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. Altitude and 19 bioclimatic variables are included (dealing with temperature or precipitation), such as average temperature range, and precipitation of warmest quarter.
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.
Here is an R script I wrote to extract information from a geoTIFF file from WorldClim for specific locations given GPS coordinates, using the R package raster, and to create a data table of the climate variables for those locations. I originally wrote it all out longways (which was super annoying!), but now I’ve written it as a bunch of for loops. But nobody is in love with for loops, so if you have a more elegant solution, please drop some knowledge bombs on me! (To clean up the resulting data table see this post).
Edit: Turns out there is a function in the raster package which may do the same thing: getData(). You should probably check that out.