National Soil and Landscape Grid launched!

Comprehensive nation-wide information about important soil and landscape attributes is now available via TERN’s Soil and Landscape Grid launched in Melbourne today. The Grid has huge potential to inform planning and decision-making across Australia's production landscapes.

TERN’s Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia team has recently been partnering on soil infrastructure projects with some of our near neighbours, including Indonesia, New Zealand and a number of Pacific nations.

Australia’s coastal catchments are management battlegrounds. Two very different kinds of TERN infrastructure are helping stakeholders ensure that river-mouth water quality targets are met in some of the most topical and contested catchments in the country: those flowing into the lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef.

Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia


Essential infrastructure: the right soil and landscape information in the right form




Australia’s soil resources are vital for healthy ecosystems, food production and the economy.

Soil provides the physical base to support plant growth and the cycling of biological resources; it is the source of nutrients and water for agriculture and forestry systems; it supports habitat vital for teeming biodiversity; and it fulfils a complex buffering role against environmental variability. Not all soils are equal, and they vary substantially in their capacity to perform a vast range of ecosystem services.

In the past, Australia's soil information resources did not enable easy access to the rich and diverse data available in different organisations. So, improvements were needed in the integration and delivery of Australian soils information to underpin land management decisions.

To address this challenge TERN has delivered the Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia, which provides easy access to nationally-consistent and comprehensive soil and landscape attribute data at a finer resolution than ever before in Australia. The Grid is an essential piece of national information infrastructure, required to support informed use and management of our soil and landscapes. The Grid delivers a step-change in the way we can view and access the best available information about Australian soils and landscapes for a wide range of applications and users including urban and regional planners, land managers, farming groups, scientists and engineers.

The Soil and Landscape Grid makes the most of significant past investments in soils information by drawing hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of historical data together with new data generated from sampling, laboratory sensing, modelling and remote sensing. It is the result of a significant national collaborative effort bringing together researchers from the CSIRO, the University of Sydney, Geoscience Australia and federal, state and territory government agencies.


Data available

The Soil and Landscape Grid provides data on soil and landscape attributes with estimates of uncertainty. Data are provided at 90m pixels, and are available for six soil depths down to a maximum of 2 metres (0-5cm, 5-15cm, 15-30cm, 30-60cm, 60-100cm, 100-200cm). The data are consistent and comprehensive in easily accessible raster file formats that can be downloaded or viewed through an online portal. Attributes available are:

Soil attributes   Landscape attributes
  • Bulk Density
  • Organic Carbon
  • Clay
  • Silt
  • Sand
  • pH (water)
  • pH (CaCl2)
  • Available Water Capacity
  • Total Nitrogen
  • Total Phosphorus
  • Effective Cation Exchange Capacity
  • Depth of Regolith
  • Depth of Soil
  • Coarse Fragments
  • Slope (%)
  • Slope (%) Median 200m Radius
  • Slope Relief Classification
  • Aspect
  • Relief 1000m Radius
  • Relief 300m Raddius
  • Topographic Wetness Index
  • Topographic Position Index
  • Partial Contributing Area
  • Multi-resolution Valley Bottom Flatness (MrVBF)
  • Plan Curvature
  • Profile Curvature
  • Prescott Index
  • Solar Radiation (SRAD) Net Radiation January
  • SRAD Net Radiation July
  • SRAD Total Shortwave Sloping Surface January
  • SRAD Total Shortwave Sloping Surface July

Follow these links for more information on soil or landscape attributes.


The Grid is a dynamic product, that can be enhanced and updated as new techniques and data become available over the years. This will ensure that, throughout time, the grid remains a useful and relevant resource for Australian soil information. The Grid is also contributing to global understanding and management of soil and landscapes, through its connection into the Global Soil Map project, in particular the Oceania Node of the project.


Click here to download the Soil and Landscape Grid flyer


Facility Director:

Mike Grundy
CSIRO Land and Water
P: +61-(0)7 3833 5633


More Links

  • TERN's Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia is in the thick of land evaluation activities that will map the suitability of northern Australian landscapes for agriculture. The new landscape information tools they’re producing will inform policy makers and planners to help guide choices in investment for the future.
  • TERN’s Soil and Landscape Grid is delivering a flexible soil information framework which will provide the best available estimates of soil functions at a fine resolution across the country, and will help guide future data-collection efforts. Click here to read more.
  • People can now get data and information about the soil they are standing on, thanks to an app developed with the support of the Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia.
  • TERN's July 2012 eNewsletter describes how the Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia is combining historical data, with cutting-edge data and analysis to come up with an accurate and detailed picture of soil carbon that is more a spatial information system than the traditional idea of a map.

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