SQAPP: the soil quality app
Setting a new standard in soil quality assessment - iSQAPER has built an app for mobile devices to use anywhere in the world, providing location-specific soil quality information and sustainable land use management options.
A multi-actor approach underpins the development of SQAPP - the app has been developed, tested, evaluated and improved by farmers, scientists, practitioners, agricultural service providers and policy makers.
SQAPP was originally written in English.
We are working to provide it in these languages too:
Chinese, Estonian, French, German,
Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Nederlands,
Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish
Having identified a gap in the functionality of existing soil apps (none explicitly considers soil threats and management advice on how to mitigate them), stakeholders in all the iSQAPER study sites were surveyed to ascertain their soil quality data and information needs. During its development, SQAPP went through a number of evaluations and reviews by different user groups, whose queries and suggestions were responded to and included in the next round of revisions. [D4.2 section 2]
The principal steps required to build SQAPP included: selecting soil quality indicators; defining pedo-climatic zones; ranging, scoring and assessing the soil quality indicators; identifying agricultural management practices to recommend for addressing under performing soil properties and most important threats. [D4.2 Section 3]
The architecture of SQAPP is revealed in the sequence of screens the user sees: profile, field characteristics, soil properties and threats, summary and recommendations. [D4.2 Section 4]
SQAPP enables users to access information from otherwise fragmented global data sets and information sources. If necessary, users can improve accuracy by entering their own local data. Here we list the details of the data input (maps, matrices, user input) and data output for SQAPP. [D4.2 Section 5]
SQAPP: the soil quality app can be used by anyone to find information about the quality of soil beneath their feet (or anywhere else in the world), the main threats it faces, the potential for its improvement and recommended agricultural management practices to adopt. However, it was designed with four core types of users in mind (farmers and land users, advisors and technicians, students and researchers, policy makers) and it is to them that this section of iSQAPERiS is addressed. [D4.2 Section 6]
According to the soil quality score and most urgent local threats, SQAPP draws on a world-wide database to make recommendations for agricultural management practices that have been used to improve soil quality in similar situations. The 89 practices included in the database are classified broadly into types of terrain, soil, vegetation, water, carbon and nutrient, pest, pollutant and grazing management. Over 390 examples of the use of these practices is provided.
SQAPP has been through a number of rounds of evaluation by different groups of users stakeholders during its development. These include: a field evaluation of SQAPP performance; a formal evaluation of the beta version by some 90 European stakeholders (researchers, farmers, students, advisory services and policy makers) in locations in Slovenia, Poland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, France, Estonia, Romania and Netherlands; evaluation following a workshop presentation by participants in the Wageningen Soil Conference; a peer-review by iSQAPER partners; an evaluation by some 220 participants in the 11 study site Demonstration Events. [D5.1, D6.4 and others]
During its development SQAPP has been demonstrated to and discussed by many different groups of farmers, advisors, policy makers and researchers and students. The feedback they have given have helped shape and organise the app. Here we provide answers to some of the questions that people most commonly ask about SQAPP that cannot be provided on the app itself.