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NASIS Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major changes?
NASIS accounts
How do I start NASIS?
Checking out data
Editing the selected set
Re-initializing NASIS local database
Table functionality
Pedon
AnalysisPC
Support


What are the major changes?

See New Features in the Release Notes.


NASIS accounts

The following instructions explain who may have a NASIS account and the process for establishing a NASIS account.

Who may have a NASIS account?

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the lead agency for the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) (7 CFR 2.61). In its leadership role, NRCS maintains National Soil Information System (NASIS) for the collection, management, and distribution of NCSS information. Access to NASIS is granted to NCSS partners and authorized agents for the purpose of creating, maintaining, or interpreting NCSS information. NASIS is a United States Government computing system. Only official NCSS activities are authorized and permitted on this system.

Access to official NCSS data is available on the Web Soil Survey (http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/) and does not require a NASIS account.

How do you request a NASIS account?

Requests to become a NASIS user should be submitted to a “sponsor” who then submits the request to the Soils Hotline. The “sponsor” at the state level or below is the State Soil Scientist. State Soil Scientist contact information is available here. The Soils Hotline will sponsor employees at the national headquarters and centers. Cooperators that need access to NASIS are to be sponsored by their local state soil scientist.

What does a user need to do to become a NASIS user?

  1. Obtain a Level 2 eAuthentication account via the eAuthentication web site at https://www.eauth.usda.gov.

     If you  have a level 2 eAuthentication account, then you need to e-mail your eAuthentication login (no passwords, please) to SoilsHotline@lin.usda.gov. If you don’t have an eAuthentication account, follow the instructions to create Level 2 Access at: https://www.eauth.usda.gov. You may contact the Soils Hotline staff for assistance.
     
  2. Submit your request for a NASIS account to the appropriate sponsor. Refer to the section above “How do you request a NASIS account?” Include in your request, your full name, phone number, and eAuthentication login.

What does the sponsor do to request a NASIS account for a user?

E-mail requests for new NASIS user accounts to the SoilsHotline@lin.usda.gov. Include the user’s full name, phone number and eAuthentication login. Please specify in the e-mail if the user is an existing NASIS user but needs to be granted eAuthentication access.

What does the Soils Hotline do when a NASIS account is requested?

  1. Check NASIS to see if a NASIS user account already exists for the user.
     
  2. Create a NASIS user record in NASIS.
     
  3. Grant eAuthentication access to NASIS.
     
  4. Notify the user and/or the sponsor that the account has been created.
     
  5. Users can have read-only access to NASIS which allows the user to run existing reports and queries and view data, or the user can be granted permission to edit data. If the user needs to enter or edit data in NASIS, the user will need to contact the appropriate NRCS State Soil Scientist to request permission.

Roles and Responsibilities

NASIS User:

  • ensure security of NASIS data by not sharing NASIS logins
     
  • notify NASIS Site Dataset Manager when membership in a NASIS group is no longer needed
     
  • notify NASIS Site Dataset Manager when a NASIS account is no longer needed or when a NASIS account needs modification (i.e., name change)
     
  • NASIS contains information that may be protected under various laws, regulations, treaties, and agreements (25 USC 450 related to the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act, 42 USC 1996 related to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, DR 1340-6 related to Policies on American Indians and Alaskan Natives, 5 USC 552 related to the Freedom of Information Act, and others). NASIS users must not release protected information to individuals or the general public without specific authority to do so.

Soils Application “Sponsor”:

  • verify users requesting NASIS accounts are NCSS members or person working on behalf of NCSS
     
  • submit e-mail to the Soils Hotline requesting a new NASIS user account, or requesting eAuthentication access for an existing NASIS user account
     
  • notify Soils Hotline when a user no longer needs a NASIS account or when a NASIS account needs modification (i.e., name change)

NASIS Site Dataset Manager:

  • maintain members of the NASIS groups within NASIS. Remove users from NASIS groups when the user no longer needs edit privileges on data owned by that group
     
  • notify Soils Hotline when a user no longer needs a NASIS account or when a NASIS account needs modification i.e., name change.

Soils Hotline:

  • create NASIS accounts in a timely manner
     
  • edit NASIS user table; set e-mail to null and phone number to “OBSOLETE” when NASIS user account is no longer needed
     
  • remove user from role in eAuthentication system


How do I start NASIS?

