Visualising Australasia’s Soils (VAS) – a research initiative from the Soil CRC – will provide a virtual window into the rich diversity of soils across Australia and New Zealand.

More than a data repository, this online platform will serve as a dynamic space fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among farmers, agronomy practitioners, researchers, and agribusinesses.

At its core, VAS is a community-driven resource aiming to support agriculture by offering a comprehensive hub of place-based information on Australasian soils.

Accessible through the VAS web portal, the project aggregates a mosaic of soil-related datasets and insights sourced from various government bodies, organisations, industry groups, and individual contributors.

The VAS project, led by Associate Prof Peter Dahlhaus and his team at the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI, Federation University in Ballarat), applies cutting-edge technologies to unify disparate data sources.

Dr Dahlhaus believes this is a pivotal step in propelling agricultural data towards being Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR).

“A key feature on the project ensures data ownership for custodians,” Dr Dahlhaus said.

“We are also establishing governance models to make sure data sharing is seamless and controlled under our FAIR model.”

Crucially, ongoing research will gauge the portal’s impact, assessing its influence on decision-making processes and practice changes among users and project partners. These insights will lay the groundwork for future enhancements and the evolution of the soil data federation.

By fostering collaboration, enabling data accessibility, and championing innovation, VAS is not just confined to being an information repository; rather, it strives to be an indispensable tool for informed decision-making in the agricultural landscape.

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