographic projections. The information was rendered in both grid format and as aggregated statistics per polygon (zonal statistics), combined with diagrams and an advanced graphical interface. The uncertainty was estimated and the results were validated in order to present the outputs in the most robust way. The study was also interdisciplinary in nature, requiring large-scale datasets to be integrated from different scientific domains, such as soil science, geography, hydrology, chemistry, climate change, and agriculture.

  • European Soil Data Centre 2.0: Soil data and knowledge in support of the EU policies

    Panagos, P.a, Van Liedekerke, M.a, Borrelli, P.b, Köninger, J.a, Ballabio, C.a, Orgiazzi, A.a, Lugato, E.a, Liakos, L.a, Hervas, J.a, Jones, A.a, Montanarella, L.a, 2022. European Soil Data Centre 2.0: Soil data and knowledge in support of the EU policies. European J Soil Science. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejss.13315

    aEuropean Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
    bDepartment of Science, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy

    The European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC), hosted by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), is the focal point for soil data, support to policy making and awareness raising for the European Union (EU). Established in 2006 to provide harmonised soil-related information for the EU Member States, and ESDAC currently hosts 88 datasets, 6000 maps, six atlases, 500 scientific publications, and a copious amount of soil-related material. Through its data repository publishing activity, ESDAC has licensed over 50,000 datasets during the past 15 years; 8500 of them in 2021 alone. It has published 140 monthly newsletters and is followed by more than 12,000 subscribed users, which receive regular updates. This article addresses the use, usability, and usefulness of ESDAC. About 75% of the ESDAC users come from academia and the research community while the remaining 25% includes public administration (at EU, national, regional, and local level) and the private sector. In addition, we provide some insights of the datasets evaluation and how they have been developed. The general ESDAC vision is to provide evidence underlying EU soil-relevant policies and to facilitate the access to relevant data for research. ESDAC is an integral part of the recently established European Union Soil Observatory (EUSO), with a target to have an even stronger role in supporting EU and regional policies.


    • ESDAC is a central place from where to find European wide relevant soil data.
    • ESDAC is an integral part of the EU Soil Observatory in creating data and knowledge for policy support.
    • The ESDAC website shows a high volume of traffic; 10,000 of user licenses are granted per year.
    • ESDAC key success: open access data policy, documentation, operational helpdesk and regular updates
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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Leonidas Liakos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.