Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO

Web accessible digital soil map of Japan is now open

The Institute for Agro-environmental Sciences, NARO (NIAES) has developed a digital soil map with a scale of 1:200,000 showing the classification and distribution of soils in agricultural and non-agricultural lands nationwide. The website which can be accessed online starting today also includes an agricultural land soil map with a scale of 1:50,000 targeted mainly for farmlands. All information can be accessed as open data and distributed free of charge in a standard file format that can be handled by secondary users. In addition to utilization for agriculture such as fertilizer crop management and water management, it is also expected to contribute to administrative measures concerning the environment.


In April 2010, the former National Institute for Agro-environmental Sciences developed a comprehensive soil classification system of Japan. Since then, the website has been accessed more than 2.5 million times suggesting that it has been widely used in various aspects of soil management and environmental studies.

The new web-based soil digital map with a scale equivalent to 1:200,000 scale covers the entire land area of Japan including non-agricultural lands to facilitate more diverse usage. In addition, the soil map for agricultural lands has been improved with a scale equivalent to 1:50,000. Both soil maps will be available today through the website of the Soil Classification System of Japan.

The nationwide digital soil map and the new agricultural land soil map are available in standard file formats that can be encoded in various geographic information systems and are distributed free of charge as open data (CC BY4.0) for secondary users.

In addition to utilization for agriculture such as fertilizer management of farm products and water management, both soil maps are also expected to contribute in developing efficient administrative measures related to the environment such as the dynamics of different chemical substances for each soil type nationwide.

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