Soil Geographic Databases

There is an increasing amount of digital data available on the Internet or as large datasets on CD-ROM, from straight digital conversions of paper maps and databases to direct-to-digital products. Ten years ago I described these trends and issues (Soil Use & Management 20: Digital soil resource inventories: status and prospects); I am here compiling the databases currently available, and have described these and the trends in a presentation at the 6th Global Workshop on Digital Soil Mapping in Nanjing, 11-14 November 2014; here is the preprint and here is the book chapter on-line at Springer Link.

This page attempts to link to all available primary soils information usable in a GIS either as "point" observations or polygon maps; many of the linked sites also have interpreted information. I only link to freely-downloadable geographic databases and map scans. No interactive web maps or "please write for pricing" databases, no on-line text reports. These can be valuable sources of information but can not be used directly in GIS.

I've explained some aspects of SGDB in the ISRIC Spring School 2015, you can watch the hour-long presentation here




An up-to-date investigation of available soil geographic databases at this level is provided by an FAO report "State of the Art Report on Global and Regional Soil Information: Where are we? Where to go?", from the Global Soil Partnership.

"The present document represents an attempt to assemble relevant information on existing soil data at various scales throughout the world and on-going regional and global soil mapping initiatives. It aims at a) increasing users’ awareness on existing soil data and information, b)  encouraging informed and accurate application of it, c) understanding user needs in terms of soil data and information and d) understanding demands on soil data and information under the challenges of food security and climate change."

Datasets at this scale are primarily intended for global modelling; as such the resolution is coarse and the properties are typically averaged.





Dynamic soil status





Australia, Oceania, Antarctica


North America, Central America, Caribbean

Dynamic soil status

South America


e-mail: dgr2 (at)
Last modified: Wed Oct 26 13:31:38 EDT 2016

Valid HTML 4.0!