Review of soil information systems and (digital) soil mapping activities in Europe to foster soil mapping in Switzerland

Recently, many changes have been proposed to soil sampling and soil mapping methods. This study investigates in current soil mapping campaigns and soil information systems within Europe to foster soil mapping in Switzerland.

Fiche signalétique

  • Département HESB|Haute école des sciences agronomiques,forestières et alimentaires
  • Pôle de recherche Systèmes de production agricole économes en ressources
  • Champ de recherche Production végétale
  • Organisme de financement FNS
  • Durée (prévue) 01.05.2017 - 31.03.2018
  • Responsable du projet Stéphane Burgos
  • Direction du projet Stéphane Burgos
  • Équipe du projet Stéphane Burgos
    Madlene Nussbaum
  • Partenaires - secteur privé BABU GmbH
  • Partenaires - établissements de recherche, y c. BFH IBP ETH Zürich
    NABO Agroscope
  • Partenaires - secteur public BAFU
  • Mots-clés contemporary soil mapping, review, Europe, soil information systems

Contexte initial

Human well being depends on soils in many ways. To sensibly manage the non-renewable resource soil for food production, natural hazards mitigation or spatial planning we need detailed spatial information on its properties. Soil mapping is costly and often time consuming. Research to improve soil information methodology is part of our work at HAFL. Learning from experiences made in other countries is therefore essential.


This study aims to generate an general overview of the soil mapping activities and soil information systems in Europe. Besides, we aim to give detailed insight for selected countries and to formulate recommendations for Switzerland.

Compétences clés

Review of gray literature, expert interviews, cartographic visualizations, synthesis and recommendations


A first overview revealed the rich soil data availability in many countries, mainly in Eastern Europe where a large amount of soil data has been gathered until the late 80ies. However, for some countries only overview soil maps exist. Detailed maps needed for many applications remain patchy.


Currently, the situation in selected countries is assessed in more detail to learn the potential of certain approaches and tools. Following this project phase, the results are summarized in a report.