Soil Ontologies and Informatics

From Federation of Earth Science Information Partners

The mission of the Soil Ontology and Informatics Cluster is to connect the soils research community and those whose research incorporates soils data to informatics tools for better research. We recognize that there are numerous international efforts ongoing to harmonize soil data collection and taxonomy, and we strive to support these efforts by streamlining communication within the community, providing use cases for standards, and providing a test bed for proposed tools. While developing new ontology and informatics tools is one possible outcome, where possible we will contribute to existing efforts. We remain committed to serving the international soils community.

We will do this by 1) promoting research exchange between the informatics and soil science community, 2) creating how-to resources and tools for soil data harmonization, and 3) targeted development of semantic resources such as ontologies and other informatics tools for soil science.


  • 18 November 2020 - 2300 UTC
    • Presenter: Megan Wong (CeRDI - Fed Univ Australia)
    • CeRDI soil vocabulary efforts, updates and lesson's learned
  • November 3, 2020 - Approved for ESIP Cluster!



  • 2 December 2020 - 2300 UTC
    • Discussion lead: Mark Schildhauer (NCEAS) and David Smith (USDA-NRCS)
    • Review bulk density methods and what folks look for in search terms when using datasets/databases
    • Look for commonalities and think about how to describe in an ontology
  • 16 December 2020 - 1700 UTC
    • Presentation: Central Concepts and Unifying Themes within the USDA-NRCS / National Cooperative Soil Survey databases
    • Presenters: Andrew G Brown (USDA-NRCS) and Dylan Beadette (USDA-NRCS)

Get Involved


  • Meeting Notes: [2]
  • Cluster Proposal: [3]
  • Living purpose document: [4]

  • Chair:
    • Kathe Todd-Brown (University of Florida)
  • Co-Chairs:
    • Tanja Williamson (USGS)
    • Brandon Whitehead (Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research)
    • Dylan Beaudette (NRCS-USDA)