Tutorial: Instructions to create a soil profile on SOILBOOK

1. Registration

Before you can create your own soil profiles, you have to register on the homepage of www.soilbook.info (to the registration). With the registration you get your own user profile, where your contributions are archived. Your personal data is subject to the Data Protection Act (EU 2016/679) and are not visible for other users. Only your (free selectable) user name and your approach to soil (e.g. farmer, consultant,...) are visible for non-registered users.

Mandatory fields: username, first name, last name, e-mail, country, approach to soil, password

2. Preparation of the soil profile

A soil profile is a vertical cut through the soil starting on the surface of the earth. Soil profiles can occur naturally (e.g. incision of a stream/river) or by human interaction (e.g. along streets, excavation pits, etc.). In most cases soil profiles are purposefully excavated. Therefore the excavation of a pit with a vertical wall down to the bedrock is reasonable.

Before you start the excavation make sure that no obstacles are in the way of the potential pit (e.g. subsurface electrical lines or water pipes). Keep a safety distance to traffic routes, houses and infrastructure buildings. The excavated material of topsoil and subsoil should be stored next to the pit without being mixed. That way you can fill the pit in layers later. The pit also should provide a save entry and exit point for humans as well as for animals that potentially could get trapped in the pit. If you don’t refill the pit directly after the documentation of the soil profile, ensure an appropriate marking of the excavation area to prevent accidents and injuries.

For the photo-documentation half of the profile wall (pit face) should be cleaned with the spade from the top to the bottom of the profile. The second half of the profile should be treated with a different tool (e.g. spatula, screwdriver, pitchfork, garden shovel, knife) to carve out roots, root canals, earthworm holes, etc. For size comparison a tape measure/measuring stick or a well visible object of utility (e.g. pen, hammer) is suitable.

Besides an image of the profile overview/the prepared profile wall, images showing details like earthworm holes, root canals, color gradients and other characteristic features of the profile can be uploaded (see below).

3. Creating and publishing of a soil profile

The process of the creation of a soil profile for www.soilbook.info can be divided into four sections:

a) Image upload:

As a first step a „preview image“ (= significant image of the profile) has to be uploaded for every soil profile. In the second step up to four „additional images“ can be uploaded (e.g. showing certain details or an overview). You can add a short description for every image (pencil-button). The images are linked with the user name of your user profile and the date of publication automatically. Except one image (which is required as preview image) the uploaded images can be deleted or exchanged.

Specifications of the images: portrait or landscape format, storage size max. 10 mb (otherwise the uploading time is increased), file type JPG, PNG. Please make sure that the personal rights of third parties are not violated (no license plates, no close-up images of uninvolved persons,…)! The SOILBOOK-team reserves the right to delete inappropriate content (see the general terms and conditions of use (TOC)).

b) Location of the soil profile:

The soil profile has to be located. The location can be provided in three different ways:

1. With GPS-data of the image. When an uploaded image is marked with the button, GPS-data is already existing. By clicking this button the coordinates are adapted automatically.

2. With GPS-data of the actual position. Therefor the location information service of your smart phone has to be activated.

3. With the map. You can locate your soil profile in the map by moving the map until the marker lies on the correct location. With the zooming tools on the top left (+/-) you can zoom in and out on the map. You can get a better orientation by entering a town name in the search field. Then the according map section is shown.

c) Characterization of the profile with „soil features“:

Information according different soil features is queried for every soil profile. Mandatory soil features have to be filled in, before the soil profile can be published. Optional soil features can be saved additionally.

  • Mandatory soil features (easily determinable in the field):
  • • Predominant color of the soil profile
  • • Current land use
  • • Current vegetation
  • • Smell of the topsoil
  • • Soil life (earthworms, roots, mushroom mycelium, other organisms)
  • Optional soil features/details:
  • • Bedrock/parent rock of the soil profile
  • • Soil type
  • • Texture of the topsoil
  • • Rock content in the topsoil
  • • Soil quality
  • • Climatic region
  • • Mean annual precipitation

d) Specification of the soil profile (optional):

In this section you can describe the soil profile with your own words.

4) Publishing

When you uploaded at least one image and all mandatory fields are filled in you can publish the soil profile („publish soil profile“). Before you publish your soil profile the profile data is stored in a buffer memory indefinitely and can be changed or finalized at any time. By clicking the button „DELETE“ the soil profile is discarded and the profile data in the buffer memory is deleted.

Why Soilbook?

Soils are the foundation of our existence and are – besides water, air, animals and plants – the most valuable and the most worthy of protection goods of mankind.

We want to create awareness for the variety but also for the endangered status of soils.

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