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Soil Information Resources Available on the Internet 

Soil Information Resources Available on the Internet

by Craig Byrd

This is a listing of National Cooperative Soil Survey and Soil Science resources that are available to the public on the internet. Many people are not aware of the vast amount of data and resources that are available to the general public. Information about soils in your area and access to maps are available and can be downloaded to your computer at no charge. If you have a need for such information these web sites should be helpful to you.

Soil Survey Data

�Soil survey data are a product of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, a joint effort of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and other Federal agencies, State agencies including the Agricultural Experiment Stations, and local participants.� All soil resources available on the internet can be accessed from the main Soils page.
Main page -

�The Web Soil Survey provides agricultural producers, agencies, Technical Service Providers, and others electronic access to relevant soil and related information needed to make land-use and management decisions.�
The Web Soil Survey (WSS):

  • Provides an alternative to traditional hardcopy publications
  • Provides the means for quicker delivery of information
  • Provides electronic access to full soil survey report content
  • Provides access to the most current data
  • Allows NRCS customers to get just the information they want

Web Soil Survey -

�The MLRA Explorer is an interactive map-based presentation of USDA Agriculture Handbook 296: Land Resource Regions (LRR) and Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA) of the United States, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Basin (2006).� With the tools in the MLRA Explorer, you can:

  • search for LRR�s and MLRA�s using a variety of geographical queries
  • select which handbook sections you would like to display
  • save or print a customized subset of the handbook

MLRA Explorer -

The Soil Data Mart allows you to:

  • Determine where soil tabular and spatial data is available
  • Download data for one soil survey area at a time. (Download requests for more than one survey area at a time can be submitted through the Geospatial Data Gateway. Going through the Geospatial Data Gateway also provides the option to obtain data on DC or DVD.)
  • Download a template Microsoft Access� database for working with downloaded data.
  • Find out who to contact for information about soil data for a particular state.
  • �Subscribe� or �unsubscribe� to a soil survey area. A person who is subscribed will automatically be notified whenever data for that soil survey area is updated. You must register and login before doing this.

�An alternative presentation of the soil survey area data contained in the Soil Data Mart, including on screen or printed soil maps and survey area manuscripts, when they exist for the corresponding survey area, is available through Web Soil Survey.�
Soil Data Mart -

Soil Data Viewer is a tool built as an extension to ArcMap that allows a user to create soil-based thematic maps. The application can also be run independent of ArcMap, but output is then limited to a tabular report. Soil Data Viewer contains processing rules to enforce appropriate use of the data. This provides the user with a tool for quick geospatial analysis of soil data for use in resource assessment and management.�
Soil Data Viewer -

�The Geospatial Data Gateway or Geo-Data Gateway provides easy and consistent access to natural resource data. You can search for available data by geographic area such as county or state, use our point and click map tool to find your area of interest; using a gazetteer, or by entering latitude and longitude coordinates. You can also search for data by theme, such as digital ortho imagery, digital elevation models (DEMs), or soils.�
Geospatial Data Gateway -

Soil Data Access is the name of a suite of web services and applications whose purpose is to meet requirements for requesting and delivering soil survey spatial and tabular data, that are not being met by the current Soil Data Mart and Geospatial Data Gateway websites.�
Soil Data Access -

Official soil series descriptions are a term applied to the description approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service that defines a specific soil series in the United States. These official soil series descriptions are descriptions of the taxa in the series category of the national system of classification. They mainly serve as specifications for identifying and classifying soils.�

�While doing survey work, field soil scientists should have all the existing official soil series descriptions that are applicable to their soil survey areas. Other official soil series descriptions that include soils in adjacent or similar survey areas are also commonly needed. Scientists in other disciplines, such as agronomists, horticulturists, engineers, planners, and extension specialists also use the descriptions to learn about the properties of soils in a particular area.�
Official Series Descriptions -

Soil Laboratory Data can be obtained from this application which allows users to generate, print and download reports containing soil characterization data from cooperators laboratories stored and maintained by the NSSC Soil Survey Laboratory. Data can also be downloaded in comma delimited text files for use in other applications.
Soil Lab Data -

List of Published Soil Surveys on this Web site lists soil surveys that have been published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 1899.
�Soil surveys furnish soil maps and interpretations needed in giving technical assistance to farmers and ranchers; in guiding decisions about soil selection, use, and management; and in planning research and disseminating the results of research. The surveys also are used in educational programs about soil use and conservation.�
List of Published Soil Surveys -

The Soil Classification web page has information concerning Soil Classification and Soil Taxonomy, Keys to Soil Taxonomy, and many other reference and information guides.
Soil Classification -

The Soil Series Mapping Tool is an interactive mapping tool that shows the states and counties which a Soil Series is currently mapped.
Soil Series Extent Mapping Tool -

The Technical Reference page is a listing of guidebooks and handbooks related to Soil Science, and the National Soil Survey program. This is a great resource for anyone interested in the field of Soil Science.
Technical Reference -

The National Water and Climate Center provides water and climate analysis, information and services for NRCS, partners and customers.
National Water and Climate Center -