Nottingham Geospatial Institute


Recent research project: eSoTer


Information on land and soil characteristics is required by a wide range of applications (agriculture, environment, watershed management, infrastructure etc) but the available data are often inaccessible, incomplete, or out of date. The Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) plans a global Earth Observation System and, within this framework, the EU funded European FP7 eSoTer project addresses the felt need for a global soil and terrain database.

As the European contribution to a Global Soil Observing System, eSoTer will deliver a web-based regional pilot platform with data, methodology and applications, using remote sensing to validate, augment and extend existing data. Advances beyond the state of the art include:

  • The transformation of pre-existing data and the addition of new information with remote sensing and Digital Elevation Models (DEM).
  • Interpretations of the eSoTer database that address threats defined in the EU Soil Thematic Strategy and comparisons of the results with current assessments .
  • Delivery through a web service data portal.

NGI's (formerly CGS) research role will be to focus on the development of the eSoTer dissemination platform, which is based on INSPIRE principles. Research will focus on the analysis of data specification and preparing the SoTerML (an XML schema closely linked with GeoSciML) alongside soil geoscientists specialists/GIS-database and web service users/developers. This will entail:

  • Preparation of the SoTerML, including the creation of a data dictionary for nomenclatures and various data sources (data and metadata).
  • Development of exchange format/procedures from the World Reference Base 2006.
  • Development of a SoTerML as an extension of GeoSciML, for the SOTER model compliant with ISO/TC190/SC 1N140 'Recording and Exchange of Soil-Related Data'.

Project partners

  • International Soil Reference and Information Centre.
  • University of Miskolc.
  • Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.
  • European Commission, Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit.
  • National Soil Resources Institute, Cranfield University.
  • Alterra BV.
  • Szent Iztvan University.
  • Scilands GmbH.
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique.
  • Czech University of Life Sciences.
  • Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Maroc.
  • Laboratory for Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing, Wageningen University.

Project runs: September 2009-August 2010

Project website: 

SoTerML: soil an Terrain Markup Language; Pourabdollah, A., Leibovici, D.G., and Jackson, M. (Poster to be submitted to EGU conference 2011). 

Towards a standard for soil and terrain data exchange: SoTerML; Pourabdollah, A., Leibovici, D. G., and Jackson, M.  Submitted to Computers and Geosciences, 2010.

Project contactDidier Leibovici

Nottingham Geospatial Institute

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