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Announcement to Regional Directors

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SUBJECT: Data Mapunit Population Standards

November 21th, 2019

USDA-NRCS Soil and Plant Science Division Regional Directors,

In 2017, the Database Focus Team formed a Data Mapunit (DMU) Population Standards Subteam. This team was charged with:

  1. Evaluating existing DMU population standards.
  2. Developing an updated set of minimum standards for existing official data.
  3. Developing a second set of more comprehensive standards for all new data. This second standard is referred to as the full standard.
  4. Writing NASIS check reports that identify data that do not comply with the standards.

The DMU Population Standards Subteam has completed a critical milestone. The minimum standard and a suite of companion NASIS check reports are ready to be released. Technical teams and management teams can use these new tools for annual and long-range project planning. Critical errors, omissions, and inconsistencies can now be more easily identified, and projects can be created to address these data population issues.  

The minimum standard is a comprehensive list, or table, showing all data elements in the Legend, Mapunit and Data mapunit objects that must be populated. This minimum standard is very thorough and is a good starting point for evaluating the quality of preexisting and new soil survey data. The minimum standard is stored as a NASIS report in the Data Integrity folder and is named “Minimum Standard (Legend, Mapunit, Data Mapunit).” Run this report against your local database to see the data population standard. The DMU Population Standards Subteam is still working on the full standard, which will be released at a later date.

Data integrity screen capture -- minimum standard.


The minimum standard was created by evaluating previous national bulletins related to NASIS data population, Exhibit A of the SDJR national instruction, data elements used in required national interpretations, and data elements used in required NASIS calculations. This standard can be applied to all preexisting and newly created official soil survey data. Conformation to the standard will improve the quality of our data and ensure the data meet the needs of conservation planning and Farm Bill Programs.

In addition to the minimum standard, the team has written new NASIS check reports to identify data that do not meet the standard. The reports do three types of checks: (1) empty table check (when appropriate), (2) NULL fields check, and (3) data quality check. Twenty-four NASIS check reports are now ready. These focus on fundamental items that should be addressed first. Any data population issues identified by these 24 reports are high priority and should be addressed prior to running any other data integrity reports.

The NASIS check reports run on the national or local database. The report names start with a number and include a descriptor indicating the function of the report.

Data integrity screen capture -- check reports.


The reports are designed to be flexible enough to meet the unique needs of each region. Users can run the reports on a selected set, a soil survey area, a State, a region, or the entire nation. The team is actively writing and vetting additional reports. The number of ready-to-use reports will increase significantly over time.

For more details about the minimum standard and how to use the check reports, refer to “READ FIRST ABOUT DATA INTEGRITY REPORTS” in the Data Integrity folder. This report and the Minimum Standard report are also available on the Data Mapunit Population Standards Subteam webpage.

Data integrity screen capture -- read first.


Please contact and if you have feedback or questions or if you identify any issues with the reports.



Database Focus Team