The Soil Data Working Group will promote the sharing of soil-related data through web services. It will advocate for targeted open soil data, building on defined use cases by GODAN stakeholders and members. The working group will closely interact with other initiatives related to the development of open soil standards promoting the exchange of digital soil data (OGC, ISO), and support and utilize these. Activities will build on, support, provide and use components of the global soil information system under the Global Soil Partnership (GSP).

The working group will seek to advocate for open soil data. Such data, available for a broad user community, designed for specific needs, will strengthen the capacity for innovative soil and interdisciplinary, agricultural research, around the globe. 

This working group has the vision to become the key driver for building a soil e-infrastructure looking at various aspects of the soil data life cycle. 

Related GODAN ‘Pillars’ (from Statement of Purpose)

  • Pillar 1 - advocate for new and existing open data initiatives to set a core focus on agriculture and nutrition data;

  • Pillar 2 - encourage the agreement on and release of a common set of agricultural and nutrition data;

Related GSP ‘Pillars’ 

  • Pillar 3 - Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps and priorities and synergies with related productive, environmental and social development actions

  • Pillar 4 - Enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information: data collection (generation), analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring and integration with other disciplines

  • Pillar 5 - Harmonization of methods, measurements and indicators for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources

At the RDA-Interest Group on Agriculture Data meeting in Barcelona April 2018 the working group was launched.  



The future global soil information system, as designed by the Global Soil Partnership, will be building on the principle of a distributed system: soil data will be shared via web services (WMS, WFS, WCS) using ISO/OGC standards. Such standards are also accepted core elements of the architectural principles for building a global earth observation system of the systems (GEOSS). 

Technically, a global standard for web based soil data exchange is in development (revision of ISO 28258 SoilML). This development is supplemented by a recent OGC interoperability exercise. These activities provide precise insight into the needs to development a globally accepted exchange standards (see also GSP Pillar 5 Plan of Action ). This GODAN working group will ensure that a significant stakeholder group will be involved in the current process (GSP, ISO, OGC), so that a truly global exchange standard can be developed and agreed. 

The GODAN working group members will develop use cases based on their specific needs for soil data, but also experiences in providing targeted soil information. The WG could become a significant driver to agree on a model including user friendly transformation services. Such services would allow a broad user community to provide and utilize open, shared soil data. 


Websites and communities

The GODAN Soil WG page is now updated with current initiatives and some more background information including the aim and focus of this WG.  If you have contributions to the GODAN WG page please send us an email so we can put it on the website.

Please have a look at the website, the lists, the overview of initiatives, attached presentation of the last OGC TC and send us your comments. In the future we would also like to list projects in which partners work on this topic. And of course we encourage all work that is (being) done by organisations and experts, together or alone. We aim to provide a platform that facilitates information and communication on this. 

On the webpage we are now listing the current groups (chairs):

-      the GODAN Soil WG, (Fenny van Egmond, Ben Schaap as GODAN Secretariat WG facilitator)

-      GSP pillar 5, (Rainer Baritz)

-      the IUSS SIS WG, (Peter Wilson)

-      the OGC Ag domain WG, (this is partly the group that has done the OGC SoilML Interoperability Experiment) (Joshua Lieberman, active members on soil: David Medyckyj-Scott, Peter Wilson)

-      the group revising ISO 28258, (Einar Eberhardt, Rainer Baritz)

-      IGAD-RDA community. (Imma Subirats, active member: Ben Schaap)

Furthermore, related initiatives who want to cooperate and/or do complementary work are:

-      the GSP Soil Data Facility hosted by ISRIC

-      the Open Soil Science community that started after the Open Land Data workshop in July 2017. Nellie Hobley and all published an interesting and accessible paper on this.

If you have updates on this, please let us know!


Past conferences

The list of conferences where the soil data interoperability work and this WG has been presented last year is:

-      OGC TC, March 2017, Delft, the Netherlands

-      IGAD-RDA, April 2017, Barcelona, Spain (launch of the WG)

-      Global Soil Week, June 2017, Berlin, Germany

-      Open Land Data workshop July 2017, Wageningen, the Netherlands

-      Pedometrics, June 2017, Wageningen, the Netherlands

-      Wageningen Soil Conference, August 2017, Wageningen, the Netherlands

-      Linked Open Data Workshop, September 2017, Berlin, Germany

-      OGC TC, December 2017, Palmerston North, New Zealand


Key Resources


Success criteria

  • Identified open data soil data sets 

  • Web-based exchange of digital soil data is operational 

  • Positive feedback and added value reported by GODAN stakeholders



  • Stakeholder requirements report: includes the definition of GODAN use cases

  • List of open data soil data sets 

  • Operational soil information model finalized

  • Test bed established: transformation of local data, data sharing using SoilML (WMS and WFS for key data sets)

  • Stakeholder feedback report


Membership & relationships

Anyone is welcome to join GODAN and become active in GODAN Working Groups.

All GSP Pillar 3, 4 and 5 partners are eligible to be members.

This group reports to the GODAN Partnership and GSP through its appropriate mechanisms.