World Data Centre for Soils


ISRIC - World Soil Information obtained the status of International Council for Science (ICSU) World Data Centre (WDC) in 1989, in recognition of its unique collection of soil monoliths, maps and reports on the geography of soils and related natural resources. Initially named WDC for Soil Geography and Classification, it was later renamed to WDC-Soils to reflect the broadened scope of its long-term soil data stewardship.  

In August 2011, ISRIC was accredited as regular member - node that deals directly with data curation and data analysis services- of the then newly established ICSU World Data System (WDS). The "WDS will support ICSU’s mission and objectives, ensuring the long-term stewardship and provision of quality-assessed data and data services to the international science community and other stakeholders".The WDS is registered as a Participating Organization of the intergovermental Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

The WDS builds on the 50-year legacy of the ICSU World Data Centre system (WDC) and the ICSU Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical data-Qanalysis Services. The WDS concept aims at a transition from existing stand-alone WDCs and individual Services to a common globally interoperable distributed data system, that incorporates emerging technologies and new scientific data activities.  









Overview of ISRIC WDC-Soils holdings


Recent developments

Recent and ongoing developments at the WDC-Soils were presented at the:

  1. 1st ICSU World Data Centre Conference (3-6 Sept. 2011, Kyoto, Japan)  [Paper]
  2. WDS/CODATA DataSciCon2014 Conference (2-5 Nov. 2014, Delhi, India)  [PosterPresentation; see also related ISRIC Report]
  3. CFCC15 "Our common feature under climate change" (7-10 July 2015, Paris, France) [Presentation, Abstract]
  4. NBV-ISRIC thematic day on “Soil data – New developments and applications”  (4 December 2015, Wageningen, Netherlands) [WoSiS2 ; SoilGrids ; VSM


Focus areas

The WDC-Soils at ISRIC provides a focus for soil-related collections and information services as custodian of global soil information.  An important aspect is the WDC data rescue program, safeguarding older (legacy) data which may be at risk of loss or deterioration, and digitizing old data sets/materials. In this context, ISRIC is welcoming additional soil maps and reports for possible inclusion in the WDC- Soils holdings (more ...)

Both analogue and digital data are collated, maintained and analyzed. Analogue data are held in filling cabinets and the ISRIC - World Soil Library, which focuses on country documentation (grey literature). ISRIC operates a GeoNetwork facility to host and harvest soil-related metadata; ISRIC-derived digital datasets are also characterized in the WDC Portal of the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD).

ISRIC is in the process of developing and implementing a range of web map and process services. Many of these products are being generated in close collaboration with the Global Soil PatnershipGlobalSoilMapAfrica Soil Information Service and other partners for the broader benefit of the international scientific community and other stakeholders. ISRIC is a member of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and a co-initator of the ongoing 'Soil data OGC interoperability trial'.

Digital data in the repository are available, in accordance with the licence specified by the data provider (see ISRIC Data Policy), through our website using pointers to various servers. Our collections of soil monoliths and related reference materials are stored at our premises in Wageningen; these may be studied on-site. A selection of our soil monoliths is on display in the World Soil Museum.

ISRIC WDC-Soils holdings and web-based services  


● Web-based services