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The New NRCS Characterization (Lab Data Map): Soil Data at Your Fingertips

The New NRCS Characterization (Lab Data Map): Soil Data at Your Fingertips

Madison, Wis. ‒ October 7, 2019 ‒  The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin and the NRCS National Soil Survey Center have made available a new interactive map, National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) Soil Characterization. The first of its kind, this interactive map offers a national database of soil characterization data, allowing location of pedons spatially. Pedons are the smallest unit of soil containing all the soil horizons of a particular soil type. Clicking on a pedon location within the interactive map will enable users to access lab data about that pedon. View the new interactive map by clicking here. You can also view the map on the Soil Lab Data Mart website (bottom left of page) here:

“The map gives users nationwide, a means to view data of sites that can be used by educators, scientists, farmers, landowners, schools, soil judging teams, the general public and more,” said Richard Reid, farmer and NRCS Soil Scientist. “The map provides a way to search for lab data on a map via custom filters, or by exploring places you care about across the globe,” explained Dylan Beaudette, NRCS Soil Scientist. Interested users can then query by locations of interest with soil data available at their fingertips.KSSL Photo 1
Richard Reid explains further, “as a farmer, I’m trying to determine how much nitrogen I can apply based on my soils nutrient holding capacity and now I can find that information for soils, like mine in my area, using the new Lab Sample Map.” The map can also assist scientists in developing conservation models for validating outcomes of conservation practices. Users can also pinpoint spots using location panels, full screen maps and latitude and longitude. “Our new interactive map provides online access to our rapidly growing collection of lab data,” explained Jason Nemecek, Wisconsin NRCS State Soil Scientist.

Soils Lab data are used to understand the subsurface by soil scientists and hydrogeologists, municipal water utility operators and water-quality regulators. The data viewer includes over 50,000 individual soil samples from across the globe.  Soil sample data can also be viewed as html reports.

Below are specific map features.

  • The map offers two ways to search for lab pedons using the filter icon or search bar. 
  • The map houses a soil map streamed in from Soil Data Access web services and the popups for each Pedon include several lab reports.
  • The map offers options for selecting different base maps and options to add soil color maps by depth slice.
  • The map offers search by location or go to current location.
  • The map allows you to select the down arrow in the search bar by soil series or geographic location.
  • The map allows you to download characterization data for a selection of points, to use in other applications.
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The map allows you to use the filter to search by series or create your own query using the icon located on the bottom left of the screen caption below.
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The map also lets you filter by soil series or soil classification.
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The map also lets you filter by soil series or soil classification.
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The map shows soils filtered by soil classification, “Paleustolls”. To use the filter, click the filter icon on the bottom of the map.   Type in the soil series name or part of a soil classification and turn on the filter switch to green.
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If you are interested in learning more about soils or need assistance, please contact your State Soil Scientist by clicking here or click here to use an interactive map to find your local NRCS Service Center, soils office.