Welcome to WOSSAC

The mission of the World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC) at Cranfield University, UK, is to provide a secure home for soil survey reports, maps, imagery and photographs produced over the last 80 years from 360 territories worldwide, with a view to ensuring their enduring availability and protection. WOSSAC holds:

Maps

Maps and charts of soil and environmental themes worldwide

Books

Extensive soil survey reports, books and monographs

Photographs and imagery

Soil-related photographs and historical satellite imagery

Datasets

Soil profile data, land characteristics and statistical environmental information

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Hosted at Cranfield University, UK

As the UK's only exclusively postgraduate university, Cranfield University's world-class expertise, large-scale facilities and unrivalled industry partnerships is creating leaders in technology and management globally.

Environment and Agrifood

For 50 years, Cranfield has been contributing to enhancing natural capital and ensuring that global food systems are more resilient for the future. We are recognised worldwide by industry, government and academe for our research and teaching in plants, soil, water and air.

Soil science

Our research spans from basic aspects of soil physics, chemistry and biology to soil resource evaluation, sustainable soil management, soil conservation and land restoration.

QUEEN’S ANNIVERSARY PRIZE

Cranfield University is delighted to announce that, for the fifth time in its history, it has been the proud recipient of a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize, in recognition of research and education in large-scale soil and environmental data for the sustainable use of natural resources in the UK and worldwide. Cranfield is one of only eight institutions to have won the award on five or more separate occasions.

This is the first time in the Prize”s history that an award has been given for soil science. Cranfield University's world-class expertise, large-scale facilities and unrivalled industry partnerships is creating leaders in technology and management globally.

Our prize was made ‘In recognition of research and education in large-scale soil and environmental data for the sustainable use of natural resources in the UK and worldwide’. The WOSSAC Archive and related soil facilities played a critical part in this success story for the University.

Queen's Anniversay Award logo

Case studies

The WOSSAC Archive and its many resources can be of enormous assistance for a range of applications and activities, from national and regional strategic land planning, to managing development and relief efforts, to the conduct of academic research. WOSSAC contains a huge wealth of unique reports, maps, manuscripts, photographs and albums covering scores of countries around the world over a period of many decades. The following examples give an idea of how the WOSSAC archive is being used to further development aid, relief work and research.

Blog

Recent news and updates from the WOSSAC archive. See All the blogs »

Publication of WOSSAC research on the use of Malaysian oil palm bio-waste as fertiliser

WOSSAC recognised in Computers and Electronics in Agriculture

Following up from the news item in 1916, the WOSSAC team has expanded the collaborative research project in the Newton – Ungku Omar programme of 2015 -2016., in which the feasibility of utilising various by-products from the harvesting and processing of oil palm in Malaysia to produce cost-effective bio-fertilisers was examined.

Publication of WOSSAC research the East African origins of the catena concept

WOSSAC recognised in Catena

A short note in the 2017 blog outlined a study of the work of early soil surveyors in Tanzania and how this led to the development of the catena concept. The concept postulates that in large parts of the world distinctly different soils can occur on a single slope, but the same sequence of soils and associated vegetation types is repeated from crest to valley over large areas that are relatively homogeneous with respect to geology and macroclimate. The concept has been of great help in understanding the spatial distribution of soils, in practical soil surveys, and in providing a framework for pedological and soil management research.

Publication of WOSSAC-related items in the 40th anniversary issue of Agriculture for Development

WOSSAC update in TAA Journal

The 37th issue of the journal Agriculture for Development in 2019 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Tropical Agriculture Association, the main UK body for the study of research, development and management in tropical agriculture. It includes two items related to WOSSAC.