|Main authors:||Luuk Fleskens, Coen Ritsema, Zhanguo Bai, Violette Geissen, Jorge Mendes de Jesus, Vera da Silva, Aleid Teeuwen, Xiaomei Yang|
|iSQAPERiS editor:||Jane Brandt|
|Source document:||Fleskens, L et al. (2020) Tested and validated final version of SQAPP. iSQAPER Project Deliverable 4.2, 143 pp|
Soil is suffering from intensive farming and unsustainable soil disturbance, leading to severe soil degradation. Great efforts have been undertaken to deal with soil degradation and related problems via research demonstration, agricultural extension services and policy incentives and guidance programs. However, it remains difficult for end-users, like farmers and agricultural workers, to understand soil information which is shown in reports or research publications. Furthermore, access to such information in the first place is also an important barrier to improved soil management. Both barriers can be overcome through the development of easy-to-use interactive tools, such as mobile phone apps.
This opportunity has been acknowledged by several actors, and a range of soil-related mobile/ipad apps have been developed. Before starting to formulate the design and functionality of SQAPP: the soil quality app developed by the iSQAPER project a number of such existing apps were reviewed.
»Review of existing soil apps
Multiple interviews with stakeholders in the iSQAPER studies identified four broad categories of need for information: soil information; management advice; awareness raising and education; procedural (how to exchange information about soils and innovative agricultural management practices, how to get a quick assessment of soil quality and soil threats)
»Stakeholder wish-list for functionalities of SQAPP
The SQAPP has been through a number of rounds of evaluation by different groups of users and stakeholders during its development. These include: a field evaluation of SQAPP performance; a formal evaluation of the beta version by some 90 European stakeholders (researchers, farmers, students, advisory services and policy makers) in locations in Slovenia, Poland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, France, Estonia, Romania and Netherlands; an evaluation by some 220 participants in the 11 study site Demonstration Events. The feedback from each evaluation was assesed and used in the further development of the app. Here we provide details about how issues raised during the user evaluations were addressed in the SQAPP development.
»SQAPP user evaluation and feedback
SQAPP was also subjected to two peer-reviews sessions, one internal review conducted with the iSQAPER partners and concerned with issues concerning the validation of SQAPP against measurements, data origin, data coverage, reliability and accuracy of the data, and the possibility for users to include data and feedback, and the other with scientists at the Soil Horizons workshop at the Wageningen Soil Conference. Here we provide details about how issues raised during these reviews were addressed in the SQAPP development.
»SQAPP peer review
SQAPP was tested by comparing measured and SQAPP-derived soil quality and soil threat parameters to determne the level of accuracy with which SQAPP describes a location. This information can be used to make specific recommendations for which data from the global data bases is reliable and which should be updated with local input.
Finally the rules used in SQAPP to calculate the potential for soil quality improvement, overall soil threat level and the ranking of AMPs have been separately developed in a policy-oriented, need-based and spatially explicit agricultural management advice model for soil quality improvement.
»SQAPP spatial modelling