World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue

Welcome to WOSSAC

WOSSAC Case Studies

The WOSSAC Archive can be of enormous assistance for a range of applications and activities, from national and regional strategic land planning, to managing development and relief efforts, to the conduct of academic research. WOSSAC contains a huge wealth of unique reports, maps, manuscripts, photographs and albums covering scores of countries around the world over a period of many decades. The following examples give an idea of how the WOSSAC archive is being used to further development aid, relief work and research.

Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø

Mapping "Potential Natural Vegetation" (PNV)

Jens-Peter notes that:

"Forest and Landscape, Denmark are in the process of mapping "Potential Natural Vegetation" (PNV) in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia. Our interest is in identifying maps that describe floristic vegetation types (like Colin Trapnell's maps of South West Kenya). We have already collated large numbers of maps, but the WOSSAC website can clearly provide access to still more.

We hope to be able to expand the mapping to more countries in Africa. We will therefore visit the WOSSAC website regularly in the hope that more of the material will be made available for download"

Cara Flowers

Working on Water Management in Uganda

"The WOSSAC collection at Cranfield University has been an invaluable resource during my research on water management in South Western Uganda. I have been able to access both topographical maps of the area I was studying, as well as soil maps which were difficult to obtain in Uganda. As South Western Uganda is a little-studied region the maps at WOSSAC were a vital resource enabling me to gain an in-depth knowledge of the terrain which would have been impossible without them. The staff and researchers at WOSSAC were extremely helpful and I will undoubtedly consult the WOSSAC collection during any future research projects."

Austin Hutcheon

Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Support Project (ADB), Desalinisation & Soil Improvement, Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia

Austin used WOSSAC on Tsunami relief work in Banda Aceh Oct - Dec 2005. He noted:

"I was awarded the position of Soil Salinity and Improvement specialist on the ADB Earthquake and Tsunami Emergency Support Project in Banda Aceh with the brief of assessing the salinity situation post-tsunami and coming up with remedial strategies to help get agriculture back on stream. What was evident from the start was that, since the Aceh area had been closed to the outside world for about 20 years due to the rebel activity, there was a serious lack of available historic material to use as background.

The frustrating thing was that I knew that there was a wealth of data somewhere but locally no-one knew anything about, or would admit to knowing about, previous studies. A basic search on Wossac revealed that a very large base of material did exist and it was then a case of working out just what might prove useful. Anyway, with the help of the WOSSAC team at Cranfield I was able to narrow down the search a good deal and managed to extract some critical summary information from the Aceh Design Unit documents which fully supported my own suspicions and deductions, adding to my assumptions made using what little new data that did exist together with a few quick field trips.

What I needed was confirmation that "there was a known risk of drainage problems" and that the dreaded "aluminium / acidity problem" existed. Wossac was able to supply this confirmation and that made my negotiations with and persuasion of the local experts that much simpler and eventually I got people believing me that there was a chronic, low level salinity problem which would not go away because the drainage systems were all blocked or non-functioning. The danger of acidification as the soils were dried out was also then built in to the expected outputs that I had to make."

Karl Blattmann, a Masters Degree student at the Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus, Germany

Examinination of the Jordanian 'JOSCIS' DBMS and GIS as part of his thesis

Karl notes that:

"A critical part of my Master's thesis research involved the collection of original National Soil Map and Land Use Project documentation on-site in Jordan. This documentation was necessary for an in-depth understanding of the project, and therefore for the success of my thesis and the recovery of the project data.

Having found this documentation listed on the WOSSAC website, I made a request to the organisation for access to the documents. The assistance of WOSSAC in helping me to acquire official and legal access to the documents in digital form was invaluable.

It is clear to me that the services provided by WOSSAC have the potential to secure extremely costly data from loss, and thereby to ensure that the intended benefits of soil studies are realised. This is especially the case for studies in less developed countries where the data storage infrastructure and data maintenance may be unsuited for the long term storing of large quantities of data.

These services are extremely important for academics, researchers, development organisation, and ultimately for those people living in studied areas. WOSSAC therefore offers a excellent example or model for data security and sharing and is clearly the most important Internet resources for soil survey data."