The key goals of the GS Soil Consortium were the structural specification for the description and harmonisation of spatial soil data within Europe as well as the operation of a corresponding Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).
Technical and syntactic interoperability were ensured by the use of open standards such as those published by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the INSPIRE Directive Specifications on Network Services. As a result, soil data providers offer their data via OGC compliant Web Feature Services (WFS) or Web Map Services (WMS), ensuring that the GS portal and other client systems are capable of accessing and displaying the distributed data.
The central result of the project was the GS Soil portal. European soil data from heterogeneous sources are bundled here and best practice expertise is exposed. In order to ensure transnational usability of the portal and related services, aspects of multilingualism and data interpretation were considered thoroughly. In this respect, the harmonisation of metadata and the definition of terms and conditions have been addressed with supporting tools and explanatory documents.
The project, co-funded by the community programme eContentplus, involved 34 partners from 18 European countries, and their role was as either data provider and/or IT expert. Several partners brought expertise in both fields.