Standardised soil profile data to support global mapping and modelling (WoSIS snapshot 2019)

Niels H. Batjes*, Eloi Ribeiro, Ad Van Oostrum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The World Soil Information Service (WoSIS) provides quality-assessed and standardised soil profile data to support digital soil mapping and environmental applications at broadscale levels. Since the release of the first "WoSIS snapshot", in July 2016, many new soil data were shared with us, registered in the ISRIC data repository and subsequently standardised in accordance with the licences specified by the data providers. Soil profile data managed inWoSIS were contributed by a wide range of data providers; therefore, special attention was paid to measures for soil data quality and the standardisation of soil property definitions, soil property values (and units of measurement) and soil analytical method descriptions. We presently consider the following soil chemical properties: organic carbon, total carbon, total carbonate equivalent, total nitrogen, phosphorus (extractable P, total P and P retention), soil pH, cation exchange capacity and electrical conductivity. We also consider the following physical properties: soil texture (sand, silt, and clay), bulk density, coarse fragments and water retention. Both of these sets of properties are grouped according to analytical procedures that are operationally comparable. Further, for each profile we provide the original soil classification (FAO, WRB, USDA), version and horizon designations, insofar as these have been specified in the source databases. Measures for geographical accuracy (i.e. location) of the point data, as well as a first approximation for the uncertainty associated with the operationally defined analytical methods, are presented for possible consideration in digital soil mapping and subsequent earth system modelling. The latest (dynamic) set of quality-assessed and standardised data, called "wosis-latest", is freely accessible via an OGC-compliant WFS (web feature service). For consistent referencing, we also provide time-specific static "snapshots". The present snapshot (September 2019) is comprised of 196 498 geo-referenced profiles originating from 173 countries. They represent over 832 000 soil layers (or horizons) and over 5.8 million records. The actual number of observations for each property varies (greatly) between profiles and with depth, generally depending on the objectives of the initial soil sampling programmes. In the coming years, we aim to fill gradually gaps in the geographic distribution and soil property data themselves, this subject to the sharing of a wider selection of soil profile data for so far under-represented areas and properties by our existing and prospective partners. Part of this work is foreseen in conjunction within the Global Soil Information System (GloSIS) being developed by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP). The "WoSIS snapshot-September 2019" is archived and freely accessible at (Batjes et al., 2019).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-320
Number of pages22
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2020


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