European Digital Archive of Soil Maps

Project Description
For some 40 years, ISRIC – World Soil Information has been providing significant support to the international science community by collecting and archiving regional-, national- and global-scale maps of soils and land resources.

Despite effective procedures for storage and maintenance, most organizations involved in archiving struggle to arrest the deterioration of paper maps and the quality of information they contain. Deterioration occurs for various reasons that include handling, transport, exposure to light, moisture and atmospheric pollution.

Realizing the need to conserve the information on existing maps, which underpin the fast-developing thematic mapping strategies to support soil protection, the Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IES) in the European Commission (Italy) and ISRIC – World Soil Information initiated the European Digital Archive of Soil Maps (EuDASM). The immediate objective is to transfer soil information into digital format, with the maximum resolution possible, to preserve the information of paper maps that are vulnerable to deterioration.

Beyond data rescue, the archive is expected to develop into a common platform for storing soil maps from around the world and making the information readily accessible. Organisations that maintain soil map archives in paper form, and wishing to conserve this information by transferring it into digital form, are invited to join the EuDASM programme.

The initiative for this programme was taken by Dr Luca Montanarella of the European Joint Research Centre and Dr Otto Spaargaren of ISRIC – World Soil Information in October 2004. The first level success for this initiative was figured out by completion of the around 2000 soil maps pertaining to the African continent. Through this digitization programme the map quality and precision of information were preserved against further loss assuming to be required for future use by land resources specialists.

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