Dr. Asim Biswas, an associate professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, is among the team of scientists that have developed the first national-scale digital soil map in India. The digitally accessible resource provides information on the pH, texture and amount of organic carbon in the soils of India, which could help farmers use soil optimally and sustainably.
The scientists prepared the digital soil map by combining field-collected and legacy soil data from various sources, complex mathematical and statistical models and available information including topography, climate, geology and satellite images. The team also used an R code (a language for statistical computing and graphics) modified and customized by Dr. Biswas to develop the digital soil map.
‘While the information on soil resources is critical to maintain and improve agricultural production to feed the second largest populated country of the world, resources and investment in collecting that information over the vast geographic region have been minimal. The maps developed using new digital soil mapping technology at the national scale will provide critical information on decision making and policy development,” said Dr. Biswas.
Dr. Biswas is also working on a Food from Thought-funded project to develop soil sensing and digital soil mapping technology. The research will contribute to developing precision agriculture technologies that provide efficient management tools to improve soil health, increase crop yield and reduce costs while ensuring economic and environmental sustainability for Canada’s agri-food sector.