Digital Soil Mapping (DSM) is a suite of methods which enables the creation of good quality soil maps, but by digging less holes, leading to time and money savings.
We have used DSM to map forestry production potential, soil erosion mitigation potential, soil and land capability studies for water pipe lines of more than 100 km and town planning hydropedological assessments.
DSM is based on the fact that soil is not randomly distributed, but is a factor of the five soil forming factors, climate, topography, parent material, organisms and time. Therefore if we can figure out the relationship between the soil and the soil forming factors and the soil, we can easily map the soil by mapping the soil forming factors, which is often easier to map than the soil.
We use cutting edge technology to do so, including GIS, remote sensing, DEM’s, computer inference systems and geostatistics. The cost saved by using DSM rather than conventional methods is exponential as the size of the area increases, and starts being beneficial at 1000 ha. One of our directors, George van Zijl created a DSM protocol for use in Southern Africa and is regarded as the leading expert in DSM in Africa.