In order to provide a comprehensive and reliable guide to soil and landscape classification in Australia, the NSW Department of Land & Water Conservation have gone to great lengths to map out much of Eastern and Central New South Wales. You can read the original report produced by the DLWC here.
This project captures over 13 million hectares of agricultural and coastal land, aiming to provide a thorough analysis of soil and landscape profiles, where significant common characteristics can be identified. Large-scale classification projects such as this help to identify potential land use issues, as well as opportunities for further development.
Using a combination of field survey, full laboratory analysis and aerial assessment, large areas of land surface can be classified according the homogeneity of physical and mineral properties noted in the earth.
An extensive analysis such as the one carried out by the Department of Land & Water Conservation, provide interpretation of the usefulness of the land for both agricultural purposes, including the pH levels found in the soil, whereas geotechnical engineers will be more interested in the tests conducted on soil volume expansion propensity and particle size analysis.
By understanding the capabilities and limitations of land use in a specific area, informed decisions can be made on the progress or alternative options for any project where geological conditions may affect the feasibility of the project.
Looking toward the future, the NSW Department of Land & Water Conservation are aiming to further expand the usability of such extensive mapping initiatives, including the refinement of a database that provides digital information storage and allows researchers in the field to update quickly and more accurately.
The benefits of this collection of information on soil properties in New South Wales will flow on to many industries and government sectors. When looking to effectively manage the environmental impact of a project, the soil classification map will assist in the planning and development phase and ensure efficiency is maintained throughout the project.More