Soil survey maps have long been printed and bound into soil survey books free for the asking at local USDA Service Centers, NRCS field offices and public libraries. But they’re being slowly phased out. That’s because, starting this week the USDA Web Soil Survey site will provide secure public access to the national soils information system. Currently, NRCS has soils maps and data available online for more than 95% of the nation’s counties and expects to have data for 100% of counties in the near future. The new site will be updated and maintained online as the single authoritative source of soil survey information.
When viewers visit the web soil survey, they are asked to “Define” a geographic area of interest by selecting a state and county or just by highlighting an area or areas. Once a location has been defined, the viewer has the choice to print the map and related information, save it to their hard drive or download the data for use in a GIS. The viewer also can “Explore” a location for specific soils data on soil suitability in relationship to usage – offering a chance to build a customized report that addresses the viewer’s individual needs. Information can be delivered in a variety of formats.