Soil is one of the most important parts of Earth’s environment. According to Franklin D. Roosevelt who was the 32nd US president, “The nation who destroys its soil, destroys itself”. This saying is definitely correct because soil is a medium that provides food to animals and eventually to humans due to the capability of soil to grow plants/crops. So, it is not wrong to call soil as our “ultimate food source”. Along with this function, soil has a number of other functions as well.
Advanced fields and advanced technologies are the requirements of this modern era in which a number of issues are prevailing. Among the emerging advanced fields, the field of Geographic Information System (GIS) is a very useful one which has vast number of applications and uses. GIS is the system or set of tools used to capture, store and analyze the geographical data. GIS has progressed a lot in past few decades and this has given numerous benefits in spatial analysis, geographic surveys and researches etc.
Among the numerous applications of GIS, a very important one is soil mapping. Soil mapping is basically the process of geographically representing the different properties of soil of different soils. This geographical representation of soils is ultimately known as soil map. Soil mapping is very significant because it enables to identify, distinguish and classify different kinds of soils according to their properties or characteristics. GIS softwares are used to create soil database and then it is represented graphically or in the form of an image through which the soil of any area/land can be examined. Soil maps give the idea that how to use a specific land according to its soil type. For example, through soil mapping, it can be known that which land can be used for construction of buildings, houses, roads etc and which land consists of fertile soil which can be used for cultivation of crops rather that doing construction. This proper use of land leads towards proper land management which results in prevention of soil erosion and promotion of soil protection.
Soil map is widely used by the farmers in developed countries to retain soil nutrients and earn maximum yield because by knowing about the type and properties of soil, farmers understand that which crops would grow better in the farm area. As far as Pakistan is concerned, if soil mapping with the help of GIS would be conducted on large scales in most of the areas, then this would provide wonderful benefits to the country. As Pakistan is an agricultural country and almost 24% of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) relies on agriculture and agriculture mainly relies on soil, so soil mapping done through GIS would improve the country’s agriculture. As soil mapping gives the information about the soil types and crops suitability to specific types of soil, hence it can help the farmers a lot in producing good amount of crop yield which can in return boost up the economy of Pakistan. Along with this, as Pakistan is the 6th most populous country in the world and it is facing population explosion and ultimately land-use issues, so the country can also cope with this issue regarding land-use by using GIS in order to perform soil mapping.
First author: Laraib Ehtasham
Second author: Rabail Urooj