Data Policy and Terms of Use

Last Updated: July 2020

This privacy policy (“Policy”) explains what personal information the Land Potential Knowledge System (“LandPKS”, “we”, “us”, “our”) may collect through the LandPKS app, the Data Portal, the website (, and other LandPKS products (collectively, the “Service”). It also details how that information may be used and to whom it may be disclosed. By accessing or using our Service, you confirm that you have read, understood and agree to the terms of this Policy.

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time, so please review it periodically. If we change this Policy substantively, we will inform you by placing a notice on the LandPKS website, sending you an email, or notifying you by some other means. Your access and/or use of the Services in any way after a change to this Policy constitutes your acceptance of the new Policy. If you do not consent to the terms of this Policy, we ask you to please not use the Service.

Collection of Information 

We may directly collect the following information from you when you create an account, enter data into the LandPKS app or Data Portal, visit our website, or register for our newsletter:

  • Personal Information: We may collect personal information, including identification information (name, email address, and other account information)
  • Site Information: We may collect data related to the land of the “sites” you create using our Service that you provide us including latitude/longitude, land use type, site biophysical characteristics (soil texture, land cover, etc.), photos of your site, and other forms of site-related data.

We may automatically collect the following information from you indirectly when you use the Service:

  • Navigational information: When you visit the Service, we automatically collect information about how you arrived at the Service such as the website from which you came and your IP address. Some of this information is anonymous and does not permit us to identify you personally. This information may be associated with your personal information if you provide it to us.
  • Cookies, Google Analytics, Performance Data: The Service may use “cookies”, Google Analytics, and other technologies that transmit information from your device to the service about your activities including links a user clicks, number of visits, and other information. We also may collect data about your interaction with the LandPKS app, usage trends, and other services to track the performance of the app and identify problems such as bugs or other issues you encounter.

These are standard practices used by many sites and services.

Use of Information

LandPKS development is led by the USDA-ARS Research Unit at the Jornada with primary funding from USAID in coordination with numerous national and international collaborators. Our mission is to provide comprehensive support for community-based land assessment and monitoring efforts worldwide.

Unless otherwise marked as “Private”, information about your site that we directly gather from you from the Service is made freely available through the Data Portal for any purpose. It is available in the public domain and not restricted by copyright. As the LandPKS vision is to ensure global access to knowledge for sustainable land management, your data may be used by academic institutions, governments, or other entities for these and other purposes.

If you do not want your data to be made available, you may choose to mark the data you collect and store in the Service as “Private”. Records marked as “Private” will not appear online in our publicly available Data Portal and will not be accessible or downloadable by anyone without account authentication. Please be aware that if you change a previously created site from “Public” to “Private”, your site will continue to appear in public records until you have an internet connection and synchronize your site. While your data is listed as public, it may be downloaded by other users. We do not have control over the use of the downloaded data. Additionally, private data may still be used in anonymized and aggregate form or as required in accordance with the law as described below.

Except as noted above for “Private” sites, we may use the information we collect from you to maintain and operate the of the Service and to contribute to the mission of LandPKS. These uses include but are not limited to the following:

  • Generate LandPKS reports in the app and Data
    Portal for your own personal use or for the use of others
  • Research, academic, or not-for-profit purposes by us or our collaborators that contribute to the mission and vision of LandPKS
  • Provide customer service in response to a request or inquiry
  • Provide notices, email updates, and announcements about the Service
  • Personalize your experience with the Service with content and settings tailored to you
  • Operate, maintain, and improve the functionality of our Service and your experience with the Service
  • Monitor aggregate metrics about number of visitors, traffic, how often and the manner in which users interact with the Service

If you do not want to receive email messages with notices or announcements, you will be given the option to opt out via email or by emailing us at [email protected] or by clicking unsubscribe from any materials you receive from us. We also use your information to send you Service-related emails (e.g., changes/updates to features of the Service, technical and security notices). You may not opt out of such Service-related emails.

Use of Anonymized and Aggregated Information

LandPKS may use your data to generate, report, analyze, and publicly display anonymized and aggregated information that cannot be tracked to a specific user for the follow purposes:

  • Monitoring and reporting usage metrics of the Service
  • Research, academic, or not-for-profit purposes by us or our collaborators that contribute to the mission and vision of LandPKS
  • Operating, maintaining, and improving the functionality of our Service and your experience with the Service

Important Exceptions

In exceptional circumstances, we may disclose information without your consent to a third party (a) as required by and in accordance with the law or legal process  or (b) to protect the security of the Service.

Data Storage and Security 

We use cloud data hosting service providers to store information we collect. We use technical measures and industry best practices to secure your data. While we implement safeguards, no security system is failsafe, and we cannot guarantee that the data is completely safe from attacks by others.

Any of your information collected through the LandPKS Service may be stored and/or processed in the United States or any other country in which our affiliates or service providers maintain facilities, including across borders. If you are located in a country or region with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law, please note that we may transfer personal information to a country that does not have the same data laws as your own. By using the Service, you consent to the transfer of your information to any other country in which LandPKS or its affiliates or service providers maintain facilities.


The Service allows users to take and store pictures of landscapes and soil pits. We encourage you to avoid taking or storing any photos in our Service with personally identifiable information. We recommend that all photos you record with our Service do not contain any people that could be identified.

Deleting Your Data and Data Retention

You may delete your data from the Service by deleting the site data from either the Data Portal or LandPKS app. We will keep your information for as long as it remains necessary for the identified purpose or as required by law. We may retain certain data as necessary due to regulatory or technological limitations. We may also retain anonymized and aggregated data. We may not remove data from previously published reports.

Links to Third Party Websites and Services

We are not responsible for the quality of information or the practices employed by websites or services linked to or from the Service. The Policy does not apply when you use third-party services or sites.

Children’s Privacy

The Services are not directed at children younger than 13 years of age. We do not knowingly collect or solicit personally identifiable information from children under 13 or knowingly allow such persons to use the Services. If we learn that we have collected personal information from a child under age 13, we will delete that information as quickly as possible. If you believe that a child under 13 may have provided us personal information, please contact us at [email protected].

Limitations on Liability

Any information provided as part of the Service is provided “as is”, and in no event shall the providers be liable or any damage or loss due to missing data, low quality data, or misinterpretation of data.

Acknowledgement and Publications

We request that any publications utilizing data from LandPKS sources and the Service include formal acknowledgment of the data provider. The formal acknowledgement includes this statement: “Datasets were provided by the Land Potential Knowledge System.” Please also use the following citation to document LandPKS technologies and data systems:

Herrick, J.E. et al., 2013. The Global Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS): Supporting evidence-based, site specific land use and management through cloud computing, mobile applications, and crowdsourcing. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 68(1). Available at:

Please send an electronic copy of all published reports and manuscripts to: [email protected].

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Data Policy and Terms of Use, please contact us by email at [email protected].

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