Specialized scientists and the MapBiomas Network have created a working group to map information about Brazilian soil 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. According to the group, this hampers and prevents the reuse of data and its practical applications.

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

The working group, referred to as the Soil GT within MapBiomas, currently consists of researchers from the MapBiomas Network, the Federal University of Technology - Paraná (UTFPR, http://www.utfpr.edu.br/), and the University of São Paulo (USP, http://www.en.esalq.usp.br/), as well as other Brazilian public universities.

Among the objectives of the group are to retrieve soil data and samples to improve the spatial and temporal coverage of open soil data in Brazil, as well as to promote the development of soil property maps in the country.

"Agricultors, technicians, and researchers have already produced a lot of data on Brazilian soil. With this open data, we can reconstruct the history of our soil and understand the effects of its use since the mid-20th century," concludes Professor Alessandro Samuel Rosa from the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR), who is part of the Soil Working Group.

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

The MapBiomas

MapBiomas is a multi-institutional initiative involving a collaborative network composed of universities, NGOs, and technology companies dedicated to mapping land cover and land use changes in the Brazilian territory. All data and methods produced by MapBiomas are made openly and freely available to the public. To learn more, visit: http://mapbiomas.org.