About S-map and S-map Online
S-map is a new digital soil spatial information system for New Zealand. It is being created as part of the government-funded Spatial Information programme run by Landcare Research. S-map Online is the web delivery service for S-map and has been developed and is operated by Landcare's Informatics team.
When complete across New Zealand, S-map will for the first time provide consistent and comprehensive national soil data layers to support applications at local, and regional to national scales. It builds on previous soil mapping by filling gaps with new mapping, and upgrading the information content and associated database to meet a new national standard. In time, S-map will have national coverage and contain predominantly new digital data at a scale that resolves soil variation on hill slopes (nominally 1:50 000 scale).
All outputs will have to meet specific S-map standards, which specify the soil attributes that are to be mapped and their level of description, including a measure of uncertainty. The primary map layer is soil classes, i.e. delineated areas that are labelled with the soil family name. Each soil family is defined as a unique combination of attributes (NZSC classification, parent material, rock type, dominant texture and permeability class). Soil classes are further characterised as siblings according to their depth to rock class, stoniness, land type, drainage, texture (more detailed), functional horizons and miscellaneous variant information. The uncertainty of each of these family and sibling attribute classes is specified.
Associated with the soil class layer will be additional map layers of fundamental and derived soil properties. The fundamental soil properties are depth (diggability), depth to slowly permeable layer, rooting depth, rooting barrier, horizon thickness, stoniness, clay and sand content. They are developed from sample information and expert knowledge. The derived soil layers are each based on a model (or pedo-transfer function). Some models are simple lookup tables that depend only on the soil class. Others combine various soil, land use, vegetation, climate or topographic attributes in a mathematical formula. Derived layers will include available water (mm), macroporosity, water retention, bulk density, total carbon, total nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, cation exchange capacity, pH, and phosphorus retention.
You can find out more about S-map in the following paper:
and on the S-map project site at http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/databases/smap.asp
Principal funding is by Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI; formerly the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology) contract to the Spatial Information programme.
Within this programme, S-map is being integrated with the related National Soils Database (a database of soil profile analyses) and other spatial datasets including the NZ Land Resource Inventory and the Fundamental Soil Data Layers (FSL).
MSI funding alone will not be sufficient to provide the needed national coverage in reasonable time. For this reason cooperative arrangements are being sought with other agencies to advance the work programme.
Groups with a particular interest in new soil data include:
- Territorial authorities for policy development, monitoring programmes and consent rules
- Rural servicing agencies and farm managers – to provide information for management, planning, and standards certification
- Science research programmes in which soil data underpin modelling and scaling up of research results, e.g., development of hydrological models in NIWA
- Users of LENZ – to improve the underpinning data in areas where data support is poor, and to provide a sound basis for future revision.
The work is divided into two major land areas:
- Lowlands, dominantly flat to rolling land. Landforms are of such low relief that digital elevation models (based on current 20-m contour data) cannot be used for soil modelling. Soil mapping uses conventional methods, based on air-photo interpretation and free-survey techniques.
- Uplands, dominantly hill and mountain terrain. Relief allows application of soil–landscape modelling based on digital elevation models and other spatial information. The actual modelling used will depend on the land system and the sampling cost and availability of data. The predominant technique will be to derive soil distribution rules from available data, literature and new sampling, and to apply these to modelled landform land-elements.
S-map is currently being extended in the following areas:
- Environment Waikato territorial area
- Environment Canterbury territorial area
- Soft-rock hill country in the central North Island
- Small windows in Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Golden Bay, West Coast
The initial work plan was based on developing the S-map infrastructure, and trialling mapping and soil classification in a range of contrasting landscapes and soils. The areas that are presently available in S-map Online are the test areas used to develop the S-map concepts, and areas that have been funded directly by participating regional councils. Further areas are being added according to stakeholder needs.
S-map online is built on a software platform made up of open source components including PostGIS, MapServer, Geo Tools and mod-geocache. Visit the OS Geospatial Foundation for more information about open-source geospatial software.
February 2013 changes
- Minor changes made to the user interface.
- Moved whole service to a more stable production infrastructure.
- Minimum scale at which Smap boundaries can be viewed changed from 1:100,000 to 1:250,000.
- Soil information pop up window now re-sizable.
- Transparency slider does not work correctly in older versions on Internet Explorer. This is a function of how older versions of Internet Explorer handle images. Solution: Upgrade to IE 8/9, or better still install a browser like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Last updated: 31 Jan 2013