Land Information System

Welcome to the LandIS Soil Portal

LandIS data applications

National Soil Reference Centre

Assisting the formulation of soils policy

First commenced in the 1970's, Cranfield University's “Land Information System” (LandIS) has provided the basis and respository for holding the digital representation of the soils information collected for England and Wales over the past 60 or more years. NSRI is recognised by Defra as the National Reference Centre for Soils, and applies the information and knowledge encapsulated in LandIS to address the broad range of application areas outlined on this website.

The concept of National Reference Centres stem from the European Environment Agency (EEA). When the EEA was set up, its primary role was the collation of information and evidence on the environment of Europe in support of policy. This was undertaken through the establishment of Member State and thematic networks of data suppliers. A Focal Point was identified in each Member State. In England and Wales this is the UK Ministry Defra, the Focal Points being connected to Defra's Environmental Statistics group. Each of the Member State Focal Points then identified thematic National Reference Centres for each of the relevant core areas. The National Reference Centres are not mentioned specifically in regulations, but are defined as a special set of “main component elements”, or rather those national institutions being regular collectors and suppliers of environmental data, and having relevant knowledge regarding environmental science, monitoring or modelling.

NSRI was recognised as the National Reference Centre for Soil, receiving acceptance of this role from Defra and its predecessors. NSRI have attended meetings of the Environmental Statistics Advisory Group within Defra and have been a voice for more national monitoring of soil qualities. NSRI is further listed on the EEA website as the UK National Reference Centre for Soil.

Today, European policy support activities regarding soil are driven by the JRC Soil Action team working within the Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit in the Joint Research Centre of the EU in Ispra, Italy. A key responsibility of the Soil Action is the joint coordination, with the EEA, of the European Environment and Observation Network (EIONET). The EIONET comprises European Topic Centres (ETC) on a range of environmental themes. NSRI is also a listed member of the European Topic Centre on Soil, “ETC/S”, and NSRI staff have attended EIONET meetings representing Defra as the UK National Focal Point.

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