Smartphone App Balances Conservation and Production

Kelly Marshall

The LandPKS suite of mobile apps provides specific information about soils to anyone with a smartphone, says USDA soil scientist Jeff Herrick. LandPKS, (Land-Potential Knowledge System) is made up of the LandInfo and LandCover modules, including cloud computing, digital soil-mapping data, and the Global Positioning System (GPS) to give information about the sustainable potential and future climate of a piece of land.

The current version of the LandInfo module allows the user to collect soil and site-specific topographic data, while the LandCover module can document ground cover, vegetation height, plant density, and spatial patterns of vegetation affecting soil erosion. The collected information is stored in a centralized, open access database and becomes part of a data system that in the future will identify management options for sites having similar topography, soils, and climatic conditions, Herrick said. The app is available for free at LandPotential.org, the Google Playstore, and the iTunes App Store (by searching “LandPKS”).

Apps, Conservation, Soil, USDA