Project promotion materials:

Project Homepage:

Data collections can be seen on:

Software is available at:

Project Members:

Martin Pullan (TERN Eco-informatics Technical Manager,

Ben Till (TERN Developer)

Gilli Atkinson (TERN Developer)

Casper Yeow (TERN Business Analyst)

Peter Doherty (ALA Project Manager,

David Baird (ALA Developer)

Nick dos Remedios (ALA Developer,

Dave Martin (ALA Developer,

Natasha Carter (ALA Developer)

ANDS Contact:

Stefanie Kethers (

Project Status:


Soils to Satellites (S2S)


Collaborator(s): University of Adelaide

Project Description

This project set out to explore the potential for discovering, visualising and analysing ecological and related data from multiple sources, plots and/or locations.

Working closely with ecosystem researchers, TERN AusCover, TRENDSA, and TERN AusPlots Rangelands, the project team has developed the web-based tool 'Soils-to-Satellites (S2S)'. The tool brings diverse datasets together into an easy-to-use interface that enables visualisation and comparison. The datasets include ecological and genomics data collected through TRENDSA, and TERN’s AusPlots Rangelands facility and delivered through TERN Eco-informatics’ Australian Ecological Knowledge and Observation System (AEKOS), with remote-sensing datasets available through AusCover, alongside spatial and biodiversity information available via the (ALA).

The Soils-to-Satellites tool enables researchers to explore and display relationships between disconnected datasets in ways that were not previously possible. For example, researchers are able to display layers of Australian environmental data such as elevation, temperature or soil type, then ‘drill down’ to compare vegetation and genomics data across those layers, and perform subsequent analyses across the combined datasets.

Source datasets in the tool and complex analytical data products created and extracted through the tool will be described in ANDS’ research data discovery service, Research Data Australia, for researchers to discover and re-use/

Researchers and partners can register and access the S2S tool at:

Research Champion:

Prof Andy Lowe [Professor of Plant Conservation Biology - University of Adelaide; TERN Associate Director - Science; Director of the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity (ACEBB) ]

Dr Hugh Cross [TREND SA; Research Associate, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide]

Dr Greg Guerin [TREND SA; Post-doctoral Fellow, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide]

Dr Nikki Thurgate [Director TERN Multi Scale Plot Network Facility, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide]

Data Type:

Input Data:
TERN/TREND plot-based plant community data (plant species found in each plot) Species occurrence data as held by the ALA Environmental characteristics as available through spatial layers held by the ALA Remote satellite sensing imagery (hyperspectral characteristics of site - held by AusCover ) Transcriptome information providing details on gene expression in response to environmental factors Barcode sequences for widespread plant species (a complementary set of sequences for assessing genetic variation within widespread species). Note that this project will not provide additional analyses over these data but will allow researchers to explore what data exists at the plot level. Metagenomes for soil communities (soil-based traces of organisms present at each site) Soil characterisation data, including structure, pH, nutrients and carbon

Output Data:
The application will allow users to select TREND plots and obtain/combine data for exploration, display, comparison, link-to and/or download. Data sets that can be output will be determined by the particular user and their particular research question.

High Level Software Functionality:

Re-use and adaptation of
ALA Spatial Portal -
AEKOS - (Java, OpenLayers, Geoserver, Knockout & jQuery, PostGIS)

Development of various Web Services, WFS, WMS, WCS

Java, Spring MVC, Grails web application technology; Tomcat and Apache web servers; Web services utilising JSON and REST technologies; GeolTools and OpenLayers web-based mapping tools.


080301 Bioinformatics Software
080306 Open Software