Building a global soil database
Mismanagement of soil and land use leads to uncontrolled environmental impacts from farming and other human activities, and eventually to the degradation of important resources. There is thus an urgent need for a soil database to help farmers and environmental policymakers make better decisions about land management. The EU funded a project called 'Regional pilot platform as EU contribution to a global soil observing system' (E-SOTER) to deliver a pilot platform for soil data collection and analysis. The project was tested in four representative windows in China, Europe and Morocco. E-SOTER delivered on its promise by producing a working, web-based platform that provided soil data on the 1:250 000 and 1:1 000 000 scales. The platform includes data on terrain, soil type and soil patterns. Project partners also developed a way to standardise old soil data for inclusion in the new database. Another outcome of the project was a method for data collection that can be used anywhere in the world. The E-SOTER pilot system for a global soil and terrain database has been adopted by the European Soil Bureau Network to update the European Soil Database. Future work will extend the use of E-SOTER to the rest of the world.