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Digital Soil Mapping (DSM)

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NCSS Digital Soil Mapping

Spatial Data for Soil Mapping (PDF; 81 KB)

Essex County Raster Soil Survey classes (color) overlain by SSURGO polygons (white lines with black symbols).

Definitions of Digital Soil Mapping

“The creation and the population of a geographically referenced soil database generated at a given resolution by using field and laboratory observation methods coupled with environmental data through quantitative relationships.” - The International Working Group on Digital Soil Mapping (WG-DSM)

“Production of soil class or property maps using GIS and/or Remote Sensing software” – anonymous

Digital soil mapping (DSM) represents “the creation and population of spatial soil information systems by the use of field and laboratory observational methods coupled with spatial and non-spatial soil inference systems” (Digital Soil Mapping: An Introductory Perspective 2007. Edited by P. Lagacherie, A. B. McBratney & M. Voltz, 2007 Elsevier 600 pages ISBN 0-444-52958-6). Soil science, geographic information science, quantitative methods (statistics and geostatistics) and cartography are combined within the DSM framework. DSM methods are used to estimate the spatial distribution of soil classes (e.g., soil series) and/or soil properties (e.g., soil organic matter), and can be employed at various scales (from individual fields to countries), and have proven valuable for developing more quantitative, more accurate, and more precise soil maps.

NCSS Digital Soil Mapping

The National Soil Survey Center – Geospatial Research Unit has identified DSM as an important area of focus in support of soil survey activities. Numerous DSM research projects have been supported by the GRU. Numerical classification (hierarchical and fuzzy), spatial and temporal interpolation (geostatistics, wavelets), sampling design (model vs. design based), statistical analysis (visualization, ordination, regression, and classification), uncertainty analysis (error propagation, accuracy assessment), and incorporation of auxillary data (proximal and remotely sensed imagery, soil-terrain modeling) are among the methods used to develop predictive maps of soil classes and soil properties.

Annotated bibliography of NRCS DSM efforts (PDF; 376 KB)

DSM Influenced Vector Soil Mapping (SSURGO)

How to select SSURGO data for download from Web Soil Survey (PDF; 286 KB)


  • TX625 Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
  • TX626 Culberson County, Main Part, Texas
  • TX627 Hudspeth County, Main Part, Texas
  • TX377 Presidio County, Texas


  • UT602 Box Elder County, Utah, Eastern Part
  • UT607 Davis-Weber Area, Utah
  • UT612 Salt Lake Area, Utah
  • UT686 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Area, Parts of Kane and Garfield Counties, Utah
  • UT628 Sevier County Area, Utah
  • UT623 Emery Area, Utah, Parts of Emery, Carbon, Grand, and Sevier Counties
  • UT626 Beaver County, Utah – Western Part
  • UT629 Loa-Marysvale Area, Utah, Parts of Piute, Wayne, and Garfield Counties
  • UT601 Box Elder County, Utah, Western Part
  • UT611 Tooele Area, Utah – Tooele County and Parts of Box Elder, Davis and Juab Counties


  • VT009 Essex County, Vermont


  • WA774 North Cascades National Park Complex, Washington


  • WY719 Johnson County, Wyoming, Northern Part

DSM Raster Soil Survey (RSS) Projects

Essex County, Vermont