ISRIC is involved in various collaborative capacity building and innovation projects that focus on the application of soil data in adressing global development issues, including:
- Development of global soil grids using digital soil mapping (SoilGrids)
- Development of a new 90m resolution digital soil map of the world using geo-statistical approaches (GlobalSoilMap.net)
- Development of a new digital soil map of the world using traditional soil mapping (WISE30sec)
- Development of a World Soil and Terrain Digital database (SOTER; e-SOTER)
- Global assessment of land and ecosystem degradation and improvement (GLADA; WRI)
- Green Water Credits; payment for environmental services (GWC)
- Conservation approaches and technologies (WOCAT, RECARE)
- Carbon sequestration potential of grazing lands in Sub-Sahara Africa (USAID-SOC)
- Carbon mapping in Tanzania (TZ-SOC)
- Soil nutrient dynamics, nutrient depletion and the sustainability of agro-ecosystems (Geospatial farm fertilizer analysis)
- Enhancing on-line availability of quality-assessed data and information through the WDC-Soils
For our track record please see here.
- ISRIC compiles, archives, analyzes and distributes data on world soil resources, typically in the framework of collaborative projects.
- We co-develop uniform methodologies for collecting and analyzing soil-related data.
- Databases can be accessed through Data & Applications.
- Rules and policies governing data supply by ISRIC are conform those laid down by the World Data Centre System
Library and map collection
Do you need soil information for the Kilifi area, Zimbabwe, Asia or the whole world? The ISRIC library has built up a collection of around 8000 (digitized) maps and 15.000 reports and books; many of these materials can be accessed on-line.
Over the last 45 years, ISRIC - World Soil Information has compiled a large collection of articles, country reports, books and maps with emphasis on the developing countries. The subject emphasis is on soils, but related geographic information on climate, geology, geomorphology, vegetation, land use, and land suitability is also collated.
The map collection contains mainly small-scale (1:250.000 or smaller) maps. Many of these are accompanied by reports and related thematic and derived materials. A significant part of the ISRIC map collection was scanned at JRC as a foundation for the European Digital Archive of Soil Maps (EuDASM).
Metadata for all items in the collection can be queried using the online ISRIC World Soil Information Document Database; searches can be by name of the author, title words, keywords or country names, using basic and advanced search options.
Some 80% of the maps are digitized and can be downloaded at high resolution and viewed on screen with a zoom facility. Over 30% of the country reports is currently available as full text (PDF). Scanning of ISRIC's library holdings is ongoing; new materials are always welcome.
The ISRIC World Soil Information Document Database also provides to links to external databases, national and international organizations, electronic books hosted by third parties, newsletters, journals, and reference materials related to soil science.
The collection is housed at Droevendaalsesteeg 3, 6708 PB, building 101 in Wageningen and is publicly accessible.
Training and Education
ISRIC’s Training & Education Programme serves the international community with a wide array of courses and lectures on global soils, soil and terrain classification, soil mapping and soil information systems, as well as on the use and importance of soil information for the sustainable management of planet Earth.
ISRIC has a long-standing tradition in teaching about Soils of the World, especially in relation to the World Soil Museum where guided tours are provided on a regular basis.
Courses and lectures
Once a year ISRIC organisises a Spring School for beginning and experienced soil scientists that wish to deepen or refresh their knowledge about diverse soil science related topics, including advances in soil geoinformatics. The 5-days Spring School is organised in Wageningen and includes a visit to the World Soil Museum. Topics may vary year by year and are chosen from the list of training modules. Detailed information about the latest and upcoming Spring School and registration instructions is given here.
ISRIC also provides courses and lectures tailored to specific user groups. In close cooperation with ISRIC staff, interested parties can compose a course from the list of modules. Often these courses are given at the local host, who also takes care of the logistics and recruitment of course participants. ISRIC applies reduced rates to strategic collaborative institutions and participants from ODA-listed countries. For more information, contact Stephan Mantel (soils of the world and soil use and management) or Gerard Heuvelink (soil statistics and soil information systems).
ISRIC offers MSc students the possibility to gain experience in an academic working environment by contributing to an on-going project under the supervision of an ISRIC staff member. Internships typically last between three and six months. More information about the application procedure and a list of topics is given here.
MSc thesis research
Students that wish to do their MSc thesis research with ISRIC, must first find a supervisor from their university that supports this and agrees with the student working on his or her thesis at ISRIC. Next there must also be an ISRIC staff member who is an expert on the chosen topic and takes the role of co-supervisor. In practice, most students that do their MSc thesis with ISRIC are students from Wageningen University because ISRIC is situated on the Wageningen University campus and regular meetings with supervisor and co-supervisor are easy to arrange. However, in principle ISRIC also welcomes students from other universities. Please contact Gerard Heuvelink if you are interested.
PhD thesis research
PhD students that wish to spend part of their research with ISRIC can apply to the guest researcher programme. In such a case, ISRIC has no formal role in the PhD procedure although the ISRIC staff member that hosts the guest researcher might be involved as one of the thesis supervisors. ISRIC also welcomes students that wish to conduct their complete PhD research under the joint guidance and supervision of an ISRIC staff member and a promotor from Wageningen University or another university. For this a formal registration procedure is required,e.g. see here for details about the Wageningen University procedure. Students typically need to arrange their own funding and must satisfy the entrance requirements of Wageningen University or other university or pass a Qualifying Examination at the start of their stay in Wageningen. Contact Gerard Heuvelink for more information.
World Soil Museum
Earth’s living skin
Soils are truly wonderful. They are the major support systems of human life and welfare. They provide anchorage for roots and hold water and nutrients long enough for plants and micro-organisms to make use of it. In fact, most of the land’s biodiversity lives in the soil, not above ground. Without soils the Earth’s landscape would be as barren as Mars.
Read more about soils and their fascinating diversity
World Soil Museum
In the World Soil Museum of ISRIC, visitors can learn about the role of soils in life and ecosystems and get an impression of the enormous variation of soil types in the world, from the colourful volcanic ash soil from Indonesia to the man-made Terra Preta soil from the Amazon. The museum displays soil monoliths with accompanying data including a full profile description, soil chemical and physical data, and information on the landscape and land-use.