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Where Are The Maps?

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1.—How do I view current, official soil maps?

2.—How do I view archived soil maps?

2.1—What software do I need to view the archived soil survey maps?

2.2—The bookmarks aren’t working. Now what?

1.—How do I view current, official soil maps?

Current, official maps are generated by the Web Soil Survey. Detailed directions for using the Web Soil Survey are available at “Getting Started With Web Soil Survey.”

2.—How do I view archived soil maps?

Two options are available. The simplest is to use the Firefox browser. Click here for details if you use a different browser.

Archived versions of previously published soil surveys are available in portable document format (PDF) at The maps are linked to the soil survey manuscripts. The archived soil maps are generally opened in three steps: (1) open the soil survey manuscript, (2) open the index to map sheets, and (3) click on the index to map sheets. 

You should view the files in your browser. If you download the files, the links break.

1. Open the soil survey manuscript by selecting an archived survey from the list of published surveys. Click on the name of the soil survey, for example, “Fairfield County.” The row in the list will expand. Click on “Manuscript.”

Screen capture of the archived manuscripts for Connecticut.


2. Open the index to map sheets by clicking on a bookmark in the PDF file of the manuscript. The bookmark for the index to map sheets will be near the bottom of the list of bookmarks. The bookmark may have various labels, including “Detailed Soil Maps” and ”Index to Map Sheets.” In cases where the survey has a single map, a bookmark will go directly to the map.

a. If you do not see the bookmarks, you need to use a different browser or manually change the URL. The archived soil surveys work reliably with Firefox. For details, see below.

Screen capture of the Fairfield County, Connecticut, manuscript.


  1. Click on the index to map sheets to open a specific map sheet.

Screen capture showing the map sheets for Fairfield County, Connecticut.


2.1—What software do I need to view the archived soil survey maps?

The archived soil survey maps work reliably with Firefox, which is available at

Many browsers do not efficiently display the bookmarks that point to the maps. Internet Explorer Edge and Chrome are examples. To view the maps using one of these browsers, see the directions below in section 2.2.

2.2—The bookmarks aren’t working. Now what?

When you open a PDF file for a survey manuscript, you should see a list of bookmarks on the left (Step 2 above). If you don’t—or if the bookmarks don’t work—you have two options.

Option 1.—Use the Firefox browser, which is available at

Option 2.—Manually change the URL in your browser, starting with the manuscript (the text).

Open the manuscript PDF file in a browser and then delete the name of the manuscript pdf, leaving the rest of the URL.
For example, the 2005 Soil Survey of Barbour County, Alabama, is at:

Screen capture of sample soil survey manuscript.

If you delete “Barbour.pdf” from the URL, you get:

Screen capture of Index for sample soil survey.

Clicking on maps/ takes you to the folder containing the maps.

Screen capture of maps folder for sample soil survey.


How do I download an entire archived survey, including all the maps? Click here.

If you still have problems opening the detailed soil maps, please email for assistance.

(last updated 9/4/2020)