  1. Begin at the Start, All Programs, USDA Applications, Soils, NASIS.
     
  2. The first time NASIS is started, the database will initialize with the National Database.
     

Why do I need to run a query against the “National Database” and then run a query against the “Local Database”?

Answer: The Local Database must be populated with data. The data is retrieved from the National Database.
 

How do I populate the Local Database?

  1. Identify a suitable query in the queries object in the Explorer panel.
     
  2. Select “Run Query Against National Database” – this is the icon with the blue triangle and the globe. It can be found in the Queries Explorer Menu or the Queries Explorer toolbar. You can also right-click on the query name and pick this option.
     
  3. Only one Target Table can be selected when running a query against the National Database. It is best to choose the highest table in the database structure. All related objects are automatically included in the download.
     
  4. Once the National Database has been successfully queried and “Accepted”, “Run Query Against Local Database” to populate a selected set, similar to previous versions of NASIS.
     

Why don't I see the data I edited yesterday?

Answer: The data should be available unless you have deleted the data or cleared the Local Database. If the data does not exist in your selected set, then run a query on the Local Database to retrieve the data.
 

How often should I synchronize with the “National Database”?

Answer: Get into the habit of “refreshing” (NASIS, Refresh Local Database) the database each time you start NASIS.
 

Why can't I get the data I want loaded in to my selected set?

Answer: This could be a lack of understanding the query that is being used. Review the query and select the appropriate target table or choose a new query.


Checking out data

I created a record yesterday and chose to “Upload all changes to National Database”. Do I have to check out the data?

Answer: No, a record you created will remain checked out to you until you check it in. Upload does not check data in.
 

How do I “check-out” data?

  1. Load data into the selected set, highlight a record(s) then from the Editor menu, choose “Check Out Selected Trees” . A “Tree” is the parent record and its child records.
  2. Run a query against the Local Database and check the “Check Out” box next to the parameters. This checks out everything selected by the query, provided you have permission to edit it.


Editing the Selected Set

  1. How do I edit data?
    1. Highlight the record to be edited
    2. From the Table Editor menu, Check out the record
    3. Perform edits
    4. From the NASIS menu, choose “Upload All Changes to National Database”
    5. “Check In Selected Trees” or “Check In All”
       
  2. Why can’t I edit data?
    1. Is the record locked?
    2. Do you have edit permissions for the record? If so,
    3. Have you checked out the record?
       
  3. Why doesn’t the Find and Replace (global assign) on a cell paste to all of the items in the selected set?
    1. Is the record locked?
    2. Do you have edit permissions for the record? If so,
    3. Have you checked out the record?
       
  4. Is “saving” data the same as “uploading” data?

    No, “saving” means storing the data in the Local Database. Uploading sends the changes to the National Database.“Saving” is only required with multi-page forms like queries or reports. When editing in a table, changes are saved to the Local Database as soon as the cursor leaves the row.
     
  5. Is “uploading” data the same as “checking-in” data?
    1. No, the system is designed for you to identify the record(s) to be edited.
    2. Once identified, the record is “Checked out”.
    3. The edit is made.
    4. Then “Upload All Changes to National Database”.
    5. And if no further editing is to be completed, the record is then “checked in”.
       
  6. How long can data be “checked-out”?
    1. The system does not impose a time limit. However, to facilitate access to the data by other users, the data should only remain “checked out” for as long as needed for the editing to be accomplished. Once the edit is made, the changes are “Upload All Changes to National Database” and then the record is “Checked In”.
    2. There is a method to administratively release locks on the data for cases where data has been checked out for an unduly long period of time. This will be accomplished by the Soils Hotline staff.
       
  7. How often should I “save” (Upload All Changes to National Database)?

    Refer to item 4 above. Edits should be “Upload All Changes to the National Database” during the course of editing data. There is an advantage of uploading data after an edit. The “Discard Changes” option will discard changes back to the last upload to the National Database. If during the course of many edits there is an edit that you wish not to commit, that work can be discarded back to the last upload to the National Database. Periodic uploads of changes can occur without “checking in” the data record.
     

  8. How can I discard changes without saving?
    1. The ability to “Discard changes” is available in the NASIS menu (Discard All Changes) , the Explorer Menu (Discard Changes), the Editor Menu (Discard Changes) and their toolbars.
    2. The NASIS menu option allows the user to discard all changes made since each changed object was last checked out, had changes uploaded to the National Database or had the changes discarded. 
    3. The discard changes on the Explorer and Editor menus allows the user to discard changes for the specific data object currently highlighted in the appropriate panel since the last time the record was last checked out, had its changes uploaded or had its changes discarded. Discard Changes applies to a whole object; for example if you want to discard changes in a Component, it will discard all changes to the Data Mapunit that contains the Component.


