What is SQAPP?
Good soil quality is of fundamental importance to local and global food production and to ecosystem resilience. Agricultural soils world-wide are subject to threats and pressures including increasing demand for food and biofuels, climate change impacts, land degradation and associated productivity decline.
To manage agricultural soils well, decision-makers need science-based, easy to apply and cost-effective tools to assess soil quality and function. Reliable knowledge and data help land users assess the quality and make well-informed decisions about the use of their soils.
In response to this issue, the Horizon 2020 EU-funded project iSQAPER has created SQAPP, an innovative soil quality app for mobile devices developed, tested, evaluated and improved by farmers, agricultural service providers, scientists, and policy makers.
- Gives users free global access to soil maps and contextual soil quality information (showing how their soil scores relative to others of the same type in similar climatic conditions).
- Assesses the most probable threats to soil quality with explicit links between soil quality status and agricultural management.
- Provides targeted advice on how to improve soil quality status with different agricultural management practices.
- Has the capacity for users to interact with the databases, uploading local data to refine the soil quality analysis and recommendations.
Why should students and researchers use SQAPP?
SQAPP is a valuable source of data and information for students and researchers. Firstly, SQAPP gives you access to global soil data and relative soil quality information, making it a convenient first-stop data source. Secondly it provides information about the principal soil threats at a location or study site of interest. Thirdly, it makes an explicit link between hundreds of examples of agricultural management practices (AMPs) and the effects they can have on improving soil quality in different conditions.
Should you become a registered user?
It is not necessary for students and researchers to become registered user to use SQAPP, however we recommend that you do (registration is free) if you want access to AMP recommendations, to store soil quality information from a number of points (e.g. for sampling during field work), or to enter your own data from repeated sampling at the same point to verify resultant changes in soil quality or recommended AMPs.
How can you use the data SQAPP provides?
You can use SQAPP as an exploratory tool, comparing different sites in an area to get an overview of the variability of soil conditions or about potential soil quality scores. The distribution of soil parameter values for a particular study site and their positions relative to other sites with similar land use and pedo-climatic conditions can be insightful information. You can use SQAPP to gather proxy soil data as a first indication of local conditions in a study site. However, if no other local data is available, it is helpful to complement and cross-check SQAPP’s estimates with visual soil assessment methods. With caution, and for soil parameters with high or reasonable confidence, you can use SQAPP as a primary data source for non-critical applications. You can use SQAPP as a data collection tool while doing research with farmers and land users, either recording soil data or feedback from the farmers regarding the different AMP recommendations. Students can also learn directly from SQAPP (exploratory use), or by comparing SQAPP data with other data sources (e.g. to conduct an accuracy assessment on the analytical use of proxy data).
Where can you find more information?
The »SQAPP: the soil quality app section of this iSQAPERiS website contains a wealth of information on the design, architecture and data used in SQAPP, together with details of the involvement of stakeholders in its development. The section »Agricultural management practices recommended by SQAPP contains the full list of all the AMPs from which SQAPP makes its recommendations with links to websites where more details are provided for each example. This section also serves as a useful learning resource.
Help us evaluate SQAPP and the AMP recommendations
Students and researchers can play a key role in validating SQAPP by providing feedback on any usability and accuracy issues you encounter. This will be particularly useful to the development team as they work to improve the app, refining the data and data processing methods or developing new functionality and modules.
SQAPP was originally written in English.
We are working to provide it in these languages too:
Chinese, Estonian, French, German,
Contact us if you would like to help translating it into another language
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