Soil Survey Geographic database

The Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database depicts information about the kinds of soils and distribution of soils on the landscape. This data set is a digital soil survey and generally is the most detailed level of soil geographic data available. It consists of a georeferenced digital map data, computerized tabular attribute data, and associated metadata. The tabular component defines soil characteristics, properties, and potential limitations or suitability for various uses. It is typically imported into a database for querying, reporting, and analysis. The spatial component consists of soil polygons, lines and points that are typically viewed and analyzed using a geographic information system (GIS).

Data Specifications

  • Area of Coverage: Available for most counties and areas throughout the U.S. and its territories.
  • Date(s) Available: Field mapping began in 1950's and continues today. The associated digitizing effort began in early 1990's.
  • Format: ESRI Shapefile, ArcInfo coverage, and ArcInfo Interchange file formats. Attribute data are distributed in ASCII format and can be imported into a Microsoft Access database. Metadata are in ASCII and XML format.
  • Scale: Predominately 1:12, 000 or 1:24, 000, with some scales ranging to 1:63, 360.
  • Minimal Mapping Unit: Range from one to ten acres
  • Accuracy: The mapping bases meet national map accuracy standards

Details

  • Soil maps and data are available on-line for more than 95 percent of the nation's counties
  • Field mapping methods using national standards are used to construct the soil maps in the SSURGO database
  • Designed for use by landowners, townships, and county natural resource management
  • Serves as an excellent source for land use planning, environmental planning, and water resources planning
  • The following examples of information can be queried from the database: available water capacity, soil reaction, electrical conductivity, and flooding; building site development and engineering uses; cropland, woodland, rangeland, pastureland, and wildlife; and recreational development.

Notes and Limitations: The soil survey attribute database associated with the spatial soil map is a complicated database with more than 50 tables. The user should know about soils data and characteristics.

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Although Geographic Information Systems mapping of the borough pinpoints all directional signs, it does not include all data needed to comply with the program. “They want to see off-sets, heights, directions, locations, all kinds of stuff,” Faas said.

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