There are a few publicly available data sets that are useful for looking at the abiotic environments of specific locations.
Climate data is available in the form of geoTIFFS from WorldClim.org. Various scales of projections are available, down to ~1 km2. Also, current, past, and future projections are available. 19 bioclimatic variables are included (mostly dealing with temperature or precipitation), such as average temperature range, and precipitation of warmest quarter.
Here is an R script I wrote to extract information from a geoTIFF for specific locations given GPS coordinates, using the R package raster. make climate table R code
There is also a data set on global soil types at GeoNetwork. They offer shapefiles in ESRI, Erdas, and IDSRI formats. I have not used these file types much, but if I come up with an R script I will update this post.