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LandPKS (Land Potential Knowledge System): Mobile App for Extension, Land-Use and Project Planning, M&E and On-Farm Research

posted on 2024-02-15, 19:19 authored by Jeffrey E. Herrick, Amy Quandt, Ciaran Kenny, Maximilian Contreras, Jason Neff, Won Seok Jang, Jonathan Maynard, George Peacock, Shawn Salley, Elifadhili Daniel, Adane Buni, Lilian Ndungu, Jolene M. Herrera, Thanh Nguyen, Luis Terrones, Jason Karl, David Kimiti, Travis Nauman, Kevin Uruma, Scott Schrader, Ericha Courtright, Justin Van Zee

Through an understanding of climate, soils, and topography, land potential can be seen as the potential of the land to be degradation resistant (the ability of the land to resist disturbances) and resilient (the ability of the land to rebound after disturbances). Application of the land potential concept can support sustainable agricultural production, biodiversity conservation, and other ecosystem services.

To help address such land potential issues, LandPKS comprises a free modular mobile phone app connected to cloud-based storage, global databases, and models, downloadable from Google Play or the iTunes App Store; a system for storing and accessing user data; and a system for sharing data, information and knowledge.
LandPKS is being developed to help users determine the sustainable potential of their land, including its restoration potential, based on its unique soil, topography and climate. The land potential assessments will be updated based on new evidence regarding the success or failure of new management and restoration systems on different soils. The knowledge engine, together with mobile phone applications and cloud computing technologies, will facilitate more rapid and complete integration of local and scientific knowledge into land management. The current version (3.0, 2018) supports the collection and automated storage and sharing of the basic information needed to determine land potential (LandInfo module). It also includes a LandCover module for vegetation inventory and monitoring.
Modules available as of June 2019 are :
LandInfo – for rapid soil (texture, color) characterization, soil identification, and accessing soil and ecological site information.

  • Predicts soil infiltration & plant available water-holding capacity (AWC) at variable soil organic matter (SOM)
  • Determines Land Capability Class (LCC) for sustainable land use planning and management
  • Determines Soil Color using the phone's camera and a standardized reference card
  • SoilID (early 2019) – matches user inputs to global soil databases to identify the soil

LandCover – for rapid vegetation monitoring (vegetation composition, plant height, and canopy/basal gaps).

  • NRCS/BLM-compatible methods
  • Used for rangeland monitoring, natural resource conservation, and crop residue monitoring
  • Determines vegetation composition, plant height, and canopy/basal gaps

LandManagement (early 2019) – on-farm record-keeping (inputs, management, yields)

  • Provides data summaries

  • Allows for record keeping about crops, fertilizer, lime, irrigation, rainfall, erosion control, tillage, etc.
    Other Modules coming soon: SoilHealth and Biomass/Utilization.

    Resources in this dataset:

    • Resource Title: Website Pointer for LandPKS.

      File Name: Web Page, url:

      LandPKS is a system for storing and accessing user data, as well providing access to knowledge that can inform sustainable land management. It can be downloaded from both the iTunes and Google Play Stores for free. The LandPKS app includes the following features (with many more currently in development):

    • Long-term climate data

    • Soil texture guide

    • Soil color determination

    • Land capability classification results

    • Vegetation monitoring with the LandCover module

    • Photos and notes

    • Instant results in the Report

    • Downloadable pdf report

    • Spanish language translations (French and Swahili to be released soon)



USDA-ARS: Jornada Experimental Range

New Mexico State University

University of Colorado Boulder: SILC - Sustainability Innovation Lab at Colorado

United States Agency for International Development

World Bank Group


U.S. Bureau of Land Management


Data contact name

Herrick, Jeffrey E.

Data contact email


LandPotential Project

Intended use

LandPKS is being developed to help users determine the sustainable potential of their land, including its restoration potential, based on its unique soil, topography and climate.


  • Not specified

Geographic location - description


ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • farming
  • geoscientificInformation
  • imageryBaseMapsEarthCover
  • planningCadastre

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Jornada Experimental Range
  • Long-Term Agroecosystem Research

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

databases; models; soil; water holding capacity; soil organic matter; land classification; sustainable land management; land use planning; soil color; cameras; vegetation; monitoring; botanical composition; plant height; canopy; rangelands; natural resources conservation; crop residues; crops; fertilizers; irrigation; rain; erosion control; tillage; soil texture; soil classification; infiltration (hydrology); soil hydraulic properties; computer software; application programming interface; mobile telephones; computer techniques; data collection; cloud computing; photographs; photography; digital images; vegetation cover; soil ecology; soil erosion; canopy gaps; land management; farm management; farm records; crop management; citizen participation

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Herrick, Jeffrey E.; Quandt, Amy; Kenny, Ciaran; Contreras, Maximilian; Neff, Jason; Jang, Won Seok; Maynard, Jonathan; Peacock, George; Salley, Shawn; Daniel, Elifadhili; Buni, Adane; Ndungu, Lilian; Herrera, Jolene M.; Nguyen, Thanh; Terrones, Luis; Karl, Jason; Kimiti, David; Nauman, Travis; Uruma, Kevin; Schrader, Scott; Courtright, Ericha; Van Zee, Justin (2019). LandPKS (Land Potential Knowledge System): Mobile App for Extension, Land-Use and Project Planning, M&E and On-Farm Research. LandPotential Project.