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Annual Data Refresh of Soil Survey Data

Web Soil Survey infographic.The USDA-NRCS Soil and Plant Science Division refreshes the publicly available soil survey database once a year, on October 1st.  This Annual Soils Refresh (ASR) allows for publication of new soils data, updates to existing soils data, release of new soil interpretations, and it ensures all official soils data adheres to the same standard.

The USDA-NRCS soil survey database contains both tabular data (soil properties and interpretations) and spatial data (soil maps). Each year, the tabular data is refreshed for every soil survey area in the United States and Island Territories. All tabular data is refreshed so we can publish new tabular data, publish any updates to existing tabular data, and ensure each soil survey area includes the same set of nationally required interpretations. Changes to tabular data vary from survey to survey. Some surveys are only updated because interpretations were updated.  The spatial data is only refreshed when new spatial data is created or existing spatial data is updated.  Generally, only about 10% of the soil survey areas have spatial updates each year.   

Click here to read the Frequently Asked Question “How can I find out when soil data was last updated?”

Customers can access the USDA-NRCS soils data by visiting the Web Soil Survey (WSS) or Soil Data Access (SDA). Use WSS to create thematic maps, generate reports, create custom manuscripts, and download soils data for your area of interest or soil survey area. Use SDA to write custom SQL queries against the tabular data or to connect to the soils database with web services.

To stay updated about various soil-related issues, you may subscribe to GovDelivery, which is a free service.

For more information on the Web Soil Survey, see “I Want Help With…” on Web Soil Survey Home Page or visit the NRCS Soils webpage.

Click on the “Contact Us” link in WSS to receive assistance though the Soils Hotline, a State Soil Scientist, or a local NRCS Service Center. Questions about soils data in a specific State should be directed to the State Soil Scientist. Contact information for all State Soil Scientists is available. For more information on the Web Soil Survey, see “I Want Help With…” on the Web Soil Survey Home Page.

For assistance with GovDelivery and WSS, send inquiries to SoilsHotline@usda.gov.

For assistance with SDA, send inquiries to soildataaccess@usda.gov.