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ISRIC - World Soil Information-Visit what is probably the largest soil library in the world.

Visit what is probably the largest soil library in the world.  ISRIC provides online access to 8000 digitized maps and 15.000 reports and books. Do not miss the Library and map collection

Do you need soil information for your study area, your country or the whole world? The ISRIC library has built up a collection of around 10,000 (digitized) maps and 17,000 reports and books. Many of these materials can be accessed online.

Since 1966, 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, land degradation, 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 the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) as a foundation for the European Digital Archive of Soil Maps (EuDASM). The main objective was to transfer soil information into digital format, with the maximum resolution possible, to preserve the information of paper maps that are vulnerable to deterioration.

The ISRIC library page has a powerful search function. A search can be done by author name, title words, keywords or country name, using basic and advanced search options. There is also the possibility to search on geographic coordinates.

Some 80% of the maps are now digitized and these 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 for incorporation in the collection.

References on the library page include external databases, national and international organisations, electronic books hosted by third parties, newsletters, journals, and reference materials related to soil science.

The physical collection is housed at Wageningen Campus, the Netherlands, and is publicly accessible by isric.library [at] (appointment).

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Soil is connected to several of the UN Sustainable Developments Goals

ISRIC can support you with spatial information on soils for your area of interest. We can also develop tailor-made applications, for example for land use planning, agricultural projects or sustainable business development.

An ever increasing number of companies have sustainability as a key strategic objective ultimately to sustain their relevance and profit. However soil is often overlooked by companies as an essential natural resource which, when wisely managed, contributes to the sustainability objectives.   

Below you will find examples of sectors where we can make a difference: 

  • Ministries of Agriculture and Ministries of Environment: soil mapping, soil fertility assessments, nutrient gap maps, identification of hot spots for carbon sequestration, land suitability assessments.
  • Land use planning agencies: assessments of land degradation, land suitability assessments, identification of sustainable land management practices, etc.
  • Agri-business: soil-crop information systems that help in the development of site specific fertiliser formulations
  • Food industry: help identifying site-specific good soil and land management practices for and with your suppliers )
  • Finance sector: risk assessments
  • ICT sector: remote sensing tools incorporating soil resources for analytical purposes).

Related links and publications: