Land and Water Digital Media Series

Soil and Physiographic Database for North and Central EURASIA

at 1:5 million Scale
FAO, Land and Water Digital Media Series n7,
December 1999,
ISBN 92-5-104353-1
Price: US$40.

The preparation of this database is part of a larger FAO programme that aims to produce a systematic update of a soil and terrain database for the whole world, and is supported by a number of international institutes and organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the International Soil Resources Information Centre (ISRIC)and the European Soil Bureau (ESB), and is only possible through the contribution of national soil institutes worldwide.
The digital soil and physiographic database for northern and central Eurasia covers China, Mongolia and all countries of the former Soviet Union. The soil information has been derived from several sources, in particular the 1:2.5 Million Soil Map of the Former Soviet Union prepared by Friedland in the Dokuchaiev Institute, Moscow; and the soil map of China at 1:4 million scale prepared by the Soil Science Institute of the Academia Sinica in Nan-Jing. All soil information has been correlated with the Revised Legend of the Soil Map of the World.
For Mongolia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, the physiographic coverage was prepared by the Dokuchaiev Institute according to the principles developed for soil and terrain databases (SOTER) by ISRIC, FAO and UNEP. For China, the physiographic layer was prepared as part of a larger project assessing land degradation in Asia according to the same principles.
For Russia and China an integration of the soil and physiographic layer has been carried out; for the other areas both layers have been prepared separately and no correlation has been attempted.
Apart from selected examples in the report on soils of China, the database does not contain any soil profile description nor soil analytical results. Documentation on the soils of Russia, the physiography of the former Soviet Union and on soils of China is included.
The results as presented here are in part provisional, as efforts are underway to produce a full SOTER database for Eastern Europe at 1:2.5 million scale which will improve the information available information for the European part of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. All the coverages are in Lambert Azimuthal Projection.

System requirements:
A Pentium PC with Windows 95/98 or /NT, at least 32 MB RAM and a 15" or larger colour monitor. For some maps it would be advisable to have a large screen with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels and a "colour palette" of 65536 colours.

Required Software
All the maps are provided in Arc/Info GIS software native format and export (*.E00) format. Therefore, Arc/Info or other GIS software that can read either of these formats would be required to access and use the maps in a GIS. However, if one would like to only display the maps, then, a software called ArcExplorer can be used, which can be downloaded free of charge from ESRI website (
Some of the above maps and their layouts/plots are provided also in ArcView Project (*.apr) format. These maps can be displayed and/or queried using ArcView software. All the textual documents are in MS-Word 97 or compatible format.

The ArcView *.apr (ArcView project files) can be run directly from the CD-ROM and can also be installed on the hard-disk. Instructions on how to proceed are contained in the readme.rtf file

Arc/Info, Arc/View and ArcExplorer are registered trademarks of ESRI, Inc.

To purchase the CD please send your order to:
Please address questions regarding technical aspects of the programs and any suggestions for improvement to:
Director, Land and Water Development Division