Towards a National Soil Database

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Resource or Project Abstract

The National Soil Database has produced a national database of soil geochemistry including point and spatial distribution maps of major nutrients, major elements, essential trace elements, trace elements of special interest and minor elements. In addition, this study has generated a National Soil Archive, comprising bulk soil samples and a nucleic acids archive each of which represent a valuable resource for future soils research in Ireland. The geographical coherence of the geochemical results was considered to be predominantly underpinned by underlying parent material and glacial geology. Other factors such as soil type, land use, anthropogenic effects and climatic effects were also evident. The coherence between elements, as displayed by multivariate analyses, was evident in this study. Examples included strong relationships between Co, Fe, As, Mn and Cu. This study applied large-scale microbiological analysis of soils for the first time in Ireland and in doing so also investigated microbial community structure in a range of soil types in order to determine the relationship between soil microbiology and chemistry. The results of the microbiological analyses were consistent with geochemical analyses and demonstrated that bacterial community populations appeared to be predominantly determined by soil parent material and soil type.

NSDB Final Report The NSDB final report is available as a Synthesis report. The report is also available as a final report. We have made all of the chapters available in a ZIP file except Chapter 4 which is available as a separate download due to it's size.

** PLEASE NOTE ** All queries in relation to the NSDB datasets and archive should be sent to

** PLEASE NOTE ** During March 2011 a revised spreadsheet has been uploaded holding the publicly accessible data for the NSDB. This file is called Final_NSBD_Public_Version_March2011_REV.xls

The Soil Geochemical Atlas of Ireland publication is available in two ways from this resource. You can download the entire publication as one large PDF (approximately 150Mb) or you can choose to download the publication as six separate chapters. See

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Deirdre Fay

Dr. Chaosheng Zhang
Department of Geography

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Below is a selection of the [ 70 ] files attached to this resource : To view the list of all data and information products attached to this resource you will need to view the Full Attachment List

Attachment Name and Download Link
Project Synthesis Report    ERTDI_NSDB_SoilDatabase_syn.pdf  (20.46 Mb)
Att 2   (11.56 Mb)
Att 3    Final_NSBD_Public_Version_March2011_REV.xls   (0.82 Mb)
Att 4   (0.06 Mb)
Att 5   (0.06 Mb)
Att 6   (0.06 Mb)
Att 7   (0.06 Mb)
Att 8   (0.06 Mb)
Att 9   (0.06 Mb)
Att 10   (0.06 Mb)
Att 11   (0.06 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

The information supplied in the table below should be provided with all citations to this electronic resource. You are requested to format each of the fields below as required by the specific bibliographical style you are using.

Author(s)Fay, D. Zhang, C.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationTowards a National Soil Database
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifierc265bb3f-2cec-102a-b1da-b128b41032cc
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-05-20

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Fay, D. Zhang, C.   "Towards a National Soil Database". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-05-20)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordsmajor nutrients, major elements, essential trace elements,
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2001-CD/S2 M2
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeLand-use, Soils, and Transport
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceUse of the Final_NSBD_Public_Version.xls file is open to the public. Any usage should be cited correctly using the automated citation generated below in this metadata. The file attachment NSDB_Data Licence_Agreement.pdf contains the precise details of the data usage of the national soils database data.

** PLEASE NOTE ** All queries in relation to the NSDB datasets and archive should be sent to

** PLEASE NOTE ** NSDB_Data Licence_Agreement.pdf is an example of a data licence agreement for the Full NSDB Public Dataset. You must contact the EPA in person to access the datasets.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 71
Project Start Date Wednesday 3rd January 2001 (03-01-2001)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 2nd January 1995 (02-01-1995)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Friday 1st December 2006 (01-12-2006)
Published on SAFERMonday 26th March 2007 (26-03-2007)
Date of Last EditFriday 26th January 2018 at 14:02:02 (26-01-2018)
Datasets or Files Updated On Wednesday 15th April 2015 at 13:05:02 (15-04-2015)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
National Coverage

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

In this section some supplementary information about this resource is outlined. Lineage information helps us to understand why this project was carried out, what policy or research requirements did it fulfil, etc. Lineage is important in understanding the rationale behind the carrying out of a project or the collection of a specific dataset etc. Links to web sites, applications, papers, etc are outlined to provide you with additional information or supplementary reading about the project or dataset

Lineage information about this project or dataset
During 1995 and 1996, 295 soil samples were collected in the south eastern region of Ireland, while an additional 1015 soil samples were collected when the study was extended to include the remaining three quarters of the country in 2002. The two datasets were integrated into the National Soil Database
Supplementary Information
File Naming Conventions.
There are several zip files attached to this resource. For example is a zip file containing Soil Coverage maps of Elements begining with Letter P to Letter R. The contents of the ZIP files are JPEG images like those in the National Soils Database Report published on the EPA website.

All Responsible Persons.

Deirdre Fay1, David McGrath1, Chaosheng Zhang2, Cora Carrigg3, Vincent O?Flaherty3, Owen T. Carton1, Eamonn Grennan4

1Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford;

2Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Galway;

3Department of Microbiology and Environmental Change Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway;

4Institute of Technology, Sligo

National baseline database of soil geochemistry including multiple point and spatial distribution maps of a major nutrients, major elements, essential trace elements, trace elements of special interest and minor elements

Attributes: Major Nutrients (P, K, Mg, S and organic C)

Major Elements (Ca, Fe, Na, Al, Ti and pH)

Essential Trace Elements (Cu, Co, Cr, Mn, Mo, Se and Zn)

Trace Elements of Special Interest (As, Cd, Pb, Hg and Ni)

Minor Elements (e.g. Nb, Tl, Ga, Li, U etc.)
Links To Other Related Resources (Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window)

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