Skip Navigation

Soil Classification

GovDelivery envelope imageSign up for E-mail updates on Soil Classification

Soil TaxonomySoil scientists describing a soil profile.

Soil Taxonomy - principal reference to soil classification.

Keys to Soil Taxonomy - taxonomic keys for field classification.

Soil Taxonomy Forum

International Committee on Soil Taxonomy (ICOMTAX)

Soil Series

Official Soil Series Descriptions (OSD) - standard descriptions and characteristics of soil series.

Soil Series Classification Database (SC) - soil classification and series names.

SC/OSD Maintenance Tool - add/edit/delete soil series classification and Official Series Description (eAuth and NASIS OSD group membership required)

SC/OSD Maintenance Tool User Guide (PDF; 1.3 MB)

GovDelivery envelope imageSign up for E-mail updates on the SC/OSD Maintenance Tool

Soil Classification Report Tool - several reports of soil classifications by Major Land Resource Area regional office


Java Newhall Simulation Model (jNSM) –  A traditional soil climate simulation model (software, user’s guide, and sample datasets)

Historical Documents

Previous versions of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy

The Guy Smith Interviews: Rationale for Concepts in Soil Taxonomy

Development and Significance of the Great Soil Groups of the United States (PDF; 5.82 MB) by Charles E. Kellogg; published in 1936

Historical International Committee Recommendations (ICOMFAM, ICOMID, etc.)

Media Files

Distribution Maps of Dominant Soil Orders - images and maps.

The Twelve Orders of Soil Taxonomy - poster.

Other Classification Systems

Universal Soil Classification System - a Working Group under Commission 1.4 (Soil Classification) which is part of Division 1 (Soil in Space and Time) of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)

World Reference Base (WRB) - The WRB, along with Soil Taxonomy, serve as international standards for soil classification. The WRB system is endorsed by the International Union of Soil Sciences and developed by an international collaboration coordinated by the IUSS Working Group. The WRB borrows heavily from modern soil classification concepts, including Soil Taxonomy, the legend for the FAO Soil Map of the World 1988, the Référentiel Pédologique, and Russian concepts.