WOSSAC® Projects

Activities

An important aspect of WOSSAC is the range of projects and activities that are conducted focussed upon the holdings in the collection. Here we provide an overview of these projects.

Certain of these projects relate to improving and developing the means by which the archive holdings are referenced, accessed and inter-operated with other archives. Other projects relate to more fundamental research issues.

Research work to date in the WOSSAC archive has been centred around a strategy of 're-purposing' the enormous stocks of legacy information held. From a contemporary soil resources viewpoint this is likely to mean the preparation of materials for ultimate use within a computerised environmental information system. To achieve this, a work-flow progression has been followed as the illustration here shows.

The figure identifies how successive work-flow stages can build on the solid foundation of 'making items safe', towards the development of an integrated natural resource information management system. Having collated, scanned and collected legacy materials from WOSSAC pertaining to soil and the natural environment, work now continues to put in place materials to support contemporary information system development to hold and manipulate these and other data, compliant with emergent international standards for soil data specifications, metadata and data discovery, web services and reporting tools supporting a broad range of application thematic areas. Again, these tasks are contingent on supportive funding becoming available.

Workflow for managing archive holdings

Academic research

Research publications and books

The following papers mention WOSSAC:

Hallett, S.H., Sakrabani, R., Keay, C.A. and Hannam, J.A. (2017) Developments in land information systems: examples demonstrating land resource management capabilities and options. Soil Use and Management. Volume 33, Issue 4, December 2017, Pages 514–529 doi: 10.1111/sum.12380. Accessed at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sum.12380/full.

Hallett, S.H. (2017) Smart cities need smart farms. Environmental Scientist. 26, 1, 10-17. ISSN 09668411. Accessed at https://www.the-ies.org/resources/feeding-nine-billion.

Jones, A., Breuning-Madsen, H., Brossard, M., Dampha, A., Deckers, J., Dewitte, O., Gallali, T., Hallett, S.H., Jones, R., Kilasara, M., Le Roux, P., Micheli, E., Montanarella, L., Spaargaren, O., Thiombiano, L., Van Ranst, E., Yemefack, M. , Zougmoré R., (eds.), 2015, Atlas Des Sols D’Afrique. French language edition. European Commission, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. 176 pp.

DeWitte, O., Jones, A., Spaargaren, O., Breuning-Madsen, H., Brossard, M., Dampha, A., Deckers, J., Gallali, T., Hallett, S.H., Jones, R.J.A., Kilasara, M., Le Roux, P., Michéli, E., Montanarella, L., Thiombiano, L., Van Ranst, E., Yemefack, M. and Zougmore, R. (2013) Harmonisation of the soil map of Africa at the continental scale. Geoderma. Vol 211-212, Dec 2013, pp138-153. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2013.07.007.

Jones, A., Breuning-Madsen, H., Brossard, M., Dampha, A., Deckers, J., Dewitte, O., Gallali, T., Hallett, S.H., Jones, R., Kilasara, M., Le Roux, P., Micheli, E., Montanarella, L., Spaargaren, O., Thiombiano, L., Van Ranst, E., Yemefack, M. , Zougmoré R., (eds.), 2013, Soil Atlas of Africa. European Commission, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. 176 pp. Accessed at https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/soil-map-soil-atlas-africa.

Hallett, S.H., Baillie, I.C., Kerr, B. and Truckell, I.G. (2011) Development of the World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC) Commission on the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Soil Science, 18, pp14-17.

Hallett, S.H., Bullock, P. and Baillie, I. (2006) Towards a World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue, Soil Use and Management, 22 (2) 227-228. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-2743.2006.00030.x

MSc research projects

Apart from the uses of WOSSAC materials exemplified here, WOSSAC has also formed the subject of several Postgraduate research projects at Cranfield University. Links to relevant Masters degree theses are provided below:

Buhari, U. (2014) Sugar Cane Modelling Using GIS and Remote Sensing Techniques . MSc Thesis, Cranfield University, 2014.71pp.