Re-initializing NASIS local database

You should only do this when you have been instructed to do so by a NASIS team member. Please contact the Soils Hotline if you have questions.

Save and check-in all edits prior to initializing!

  1. Close all NASIS sessions.
     
  2. On Windows XP system, click on Start | Run or on Windows 7 system, click the Start button in the lower-left corner of the screen
     
  3. Type in cmd, and on Windows XP system click OK button or on Windows 7 system, click on cmd.exe file in the list under “Programs”
     
  4. In command prompt window, type c: and press enter key to change to C: drive
     
  5. On Windows XP, change directories by typing: cd c:\program files\USDA\NASIS 6.3 Client\ or on Windows 7, change directories by typing: cd C:\Program Files (x86)\USDA\NASIS 6.3 Client\
     
  6. Press enter key
     
  7. Type: nasiseditor.exe /rebuild (Note: There is a blank space after .exe and before /rebuild)
     
  8. Press enter key
     
  9. As soon as NASIS initialization is complete and NASIS starts up, click NASIS | Refresh local database

The initialization process removes anything you previously had in your local database. You must re-populate your local database by running queries against the National Database to get your desired data back into your local database. The initialization process usually takes about one half hour but can take up to four hours if the network connection is slow.


Table functionality

  1. Can I clear all “filters” at once?

    Answer: Yes, in the lower left corner of the Editor Panel inside the Table Grid.
     
  2. Can we still create our own “Edit Setup”?

    Answer: Yes, in NASIS the Edit Setup is now called a “Manage Table Layouts”. Tables are modified in the Editor Panel. The columns are sorted, sized, hidden or frozen based on the user’s needs. The Layout is then saved using the “Manage Table Layouts” option on the NASIS Menu or use the toolbar icon.


Pedon

  1. How do import data from Pedon PC or windows pedon?
    1. Choose the NASIS menu, then “Import Pedons”, or select the icon on the NASIS toolbar.
    2. Review and/or edit pedons
    3. Choose the NASIS menu and “Upload All Changes to National Database”
       
  2. Can I make edits to pedons in Pedon PC then upload the changes into NASIS
    1. Yes, however it may be easier to make edits in NASIS


AnalysisPC

I ran the report "PEDON - AnalysisPC uncoded DataDump with support data" on my local database successfully but get errors when I try to import the data into AnalysisPC database.

Remove the blank lines at the end of the text file before importing into AnalysisPC.


Support

  1. Is there a “forum” for NASIS questions?
    1. From the Help menu, users now have the ability to send an e-mail to the Soils Hotline to obtain an answer to a question they may have.
    2. Click here for more NASIS documentation.
       
  2. My office has one computer that is shared by all staff. Can we run NASIS?

    Yes, however as a shared computer the Local Database must contain all data used by the individual users – all users will be using the same Local Database. Users must “check in” all data before logging off since the possibility of locking others is greater.

    If a user logs into NASIS and finds that data is locked by a previous user on the same computer, they need to log out of NASIS and the computer and ask the first user to login to the computer and NASIS and “check in” the data. If the first user is no longer available, then you may contact the Soils Hotline and ask to have the data unlocked. Unlocking data only removes the locks put on the data and does not delete any data.
     
  3. My system seems to be running slow. What can I do to fix this?

    SQL Express is a memory hog. When the system runs slow it is a build up of RAM that SQL Express is using but not releasing. The best “fix” is to get in the habit of restarting your computer each night. Doing so releases the RAM and improves the performance of the computer. A minimum of 2 GB of RAM is necessary to run NASIS  efficiently.
     
  4. What does “Keep Detailed Error Information” (on the Help menu) do?

    Detailed error information helps the NASIS development team diagnose problems with NASIS. If you have a problem and contact the Soils Hotline about it, you may be asked to turn on detailed error information and try to reproduce the problem. After that you can send in the detailed information using the “Send Error Log to Hotline” option on the Help menu. Normally you should leave “Keep Detailed Error Information” switched off because it will slow down the performance of NASIS a little.
     
  5. Where can I find “Quick Tips” on using NASIS?

    In NASIS, run NSSC Pangaea report titled “!! NASIS QUICK TIPS !! UPDATED for 6.2”