WoSIS: providing standardised soil profile data for the world

N.H. Batjes*, E.D. Carvalho Ribeiro, A.J.M. van Oostrum, J.G.B. Leenaars, T. Hengl, J.S. Mendes de Jesus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the World Soil Information Service (WoSIS) is to serve quality-assessed, georeferenced soil data (point, polygon, and grid) to the international community upon their standardisation and harmonisation. So far, the focus has been on developing procedures for legacy point data with special attention to the selection of soil analytical and physical properties considered in the GlobalSoilMap specifications (e.g. organic carbon, soil pH, soil texture (sand, silt, and clay), coarse fragments ( <  2 mm), cation exchange capacity, electrical conductivity, bulk density, and water holding capacity). Profile data managed in WoSIS were contributed by a wide range of soil data providers; the data have been described, sampled, and analysed according to methods and standards in use in the originating countries. Hence, special attention was paid to measures for soil data quality and the standardisation of soil property definitions, soil property values, and soil analytical method descriptions. At the time of writing, the full WoSIS database contained some 118 400 unique “shared” soil profiles, of which some 96 000 are georeferenced within defined limits. In total, this corresponds with over 31 million soil records, of which some 20 % have so far been quality-assessed and standardised using the sequential procedure discussed in this paper. The number of measured data for each property varies between profiles and with depth, generally depending on the purpose of the initial studies. Overall, the data lineage strongly determined which data could be standardised with acceptable confidence in accord with WoSIS procedures, corresponding to over 4 million records for 94 441 profiles. The publicly available data – WoSIS snapshot of July 2016 – are persistently accessible from ISRIC WDC-Soils through doi:10.17027/isric-wdcsoils.20160003.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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