Okude, A. S. (2013) Estimating cultivation area of Côte d’Ivoire based on the stratification of remote sensing imagery. MSc Thesis, Cranfield University, 2013.69pp.  Poster

Algasim, Mohammed. (2009) Development of a Spatial Data Validation Toolkit for Map Archive Catalogues

Owonibi, Michael. (2007) The Development of a Prototype Soils Archive Information System to Publish World Soil Data and Metadata (WOSSAC) Holdings, Using Proprietary and Open (Public) Standards

Alias, Guillermo. (2006) Investigation into the use of the Google Earth mapping platform for presenting a World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC)

Koyanagi, Yuki. (2005) Proposal for a new metadata schema for world soils survey archive and catalogue (WOSSAC)

Hunt, James. (2003) Design of the World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC).

Further research projects are planned for the future.

Inspecting an Andosol, Rabaul, PNG. Image credit I.Baillie

Scanning the WOSSAC collections

Systematic digital capture of materials

Holding the soil and environmental materials safely in the WOSSAC archive is only part of the overall aim and mission. A key theme of the archive and indeed a founding purpose of WOSSAC is to disseminate materials as widely as possible to relevant stakeholders and interested parties. This does of course have a cost associated with the task, but thanks to funding support, materials for two countries have recently been captured systematically; namely for both Sudan (sponsored by the UNEP) and Tanzania (sponsored by the EU). It is hoped that the collections of other territories can follow suite.

Sudan - JMRDP (Land use planning units)Holding the soil and environmental materials safely in the WOSSAC archive is only part of the overall aim and mission. A key theme of the archive and indeed a founding purpose of WOSSAC is to disseminate materials as widely as possible to relevant stakeholders and interested parties.

This does of course have a cost associated with the task, but thanks to funding support, materials for two countries have recently been captured systematically; namely for both Sudan (sponsored by the UNEP) and Tanzania (sponsored by the EU). It is hoped that the collections of other territories can follow suite.

Soil and Land Use Potential Maps of Tanzania

Following the completion of a project to scan the Sudanese holdings, the WOSSAC team were able to undertake a similar systematic scanning of materials held on Tanzania. These materials were captured as part of Cranfield's contribution to the AEGOS AfSIS project, on behalf of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC).

The scanning and digital capture of the material, comprised 215 maps and 180 reports. These materials are now made available on-line and can be accessed by the search mechanism.

3D modelling of soil samples

As well as the physical WOSSAC archive based at Cranfield University, WOSSAC has also started to investigate ways of recording and virtually distributing some of our soil samples via this website. Using extremely high precision 3D laser scanning hardware we are able to present a selection of our sample soil monoliths here for you to explore in three dimensions. A monolith is a sample of soil, taken from a soil profile pit, preserved in resin. These are often used as teaching aids - so scanning these to an electronic form brings this medium up to date.

Click the central play button on the windows below to start the 3D viewer for each soil sample. The sample will take a few seconds to load, you can then explore the sample in three dimensions using your left mouse button to rotate the model, your right mouse button to move the model around and your scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

Users of touch screen devices can drag one finger on the screen to rotate the model, drag two fingers on the screen to move the model and use pinch-gestures to zoom in and out.

3D scanner in action

Upton: Shallow well drained calcareous silty soils over chalk. Mainly on moderately steep, sometimes very steep land. Deeper fine silty calcareous soils in coombes and dry valleys.
Full details available in our online Soils Guide

Clifton: Slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged reddish fine and coarse loamy soils and similar soils with slight seasonal water-logging. Some deep coarse loamy soils seasonally affected by groundwater.
Full details are available in our online Soils Guide

Metadata standards

To document and catalogue the items in WOSSAC, various standards are adhered to, for consistency within the archive, and for interoperability with wider archiving initiatives. The catalogue metadata schema is based upon the internationally-recognised Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) standard MARC21. This system allows for documents and artifacts to be recorded using a series of structured metadata tags, optimized for storage and retrieval of documentary records. Spatial data within the archive is described using standards based upon the UK Gemini standard. Derived from the ISO19115 standard, this defines an element set for describing geo-spatial discovery-level metadata, consistent with the principles of the EU INSPIRE Directive, 2007/2/EC.

