The start-up conference of the 7th framework project of EU, Construction of International Soil Observation System and Regional Data Platform (e-SOTER) was opened in World Soil Reference and Information Center, Wageningen, Netherland. Over 30 scholars from China, Netherland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Czech Republic and Morocco were present, and Prof. Zhang Ganlin and Assoc. Prof. Zhao Yuguo attended the meeting.
Conventional obtainment of soil information was time-consuming and costly, and to date, an unified global soil information system with detail data is not available. At present, 1:500,000 world database organized by FAO, including 1:100,000 data for some countries are accessible. In recent years, with rapid development of remote sensing and information technology, the theoretical basis and technology was ready for the construction of new-generation digitalized soil database. SOTER, a new data platform, integrated topographic, geological and soil information. It was already applied successfully in several regions, including Hainan, China. In this study on e-SOTER, automatic methods were adopted, and it will chiefly operate in European countries to construct extensible platform to the whole world and provide soil data for global land observation system. This program will formally start on Sept. 11th, 2008, and 13 institutes or universities from 8 countries joined in, and Institute of Soil Science was the sole participant of China. During the meeting, overall objective, research topics, implementing plans, intellectual property rights etc. were emphatically discussed.
Coincidentally, it was the 25th anniversary for bilateral cooperation of Institute of Soil Science (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and International Soil Reference and Information Center during the session. 25 years ago, W. Sombroek, the late former general secretary of International Soil Science Society, visited the Institute of Soil Science and opened the gate for bilateral cooperation with predecessors in soil science, such as Academician Xi Chengfan, Academician Zhao Qiguo and Senior Prof. Gong Zitong, and the cooperation will continue and expand in the future.