A.1. Integration of terrain, soil, geologic and hydrologic databases

Project manager: Gábor Illés (FRI)



Research plan


Analysis of field:


Numerous examples can be found in the literature on the use of spatially explicit terrain, soil, hydrologic and geologic data for ecological research, which is reasonable due to the obvious existence and exploration of causal relations. It is particularly true in the field of agriculture, where the basis of the whole cultivation technology is the adaptation to the ecological case maps (Goodchild et al., 1996). The spread of geographical information system applications and solutions in the field of ecological and environmental sciences came about at the earliest during the processing and application of remote sensed data (Hinton, 1996). Almost concurrently an effort to exploit the strength of geographical information systems can be observed, during which they sought to identify regional ecosystem models and vegetation types with the use of objective statistical methods and far-reaching databases (soil, climate), among which the differences observed in the production biology indexes and population biology indexes can be interpreted (Host et al, 1996). The complexity of the ecological systems brought along the fact that the researches aimed at understanding them are very different in their conception of approach. The examination scales are diverse and the data collected about the ecological systems are very different. All these bring along the effort to integrate systems with diverse scales and philosophies, whether they are models that emphasize spatiality or process when we examine and model a given phenomenon (Villa-Costanza, 2000).


The aim of integrating the data is to make the system reliable and permeable to the various land-use branches and specializations, to which we can find examples in Europe as well, in connection with long-term environmental monitoring activities (Lane, 997; Burnett-Blaschke, 2007). As a consequence of this principle we aim to integrate data sources that are connected to territories and that are of high importance from the point of view of spatiality and ecology. The purpose of it is the formation and sustenance of data files which are coherent from the point of view of environmental science and information technology and which serve as the basis of strategic planning in agriculture. The important profit of the principle of data integration is that during the process of comparison the errors that might occur in the data files to be integrated can be retraced and fixed on the basis of the discrepancies that occur while “colliding” the data files of various sources.


In the course of this work those results can be used that aim to explore the relations between the content elements of environmental variables – here raw data bases – such as the field and results of digital soil mapping (McBratney et al, 2003; Pásztor et al, 2010 a,b,c). In the literature a methodology has already formed called geomorphometry, which primarily deals with the questions of the use of DEMs in the case of variables deduced from certain terrains (Dobos & Hengl, 2009). In works dealing with the spatial determination of soil research information the most often and typically used explanatory (independent) variables can be retraced from elevation models (DEM). The variables ranked in this circle are the following: height above sea-level, inclination, exposure and the parameters describing the deflection of the surface. The use of digital elevation models is justified as in the process of soil formation terrain is considered one of the key factors (Scull et al., 2003). Among the data (background variables) used as explanatory variables in ecological research the geologic data and the data of climactic variables have to be mentioned (McBratney et al., 2003, Lagacherie et al., 2007). The circle of these variables is often broadened with variables describing hydrologic features, such as confluence and convergence indexes (Behrens et al, 2005, Bakacsi et al, 2010), and the situation of groundwater.


Justification, the problem supporting the necessity of research:


Currently we do not know a coherent data system that could satisfy the needs of various farming sectors, which would have been developed by joining separately existing data sources related to environmental parameters that are connected to land-use. There are more or less well functioning departmental systems (separate for surface water and groundwater; separate for forests; separate for agricultural areas; etc.), but about their equivalence and multidisciplinary usability hardly anything reassuring can be said. It is still this way even though there have been remarkable efforts with good intentions (D-e-meter). The research can contribute to solving all the problems which can occur while joining the various database systems and would hinder efficient use successfully.


Aim of research:


The work creates the environmental data system established on scientific grounds in which and compared to which the connected scopes of activities can be evaluated and interpreted.


