Land Resources

HWSD Database

The data available on this page is automatically installed with the HWSD Viewer, in a subdirectory called "Data" of the installation directory. The data is duplicated here for those who do not wish to install the viewer, or already have the viewer and only want to update or repair the database. If updates to the database are necessary and created, they will be documented here.




Raster soil map in .bil file format



Soil Attribute Database (MS Access)



Soil Attribute Database metadata


If you have a version of the HWSD viewer installed and wish only to update the database, the files above can be copied into the "Data" directory of the installation directory (by default c:\Program Files\HWSD_v1.xx\Data). In order to update the raster ( in the viewer, the cache directory must also be deleted.

Updates and fixes in HWSD version 1.10 (dated 25.03.09)

  • SOTWIS information has been added for Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Senegal, and Rwanda.
    • The raster file was updated to match.
  • T_TEXTURE, DRAINAGE, and AWC_CLASS were recalculated for all records originating from SOTWIS data. T_TEXTURE now correctly corresponds to the FAO'90 definition.

Updates and fixes in HWSD version 1.05 (dated 11.11.08)

  • Soil phase information updated and repaired
    • Soil phases previously listed as soil phase 0 or "no phase" or "no information" were set to NULL.
    • Soil phases 24 ( No limitation to agricultural use) and 29 (Excessively drained) were set to NULL due to inconsistencies in these definitions.
    • When a soil mapping unit previously had a phase 2 but no phase 1, the phase 1 was set to the previous phase 2 and phase 2 was set to NULL
  • Some Leptosols and Lithosols previously were listed with a Lithic phase. The phase has now been set to NULL
  • Incorrect parameters in LPu units have been fixed
  • Some LP soils in the database previously had subsoil attributes. Subsoil attributes for LP soils have now been corrected and set to NULL.
  • “LP” soils should have no phase indicating "Obstacles to Rooting" (ROO) or presence of "Impermeable Layer" (IL) and should have no indication of "Soil Water Regime". This has also been fixed in version 1.05

Updates and fixes in HWSD version 1.04 build 3 (dated 19.09.08)

  • Percentage silt, sand, and clay were rounded corrected for the newly added mapping units to ensure they added to 100%. (In the case where rounding the numbers would produce a sum of only 99%, the percentage with the highest decimal was rounded up. If all were xx.33%, the highest percentage was rounded up.)
  • USDA soil texture and reference bulk density were recalculated on the rounded numbers for percentage sand, silt, and clay. (The previous calculations had been done on the original numbers, but only the rounded numbers were stored in the database.)

Updates and fixes in HWSD version 1.04 (dated 11.09.08)

  • Missing soil mapping units from SOTWIS (RU6888, RU7008, RU7472, RU7583) were added
  • Raster corrections made
    • old 7000 mapped to 7003 except for
      • France, west of Paris: row/col 4897/21770 to 4945/21822
      • Croatia: row/col 5518/24113 to 5570/24168
      • Serbia: row/col 5305/23575 to 5415/23725
    • old 999 mapped to 7000 (for Svalbard only)
  • Linkages in the database were fixed:
    • linkage between HWSD_MU and D_SYMBOL: CODE was erroneously linked to D_SYMBOL and is now corrected so that CODE links with SU_CODE, not SU_SYMBOL
    • linkage between HWSD_DATA and D_ISSOIL: now properly links ISSOIL with CODE, not VALUE
  • A new image with legend for barren/very sparsely vegetated land was added to the supplementary data, replacing the old.
  • Documentation was updated with slightly more information on queries.

Data Citation
Fischer, G., F. Nachtergaele, S. Prieler, H.T. van Velthuizen, L. Verelst, D. Wiberg, 2008. Global Agro-ecological Zones Assessment for Agriculture (GAEZ 2008). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria and FAO, Rome, Italy.

Data format Information

Data Format Information