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Where Are The Maps?

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

2.—How do I view archived soil maps?

2.1—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.

1. By far, the simplest is to use the Firefox browser, which is available at https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/. If you are using Firefox and the links do not work, contact SoilsHotline@usda.gov for assistance. If you are an NRCS employee and need assistance installing Firefox, click here.

2. If you must use a different browser, click here for details.

Previously printed soil surveys are available in portable document format (PDF) at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/soilsurvey/soils/survey/state/. 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. 

The files are designed to be viewed in a 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 Firefox or manually change the URL. For details, see below.

Screen capture of the Fairfield County, Connecticut, manuscript.



























 

3. 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—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—the problem is almost always the browser. If you are using Firefox and the links do not work, contact SoilsHotline@usda.gov for assistance.

If you are using a different browser, there is a workaround. You can manually change the URL in your browser. Start with the manuscript (the text).

Open the manuscript PDF file in your browser and then delete the name of the manuscript pdf, leaving the rest of the web address.
For example, the 2005 Soil Survey of Barbour County, Alabama, is at: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MANUSCRIPTS/alabama/AL005/0/Barbour.pdf

Screen capture of sample soil survey manuscript.











If you delete “Barbour.pdf,” you get:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MANUSCRIPTS/alabama/AL005/0/

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.




























Click on your map of interest to download it directly.

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

You can’t download an entire archive survey in a single click. You can only download files one-at-a-time as described above. Click here for an explanation.

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

(last updated 3/22/2022)