What is the LandInfo Module for?

The LandPKS LandInfo module is designed for rapid soil characterization and identification. In LandInfo, users can access soil and ecological site information based on both location and user inputs. The LandInfo Module is useful to anyone who is interested in characterizing and identifying their soils. The module can be used for land management as well as in educational contexts.

Using the LandInfo module, users can identify their site’s soil type (SoilID) and determine  its Land Capability Class (LCC), essential information for sustainable land-use planning and management. To learn more about Soil Identification and Land Capability Classification, take a look at the SoilID and LCC articles.

Features of the LandInfo Module

In the app’s Data Input tab, the LandInfo module considers five defining aspects of soil: Land Use, Land Slope, Soil TextureSoil Limitations, and Soil Color.

  • Land Use asks the user two questions: 1) What is the Land Cover on the site?, and 2) Is the site grazed? Under Land Cover, the user can select from 9 simple illustrations of possible land covers, from forest to village to water. Under Grazing, the user can select from 8 illustrations, ranging from not grazed, grazed by livestock, and grazed by wildlife.
  • Land Slope is about the angle of the land and the way it directs water. Under Slope, the user can select from 7 illustrated slopes or use the slope meter. Under Slope Shape, a series of 6 illustrations depict the shape of the slope both in the down-slope direction (left column of illustrations) and the across-slope direction (right column of illustrations). The user can select one illustration from each column. For example, the slope might be linear in the down-slope direction but concave in the accross slope direction, resulting in a linear/concave slope shape.
  • Under Soil Texture, users can begin to define what kind of soil they have at their sites, layer by layer. Is the surface texture a sand, silt, loam, or clay? Does it have rock fragments? By analyzing soil properties by depth, the LandInfo module predicts soil infiltration and plant available water-holding capacity (AWC). AWC estimates can be adjusted to account for variable levels of soil organic matter (SOM). The LandPKS Texture Guide provides easy, step-by-step instructions for soil texture identification. Users may also enter Rock Fragment Volume data and the Bedrock Depth in this tab.
  • Soil Limitations such as deep, vertical cracks in dry soil, salt found on the surface, high flooding risk, low PH, surface stoniness, water table depth and soil depth have major implications for land use. In most instances, these limitations can limit root growth and crop production; when not taken into account, they can lead to long-term degradation of the land.
  • Finally, the LandInfo module in the LandPKS mobile app contains the Soil Color tool. With this tool, users can define soil color using a phone’s camera and a standardized reference card. For more information about soil color and using the LandPKS soil color tool, refer to our article about soil color.

The LandInfo Module has been designed to accommodate users with different levels of experience, from the backyard gardener to the natural resource professional. By utilizing the video and text tutorials, the texture guide, and the ‘help’ text accessible by clicking on the question mark icons, users of all skill levels will be able to characterize their soil and gain a better understanding of its potential.

The following training videos will show you how to use the LandPKS LandInfo Module to learn about your soil.

Note: these training videos are based on version 3.5.0 of the LandPKS mobile app.







Other Training Videos

LandManagement training video

Vegetation & LandCover training videos


Download a PDF of Intro to the LandPKS LandInfo Module

Further reading:

“Taking the Guesswork out of Soil Identification”

Soil Taxonomy: A Basic System of Soil Classification for Making and Interpreting Soil Surveys by the Soil Survey Staff at USDA-NRCS (PDF download): Soil Taxonomy | NRCS Soils

Educational (K-12) resources about soils from the USDA-NRCS: Soil Education | NRCS Soils

More information about soil limitations from the USDA-NRCS (PDF download): Understanding Soil Risks and Hazards | NRCS Soils

Adane Buni, the Ethiopian LandPKS Coordination Officer, describes how LandPKS is being used for land-use planning in Ethiopia. He explains, “LandPKS simplifies the tedious manual process of data collection and data coding. It is versatile, specifically in terms of soil determination.” The Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture has trained hundreds of its staff to use LandPKS for land-use planning throughout the country. 

David Kimiti uses LandPKS for conservation management at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, which manages the land for both wildlife conservation and livestock production. “We use LandPKS to understand the effects that soils, climate, and topography have on vegetation distribution,” he tells us in this video. Wildlife conservancies also use LandPKS to monitor vegetation changes in response to grazing, drought and restoration treatments. 

Cover image of IRP report

Click to read the full 2016 report “Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources: Evaluation Systems, Strategies, and Tools,” written by the International Resource Panel. The tools and resources below are referred to in the report. Please refer to the available links for additional information. We have included hyperlinks for bibliography entries from the IRP report whenever possible.


  • FAO.org The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations provides a tremendous and constantly increasing amount of tools, data, information and knowledge relevant to sustainably increasing food production. The Land Resources Planning Toolbox provides direct access to a wide variety of useful tools.
  • ISRIC.org The International Soil Reference and Information Centre World Soil Information’s website features various tools and data to provide global soil information and currently serves as the primary global repository for soil information. ISRIC uses machine learning methods to create SoilGrids, a digital global soil mapping system whose prediction models use over 230,000 soil profile observations.
  • LandPotential.org This website is continuously updated with land evaluation resources and examples of how land evaluation has been successfully used around the world.
  • Landon (2014) provides a concise, practical reference for much of the technical knowledge necessary to implement land evaluation and management.
  • LandscapeToolBox.org This web portal provides access to a wide variety of tools, including automated sampling design, data analysis and reporting, and simple image-analysis tools that anyone can learn in under an hour. It also includes a Wiki, which, among other things, helps decide what remote sensing imagery is most appropriate based on objectives.
  • JournalMap.org The ability to search for articles based on where the research was completed, rather than where the author’s office has been, is nearly impossible in Google Scholar and other bibliographic search engines. JournalMap allows users to search for articles based on location, as well as the biophysical characteristics of a location. 
  • Knowledge.UNCCD.int The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Knowledge Hub contains a wealth of information about desertification, land degradation, and drought. It features a Drought Toolbox to support action on drought preparedness and a Capacity Building Marketplace for sharing knowledge and opportunities. In addition, the UNCCD Knowledge Hub contains country pages to connect individuals to local organizations and recommend tools tailored to national conditions.
  • UNEP.org UNEP is continuing to increase access to tools, data and knowledge resources, including through UNEPLive.
  • Global Agro-Ecological Zones: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have developed the Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ) methodology over the past 30 years for assessing agricultural resources and potential. GAEZ allows users to access previously-run evaluations using a geospatial interface.
  • WOSSAC.com The World Soil Archive and Catalogue provides access to soil survey reports, maps, imagery and photographs from 344 territories worldwide.


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