New R package for soil and landscape grids

By on 27 March, 2019

TERN has released a new data product package for the statistical programming language R, for their soil and landscape grid of Australia.

The ‘slga’ R package gives users access to subsets of raster data from the grid, which contains modelled soil attributes, landscape and soil data at a finer resolution than has been previously available.

The package also gives access to terrain and climate variables modelled from Geoscience Australia’s digital elevation model products.

Soil scientist and developer of the slga package Lauren O’Brien said that the ease of use facilitated by this release was made possible by the best practices employed by the developers of the grid in creating geospatial web services that made all of the data web accessible.

“Web services are commonly used in viewers like the National Map or standalone GIS software and are really powerful and flexible, at the cost of being quite complicated and hard to query directly. slga wraps over the top of those services and makes them easy to work with in R,” she said.

O’Brien said that the soil data services in the grid are a compilation of best-available soils data in Australia that can be can be combined with other maps and data products to support decision making and natural resource management.

“For instance, using the grid and the slga R package I can combine data on slope and soil texture and depth to try and figure out if an area of land would be a good place to grow a particular crop, or I could do a similar calculation to find out if that land would be suitable habitat for a particular organism,” she said.

“And, because the datasets also match up with international standards it’s easy to combine them with similar data from overseas and conduct cross-continental analyses.”

The slga R package is available now via GitHub and the soil and landscape grid is available here.

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