I recently stumbled upon “the soil maps of Asia” – not just some soil maps, mind you, or merely a few soil maps: these are the soil maps of Asia, originally produced under the direction of the Thematic Mapping Organisation. Leaving me to wonder if they take special orders.
In any case, these maps are amazing:
[Image: Soil map and land capability of southern India, including the Andaman Islands; see also this 2.5MB version].
Here, the Thematic Mapping Organisation explains its own origins, complete with avant-garde uses of English grammar: “The first national Atlas of India in Hindi popularly known as Bharat Rastriya Atlas having a multi-colour maps with a scale of 1:5 million portraying a comprehensive physical and socio-cultural structure of the country was published in 1957 and was acclaimed the world over as a unique publication. Consequent upon the success of as Bharat Rastriya Atlas, the organization has decided to prepare an ambitious project containing 300 plates. It covers all the aspects of the land, people, economy of the country. This atlas is being issued in 8 volumes, which is available for sale.”
Finally, for those of you with a lot of time to kill: you can search equally colorful and totally mind-boggling soil maps of Africa (2000+), Canada, Central and South America, including the Caribbean (as well as hydrological maps of the Amazon River), Europe (here’s the UK), the rest of Asia, and the United States.
(Earlier on BLDGBLOG: The topographic map circus. Further note: I just discovered [12 Feb 06] that Cartography, the weblog of the Canadian Cartographic Association, featured these soil maps back in January).