Teaching and Learning with Digital Soil Maps in the Classroom and in the Field

Visiting Speaker: Darrell G. Schulze, Professor of Soil Science, Agronomy Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Friday, November 16, 2018 (10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science CCIS 1-140

Maps are more than posters on the wall. They are powerful tools for teaching and learning in disciplines that are intrinsically spatial like soil science, geology, and ecology. I will show how Soil Explorer, available online at SoilExplorer.net or as a free app for Apple iPad, is designed to help learners understand how and why soils and landscapes vary at different scales and why it matters. I will show how students in the upper level Soils and Landscapes course I teach use digital maps throughout the semester to learn how concepts discussed in the lecture correspond to the features they see on the maps. Then, during field labs they use iPads to learn how the features on the maps correspond to the real features they see in the field. This teaching-with-maps approach allows students to develop a deep understanding of the spatial aspects of soils that would be impossible to obtain any other way. Soil Explorer is an ongoing community effort, with collaborators from universities in 17 US states and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) contributing so far. Soil Explorer is built using publicly available data from the USDA, US Geological Survey, OpenSteetMap, and other sources. The platform is extensible and in addition to maps for the US, currently hosts maps for Kenya and the Arequipa region of Peru.

Renewing and Delivering Spatially Explicit Soils Data in Western Kenya

**NEW** use this link to participate remotely: Skype For Business or Join seminar by phone: 1 587 674 2084 (Find a local number); conference ID: 67679114

Visiting Speaker: Darrell G. Schulze, Professor of Soil Science, Agronomy Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Friday, November 16, 2018 (3 - 4 p.m.)
South Academic Building SAB

Many developing countries have little or no soil survey information to guide planning or to provide information for agricultural development. Kenya, however, is an exception and has soil survey products produced in the 1970s and 80s that are lying idle and largely unused as paper maps and reports. I will describe three projects in which we are bringing some of this "legacy soil data" back to life and using it as a starting point for improved maps created using modern digital soil mapping techniques. First, we have made the Exploratory Soil Map of Kenya 1980 available online in Soil Explorer (SoilExplorer.net or Soil Explorer app for Apple iPad), allowing easy access to the map and the information in the descriptive legend. Second, for the Uasin Gishu Plateau around Eldoret, we have created digital soil type, effective soil depth, soil moisture storage capacity, and soil drainage class maps at 30 m resolution using available legacy data and data from our own field work. Finally, interpretation of the information available in the Reconnaissance Soil Survey of the Busia Area has allowed us to produce ten land quality maps for the area showing the ability of land to perform specific agronomic functions, and nineteen different crop suitability maps that were not available originally. Tabular and narrative data in the report provides inputs for ongoing efforts to create higher resolution maps using digital soil mapping techniques.

Darrell Schulze
Dr. Darrell Schulze is a Professor of Soil Science in the Agronomy Department at Purdue University. He received his B.S. in Agronomy and M.S. in Soil Science from Texas A&M University, and his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the Technical University of Munich. His current research interests center around three areas: (1) utilizing existing U.S. soils data to visualize soil landscapes in new ways to deliver soils information to new users, (2) utilizing digital soil mapping techniques to improve soil maps and soil information delivery for two areas in western Kenya and for the Purdue Agronomy Centre for Research and Education, and (3) supporting the field soil science and soil spatial visualization needs of the Arequipa Nexus Institute.

Dr. Schulze teaches two courses, a field-oriented, dual level undergraduate-graduate course in Soils and Landscapes, and a graduate course in Clay Mineralogy. The Soils and Landscapes course features an innovative teaching-with-maps approach that has students using detailed soil maps on iPads in both the classroom and in the field to learn how and why soils vary at different scales and why it matters. The soils field trips Dr. Schulze leads are rich, geo-enabled learning experiences were students learn not just at the individual stops, but also while traveling as they follow maps on their iPads in real time and learn how they correspond to real landscapes. Dr. Schulze leads the multi-state Integrating Spatial Educational Experiences (Isee) project that is expanding the teaching-withmaps approach to 15 additional US states. Maps are available on the Soil Explorer website and via the Soil Explorer app available in the Apple App Store. His current work is supported by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Higher Education Challenge Grant Program, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Arequipa Nexus Institute.

Sponsored by:
The Department of Renewable Resources
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)
University of Alberta Libraries
Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Visiting Speaker Grants