The objectives of a data renewal exercise are:
A renewed soil geographic database should include:
Each renewal exercise is unique and must begin with a thorough product specification, user needs analysis and documentation of the existing data. Some aspects are fairly standard (digitizing, geodetic corrections, use of public synoptic data) but may still provide challenges. The most difficult aspect is usually semantic: extracting the meaning from a close reading of the soil survey report and supporting documents, and structuring this into a database design. A data renewal exercise implies a major cultural challenge for most institutions. Especial difficulties are establishing a work flow and quality assurance procedure, training new staff and upgrading current staff. Once soils data becomes available, inter-institutional issues arise, most notably data sharing, data and metadata standards, and responsibilities within a geospatial data infrastructure. This is new territory for most organizations responsible for soil information. Finally, each step of the renewal exercise presents research challenges with links to active research themes in related fields: geodesy, remote sensing, computer science, industrial engineering, and geoinformation science.