The specific metadata schema adopted is as follows:

Field Completion advice
Item ID Unique item identifier - UID
ISBN ISBN number [e.g. ISBN 0-905442-49-0] {MARC 020$a}
UDC class number UDC class number [e.g. 631.41:626.8] {MARC 084$a}
Collection Reference Collection reference [e.g. 604PE_INDUS] - the internal item reference of sub-collections held in WOSSAC {MARC 084$a}
Title Item Title {MARC 245$a}
Subtitle Item Subtitle {MARC 245$b}
Language Language(s) of item [e.g. En for English, Ar for Arabic etc.] {MARC 041$a}
Subjects Subject topics & keywords {MARC 650$a}
Series Title Series title {MARC 440$a}
Series Section No. Series part/section number {MARC 440$n}
Series Series Name Series part/section name {MARC 440$p}
Publication Year Publication created (full year only) [e.g. 1966] {MARC 260$c}
Publisher Name Publication publishers name [e.g. An Foras Taluntais] {MARC 260$b}
Publication Place Publication publishers place [e.g. Dublin] {MARC 260$a}
Project Sponsor Original project sponsor [e.g. UNDP] {MARC 710$a}
Corporate Author Series Corporate author series [e.g. An Foras Taluntais] {MARC 110$a}
Personal Author Personal author [e.g. Smith, D] {MARC 100$a}
Material Extent The number of pages, volumes etc., of the described item {MARC 300$a}
Material Characteristic Other physical characteristics such as illustrative matter {MARC 300$b}
Material Accompanying Accompanying material, may include a parenthetical physical description of the accompanying material {MARC 300$e}
Material Type Type of unit, terms such as page, volumes, boxes, cu. ft., linear ft., etc. that identify the configuration of the material and how it is stored {MARC 300$f}
Summary Abstract Abstract description summary {MARC 520$a}
Country Then Country name when surveyed [e.g. Ceylon] {MARC 534$n}
Country Now Contemporary country name [e.g. Sri Lanka] {MARC 043$a}
Region Contemporary region/province {MARC 052$b}
Major City Nearest major city (if on map) [e.g. Mogadishu] {MARC 052$d}
Northernmost Latitude Northernmost Latitude (decimal degrees) [e.g. 2] {MARC 034$f}
Southernmost Latitude Southernmost Latitude (decimal degrees) [e.g. 1.5] {MARC 034$g}
Easternmost Longitude Easternmost Longitude (decimal degrees) [e.g. 44.833] {MARC 034$e}
Westernmost Longitude Westernmost Longitude (decimal degrees) [e.g. 44.4156] {MARC 034$d}
Map Scale Map Scale (1:x) [e.g. 50000] {MARC 034$b}
PDF URL File-name of PDF scanned file [e.g. '0001.pdf'] {MARC 530$u}
Access Terms Comments on stated item access terms

Note that some of these elements are catalogue database fields not revealed on the website.

Another popular archive standard format is the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES). This is a very simple descriptive metadata schema, designed to support the discovery of resources from across a range of domains. It defines fifteen elements to support simple cross-domain resource discovery:

The mapping of the WOSSAC schema to DCMES in its simple/unqualified form is as follows:

DCMES Element WOSSAC Element Mapping
Title Title + Subtitle
Creator Corporate Author Series + Personal Author
Subject Subjects
Description Summary Abstract
Publisher Publisher name
Contributor Acquisition Source
Date Publication year
Type Material type
Format Material extent
Identifier ISBN
Source http://www.wossac.com
Language Language
Relation Item Id
Coverage Region + Major City + lat/lon
Rights Access terms

Note that some of these elements are catalogue database fields not revealed on the website. Others are shown in composite in the unqualified form.

Obari sand sea, Libya. Image credit A.Wheeler

Satellite imagery

Within the WOSSAC Archive is an enormous collection of over 10,000 open reel satellite tapes holding data stretching back to the early days of planetary imaging. These datasets are being processed and copied onto the Cranfield file-servers in modern image processing format such that they can be made available, respecting Copyright, to researchers and other interested parties along with other WOSSAC materials. Our intention is to develop a searchable catalogue of this imagery here online.

The satellite data held in WOSSAC originates from a number of sources. The data would have often been used to create other thematic datasets and soil property interpretations. In turn, the WOSSAC materials can also play a role as ground truthing resources for contemporary imaging, as well as the basis for longitudinal environmental studies.

Here is a taster of the data we hold, click each image below to see more detail.

Satellite Tape Store