Swiss Soil Suitability Map

The Swiss Soil Suitability geodata provided by GEOSTAT are derived from the digitisation and consolidation of the soil capability map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:200,000 published in 1980 by the Swiss Federal Offices for Spatial Planning, Agriculture and Forestry.

The Swiss Soil Suitability geodata were interpreted and mapped using numerous databases (maps, aerial photographs) from the 1970s at the Swiss Federal Research Station for Agriculture in Zurich-Reckenholz and digitised by the University of Bern. With the agreement of the publishers of the paper version, GEOSTAT combined the four map quadrants into a consolidated data set in 1994 and carried out a complete revision of these data in 2000. In particular, the geolocation of the data and the layout and shape of the vector boundaries were corrected based on a 1:200,000 pixel map. The data on lake boundaries and national borders, which are used as a basis for locating other routes having no direct physical connection with the ground, are taken from the (Vector200) file.

Map units

On the map, each map unit has a code consisting of a capital letter and a number. The capital letters represent 25 different geological and geomorphological units. The letters are subdivided into various landscape elements, ordered by bedrock type, exposure and slope. Each map unit corresponds to one or more soil types. The 144 map units are divided on the map into 18 groups of different colours, according to the suitability of the soil. This classification is mainly based on agricultural criteria.

Physio-geographical unit of the soil suitabiliy map
A Table Jura
B Basins and valleys of the Fold and Table Jura
C Longitudinal valleys of the Fold Jura
D Plateau Jura
E Mountain ranges of the Chain Jura
F Plains of the lower Swiss Central Plateau
G Slightly undulated moraine hill country
H Lower molasse hill country, partly covered by moraines
J U-valleys of the Swiss Central Plateau
K Middle molasse hill country, partly with glacial transformation
L Drumlin landscapes with stronger relief
M Higher molasse hill country with strong erosion relief (Hörnli)
N Higher molasse hill country with strong erosion relief (Napf)
O Predominantly sandy mollasse at the fringe of the Alps
P Predominantly conglomerate at the fringe of the Alps
Q Wide alpine valleys
R Narrow alpine valleys
S Alpine flysch and Grison slate landscape, predominantly in the northern Alps
T Alpine Grison slate landscape in the upper Rhone valley and in Ticino
U Alpine limestone mountains
V Alpine crystalline mountains of hard bedrock (granite, orthogneiss)
W Alpine crystalline mountains of relatively easily weathered bedrock (paragneiss)
X Molasse at the fringe of the Alps in Ticino, partly covered by moraines
Y Valley landscapes (south side of the Alps)
Z Plains (Magadino, Mendrisio)



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