International Year of Soil event

[4 December 2015]

International Year of Soil event

“Healthy soils for a healthy life” – this is the motto of the International Year of Soils 2015 (IYS2015) which the UN have declared in order to make people aware about the wonderland below our feet.

It has been a special year for ISRIC-World Soil Information, with many IYS2015 activities going on, but also the development of new products for the international community. ISRIC wishes to take the opportunity of an event on 4 December 2015 jointly organised by us and the Dutch Soil Science Society (NBV) to showcase for you some of our most exciting developments.

The venue will be Gaia 1-2, with the programme foreseen as follows:

13.30 – 13:40

Bas Kempen – Developments in Global Soil Information
Abstract: This presentation highlights some past and current developments in Global Soil Information with special attention to developments at ISRIC, as an introduction to the three following presentations.

13.40 – 14:05

Niels Batjes – WoSIS2: Towards the standardisation and harmonisation of world soil data
URL for more info:
Abstract: During 2015, the database structure and technical documentation for the ISRIC World Soil Information Service (WoSIS) have been updated. Some 98,000 profiles from disparate sources have been imported into WoSIS 2; some 76,000 of these are georeferenced within defined limits. Special attention has been paid to the standardization of soil analytical method descriptions with focus on the set of soil properties considered in the GlobalSoilMap specifications. Newly developed procedures for the above, that consider the soil property, analytical method and unit of measurement, have been applied to the present set of geo-referenced soil profile data. The resulting standardised data set is scheduled to be made available through a web service hosted by ISRIC - World Soil Information in late December 2015, pending the release of ISRIC’s evolving GeoNode. In view of its global scope, WoSIS will always remain ‘work in progress’; proposed future developments will be discussed.

14:05 – 14:30

Tom Hengl – SoilGrids250m and SoilInfo App: providing public access to soil information across borders
URL for more info: : and
Abstract: In 2014 ISRIC released SoilGrid1km (first version of global soil property and class maps based on automated mapping; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105992) and a mobile phone App to serve 2D and 3D soil information globally in near real time. This system has been upgraded to spatial resolution of 250 m and which has also resulted in significant accuracy improvements. The presentation will discuss system design and accuracy assessment results and provide simple guidelines on how to access soil data at point and polygon support.

14:30 – 14:55

Jorge Mendes de Jesus: A virtual walk through the world soils (Virtual Soil Museum)
URL for more info:
Abstract: Content of the ISRIC World Soil Museum is gradually being digitized so that soon most of the content (images of soil profiles, stories, maps and visualizations) will be accessible via ISRIC's website. The presentation will show some demos of the new functionality and announce the upcoming release of the Virtual Soil Museum. Click here to take a virtual tour!

14:55 – 15:30

Open discussion

15.30 – 16:30

Live presentation (webinar) from FAO Rome by Ronald Vargas

Live presentation (webinar) from USDA-ARS-Jornada Experimental Range by Jeff Herrick "Global Collaboration to Support Soil Health Restoration and Sustainable Land Management Based on an Understanding of Land Potential"
Abstract: Increasingly hopeful claims are being made about the possible impacts of soil restoration and management systems on climate change mitigation, food security, and reducing poverty and conflict. The first section of this talk provides an assessment of the supporting evidence for some of these claims, focusing on the strategies that have received the greatest attention in the popular press. The second section shows how an understanding of land potential can increase the success of innovative strategies. The presentation concludes with a discussion of some exciting new opportunities for collaboration in sharing knowledge and information through mobile apps where ISRIC plays an increasingly key role.

Guided tours in the ISRIC World Soil Museum

(in front of Gaia 1_2)

16.30 – 17:30

Exhibition of soil-shaped / illustrated meals

Access is free, but please register if you intend to come as space is limited. We would be delighted if you should take this opportunity and celebrate the International Year of Soil 2015 and World Soil Day (5 December) with us!

You are more than welcome to also join in for the morning programme, a theme day on soil data organised by NBV (in Dutch). Access to this event is free for NBV members, and €10 for non-members.