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News Release

Soil Lab Data Mart Updated: Soil Data at Your Fingertips

Madison, Wis. – October 26, 2020 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Soil Survey Center announces the release of updated geochemical data to an interactive map called National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) Soil Characterization

The map links to a national database of soil characterization data and allows users to locate pedons that have been analyzed. A pedon is the smallest unit of soil containing all the soil horizons of a particular soil type. Clicking on a pedon location in the map enables users to access lab data about that pedon. The map is also available from the NCSS Soil Characterization Basic Query website by clicking an icon at the bottom left of the page.

“The updated map gives users nationwide a means to view data that can be used by educators, scientists, farmers, landowners, schools, soil judging teams, the general public and more,” said Angela Biggs, State Conservationist in Wisconsin.

A screenshot of lab data available from Soil Lab Data Mart. The search bar can be used to search by location or soil series. To filter by soil series or classification, type in the soil series name or part of a soil classification and turn the filter switch to on (green).“The map lets you search for lab data by using filters or by exploring places you care about across the globe,” explained Isabelle Giuliani, Acting State Soil Scientist in Wisconsin. Map users can query by location of interest and have soil data available at their fingertips.

The updated tool can assist scientists in developing conservation models for validating outcomes of conservation practices. Users can 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 Skye Wills, National Leader for Soil Science Research.

Soil scientists, hydrogeologists, municipal water-utility operators and water-quality regulators use soils lab data to understand the subsurface. The data viewer includes over 50,000 individual soil samples from across the world (see map for U.S. sites). Soil sample data can also be viewed in reports. The map offers:

  • options for selecting different base maps and adding soil-color maps by depth-slice,
  • the ability to search by location or use a current location,
  • the ability to search by soil series or geographic location,
  • options to download characterization data for a selection of points to be used in other applications,
  • two ways to search for lab pedons, filters and the search bar and
  • streaming from Soil Data Access web services, where popups for each pedon include several lab reports.

Some examples for users to view are below.

To learn more about soils or to get assistance, click here to contact your State Soil Scientist.

Pedons associated with the WI Antigo soil series analyzed by Kellogg Soil Survey Lab. Top set: moist colors for each soil horizon in the field. Bottom set: pH values symbolized for each horizon. Made using RStudio and R packages, AQP and soilDB, developed for summarizing USDA-NCSS databases.


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