International Soil Reference and Information Centre

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(ISRIC - World Soil Information)


ISRIC - World Soil Information is an independent, science-based foundation. The institute was founded in 1966 following a recommendation of the International Society of Soil Science (ISSS, now International Union of Soil Sciences| (IUSS)) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It has a mission to serve the international community with information about the world’s soil resources to help addressing major global issues.[1]

Main focus areas[edit]

Recent developments at ISRIC are succinctly described in a series of Annual Highlights.[2] [3]

Together with partners, ISRIC produces, gathers, compiles and serves quality-assessed soil information at global, national and regional levels. ISRIC stimulate the use of this information to address global challenges through capacity building, awareness raising and direct cooperation with users and clients. Details re provided on the following website website.

Data holdings and webservices[edit]

Our reference collection includes country documentation (reports, maps and slides), soil specimens (monoliths, samples, thin sections, hand specimens). Physical examples of our soil monolith collection are on permanent display in the World Soil Museum.

Building of the World Soil Museum, Wageningen campus

ISRIC also manages and develops geo-referenced databases (point, polygon, and raster). Since 2010, ISRIC has been developing GSIF (Global Soil Information Facilities)[4] a framework for safeguarding, handling and producing of open soil data. Freely available products provided by ISRIC include a set of standardised soil profile data for the world served from WoSIS[5] and a collection of updatable soil property and class maps of the world at 1 km [6] and 250 m [7] spatial resolution (SoilGrids) produced using automated soil mapping based on machine learning algorithms.

Our on-line resources can be accessed via:

Location of soil profiles served from WOSIS (July 2016)

World Data Centre for Soils (WDC - Soils)[edit]

ISRIC became a regular member of the ICSU World Data System in 2011; it has been a member of the former ICSU World Data Center since 1989. Within ICSU-WDS, ISRIC is still known as the WDC-Soils.

Useful links[edit]


  1. ^ IYPE (2005). Soil - Earth’s living skin, International Year of Planet Earth, Tronsheim (NO) (PDF) (Report). p. 16. 
  2. ^ ISRIC (2016). Annual Highlights 2014-2015 (PDF) (Report). p. 9. 
  3. ^ ISRIC (2014). Annual Highlights 2012-2013 (PDF) (Report). p. 12. 
  4. ^ Batjes, Niels H.; Reuter, Hannes I.; Tempel, Piet; Leenaars, J.G.B.; Hengl, Tom; Bindraban, P.S. (2013). "Development of global soil information facilities". Data Science Journal. 12: 70–74. doi:10.2481/dsj.WDS-009. 
  5. ^ Batjes, Niels H.; Ribeiro, Eloi; van Oostrum, Ad; Leenaars, Johan; Hengl, Tom; Mendes de Jesus, Jorge (2017). "WoSIS: providing standardised soil profile data for the world". Earth System Science Data. 9: 1–9. doi:10.5194/essd-9-1-2017. 
  6. ^ Hengl, Tom; Mendes de Jesus, Jorge; McMillan, R.A.; Batjes, Niels H.; Heuvelink, G.B.M.; Ribeiro, Eloi C.; Samuel-Rosa, Allesandro; Kempen, Bas; Leenaars, J.G.B.; Walsh, M.G.; Ruiperez Gonzalez, Maria G. (2014). "SoilGrids1km — global soil information based on automated mapping". PLoS ONE 9: e105992. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105992. 
  7. ^ Hengl, Tom; Mendes de Jesus, Jorge; Heuvelink, G.B.M.; Ruiperez Gonzalez, Maria; Kilibarda, M; Blagotic, A.; Shangguan, W.; Wright, W.M.; Geng, X.; Bauer-Marschallinger, B.; Guevara, M.A.; Geng, X.; Bauer-Marschallinger, B.; Guevara, M.A.; Vargas, R.; MacMillan, R.A.; Batjes, Niels H.; Leenaars, J.G.B.; Wheeler, I.; Mantel, S.; Kempen, B. (2017). "SoilGrids250m: Global gridded soil information based on machine learning". PLoS ONE 12(2): e0169748.