Soils Data Integration Challenges throughout the Research Data Lifecycle

The use of soils data within the Earth sciences often requires the researcher to harmonize and reconcile data from multiple sources. This process can take up to 80% of a researcher’s time (OGC, 2016). Multiple groups are discussing standards for data collection, archival, and metadata to increase the ease-of-use and portability of data. These groups include (1) the International Union of Soil Sciences Working Group on Soil Information Standards, which has conducted an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Soil Data Interoperability Experiment (OGC, 2016); (2) the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Global Soil Partnership, which has developed the “Five Pillars of Action” -- three of which relate directly to the research data lifecycle (UNFAO, 2018); (3) the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which has co-convened a Data Science in Agriculture Summit (NIFA, 2017); and (4) the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which recently released a technical note on common protocols to improve data quality and facilitate data sharing (NRCS, 2018).

In this session, we will hear from speakers in the Earth sciences community who are utilizing soils data in their research. We will focus on integration challenges they've had using these data through the research data lifecycle, from data creation to archival in a repository for re-use. The session will also provide perspectives on how these problems were (or may be) addressed and the effect these problems -- and solutions -- have on data analysis and the re-use of data. We will have presentations from researchers conducting both primary and secondary research, with the goal of highlighting solutions and next steps for the use and curation of soils data in the Earth sciences. By the end of the session, we aim to have identified the major challenges in using and re-using soils data, particularly as they relate to the use of soils standards.

Speakers
1) Ben Bond-Lamberty, “The global soil respiration database: goals, impacts, lessons.”
2) David Klinges, “A network for coastal carbon research: soil data archival as a community resource and to reduce uncertainties in modeling and mapping.”
3) Greg Wilson, “Agricultural Collaborative Research Outcomes System (AgCROS)”

This session and these presentations took place at the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Winter Meeting in January 2019.