In response to the needs of the MARS Project – Monitoring Agriculture by Remote Sensing (Vossen and Meyer-Roux,1995) – of DG VI (Directorate General for Agriculture), the database was enriched in the period 1990-1991 from the archive documents of the original EC Soil Map and as a result the version 2 has been published. The MARS project formed the Soil and GIS Support Group of experts in order to give advice on the use of the Soil Database and to continue the further improvement. The Group recommended that new information should be provided by each of the contributors. As a result of this recommendation, the version 3 of the database was developed, covering the EU–15 and Candidate Countries. (Lambert et. al., 2002). The summary of the geographical soil database history can be seen in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Diagram showing the geographical soil database history (Jamagne et al., 2001)
In later phase, the Soil Geographical Database (SGBD) Version 4.0 was compiled at the scope of MARS Project in the structure of the European Community Soil Data and Information Systems and Soil and GIS EC Support Group of experts.
Developing the Version 4 of the Soil Geographical Database at scale 1:1,000,000 aimed to provide a harmonised set of soil parameters covering Eurasia and Mediterranean countries. This Database can be used as input in agro-meteorological and environmental modelling at regional, national, and continental levels.
In order to differentiate this new version from previous ones, the title has been changed to 'Soil Geographical Database for Eurasia and The Mediterranean: Instructions Guide for elaboration at scale 1:1,000,000”. Therefore the current guide is the foundation for Version 4.0 of the Soil Geographical Database of Europe and will form the main component of Version 2.0 of the European Soil Database (Lambert et al., 2002). Besides changing title, the database has also experienced important changes during its lifetime.
The latest version includes improvements over the previous versions and contains several new components that affect both the form and content of the geographical database. Regarding the form, the variables are listed in their order of appearance in the Soil Typological Units table. Each attribute is given a code, its meaning and its possible values are described in a small paragraph and a table. Regarding the changes on the contents, they mainly focus in the use of a new 'International Soil Classification' – The World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) – since this is proposed as a standard classification. The FAO-UNESCO revised soil legend (has previously used) will be kept as an attribute to maintain compatibility with some of the past thematic applications that are based on it. A more detailed and completely revised Parent Material list, already in use in the 1:250,000 Manual of procedures has been introduced. This list comprises 4 levels: Major Class, Group, Type and Subtype. There are important differences between the current used list and the former list of parent materials, with many necessary adjustments since a simple translation table was not sufficient. Modifications to the Profile Database have also been introduced. Instructions to fill up the Profile attribute tables are now integrated in the Guide. The changes made to the Soil Typological Units attribute table, such as those concerning the soil classification and the parent material, have correspondingly been made for the profile attribute tables. (Lambert et. al., 2002)
In this context, Version 4 of the Soil Geographical Database at scale 1:1,000,000 currently covers Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Yugoslavia The extension to Eurasia covers the New Independent States (NIS) of Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine (Stolbovoi et al., 2001). The further expansion to the Mediterranean Basin will eventually include Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey (Lambert et.al., 2002 ). The Figure 2 illustrates the state of the progress of the Soil Geographical Database in Eurasia and Mediterranean Countries.
Figure 2. State of progress of the Soil Geographical Database of Eurasia and Mediterranean Countries (Jamagne et. al., 2002)
In 2001, in order to extend the European soil database to the countries of Mediterranean Basin, the preparation of soil geographical database of Turkey at 1:1 million scales had started with the collaboration of formerly “General Directorate of Rural Services National Information Center for Soil and Water Resources of Turkey” and “Cukurova University soil experts”. However, the output soil geographical database neither could be used nor could be published officially since the “General Directorate of Rural Services National Information Center for Soil and Water Resources of Turkey” had been closed its operations.
With the current study, we will describe the methodology of preparing the “soil geographical database of Turkey” according to the European database standards. The integration of the “soil geographical database of Turkey” into the version 4 of the European soil database will be achieved after building up a common understanding and nomenclature of soils in Europe and Mediterranean region.