Link zu WSL Hauptseite Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL

PMSoil: Predictive mapping of soil properties for the evaluation of soil functions at regional scale

A project funded by National Research Programme  NRP 68 - Soil as a Resource



Soils play an important role in ecosystems and provide important services for humans, for example by retaining water after heavy rainfall or by filtering and clearing water later used as drinking water. These soil functions are often not noticed let alone valued except when soils fail to provide them. Most soil functions cannot be measured directly but must be deduced from soil properties by modelling. Spatial information on soil properties is however only available for about 30 % of the agricultural land in Switzerland. In addition, standardised evaluation methods for assessing soil functions in Switzerland are still lacking.

Aim and Approach

The project aims to develop the methodological basis for creating high-resolution maps of soil properties using digital soil mapping methods and for converting such information in a standardized way to soil function maps. Using various statistical approaches, detailed maps of soil properties and functions will be generated for three study areas. Apart from legacy soil data, soil information derived from spatially highly resolved remotely sensed data such as hyper-spectral images and LIDAR terrain models will be used in these calculations.


The project provides the basis for generating high-resolution maps of soil properties and functions by state-of-the-art digital soil mapping methods. It addresses thereby an important issue of the Soil Strategy of the Swiss Federation, namely how the increasing demand for accurate spatial information on soils can be met in the future.


PMSoil had been founded for a duration of 36 months (2013 – 2016) by the National Research Program NRP 68

Project Team

Andreas Papritz, ETH Zürich
Andri Baltensweiler, WSL
Armin Keller, Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon
Jiri Presler, BABU GmbH, Zürich
Michael Schäpman, UNI Zürich
Lorenz Walthert, WSL
Stephan Zimmermann, WSL

Keywords Soil, Soil properties, Digital soil mapping, GIS, Modelling, NFP68, Remote Sensing, Soil Functions