Introduction of activity:


The realization of the task can be solved by performing well segmented subtasks. First, an information environment has to be established which is suitable for the storing and processing of data. This environment is made up of two segments: hardware with appropriate capacity and a joint software environment. The next step is the collection of data to be integrated from the appropriate data sources and their setting into the geographical information system. This specifically means the processing of the relevant terrain, geologic, soil and hydrologic data. The terrain data are raster files and the geologic maps are vector files such as the data of groundwater maps. The hydrologic data contains the measured data series of groundwater well data and the surface water data files from maps. In relation to soil research data on agricultural areas the reambulation of Kreybig soil maps, in the case of forests the data of production sites from the forest resource database and the descriptive data of records from production sites constitute the initial data files. The coherent database draws up equivalence examinations within and among the data files, and also spatial monitoring. During the evaluation of groundwater level data the determination of the spatial markings and the degree of fluctuation within a year enables us to examine the very important hydrologic classification values that can be found among the characteristics of production sites. With the examination of different classifications the agricultural and forestry databases can be filtered expediently. With the help of geologic maps those territories can be identified where the pertinence of soil databases or geologic databases has to be checked. For this study the maps of the geological formations that can be found right under the surface can be used. It means the uppermost layers under the soil cover, which have served as the bed for the soils formed on them. Accordingly, between the soil types and the geologic formations there has to be a certain logical or causal relation, which is analyzable. We connect the established database system with the data files of the geographical information system of climactic data, which gives the possibility of an impact assessment on climate change related to complex environment and land-use.




The task will be executed in the first half-year of the project.

1st month: establishment of the information technological background.

2nd-3rd months: data collection.

4th-5th months: data processing.

6th month: compilation of a coherent database.


Data to be used, partners:


M= 1 : 100 000 digital elevation model with 50x50 m cell size. This data file suits the line coverage of the topographic maps with the same size scales. According to the proportion, the resolution of the file is appropriate for the characterization of larger spatial units such as large continuous forests, couple hundred acres forest spots. It is limitedly usable for detailed orientation about geographical features. It can be used for the classification if forests into categories of height above sea-level.


M= 1 : 100 000 digital geologic map. The geologic map is very useful for the examining the probable match of soil types. With its help gross errors can be filtered out and it helps the hydrologic classification of territories as well. The map marks the geological formations based on their physical-chemical characteristics and their age. We use the map of the geological formations that can be found in 2m depth, which play a major role in soil formation.


M = 1 : 100 000 digital groundwater level map with 0; 2; 5; 10; 20; 30 meters isolines. The groundwater level map characterizes the distance of ground water measured from the surface and it serves as a pivot for the evaluation of the presence or absence of excess water effect. Of course the soil type and the geological features are also to be taken into consideration. The data series of long-term groundwater level observation wells are to be put into this data group as well (examination of trends).


Forest resource database. This database contains the most important information in connection with forest areas, such as: location of tree species, area proportions, productivity and the connected production site information (soil, hydrology, climate).


M = 1 : 25 000 digital soil maps for agricultural areas. The Digital Kreybig Soil Information System is a modern, dynamic geographical information system which satisfies the requirements of the present-day and it is the geographical information adaptation and reambulation of the 1:25.000 proportion Kreybig Soil Survey – the only large-scale map series of this kind that covers the entire country. The Digital Kreybig Soil Information System is appropriate for the support of decisions made by settlements and large farms in connection with land-use, and the realization of regional area exploitation and development programs (TAKI, 2010).


M = 1 : 100 000 agrotopographic database. As a result of the 150 years of work of the Hungarian soil science and soil examination practice the number of maps and data related to Hungary’s soils is very rich; in its content, elaboration, processing and modernity equally. The editing of the Agrotopographic map series was induced by the Academic program titled The agro-ecological potential of Hungary, which program estimated the agro-ecological potential of the country by exploring the opportunities and barriers of the Hungarian agriculture. Based on the results of the examination the MTA TAKI, with the guidance of György Várallyay edited the map series that define Hungary’s production site characteristics at the end of the 1970s, which serves as the basis for the learning about topsoils on a regional scale. The Soil Surveys (Kreybig 1:250 000 proportion soil maps) served as the basis of the map series, and the 1:100 000 proportion soil map was created with the generalization and analogous processing of them. Hungary’s AGROTOPO Database was established in the Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry of The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA-TAKI) in 1991 with the geographical informational processing of these maps.