GSDA:Obtaining Soil Type (SSURGO) Data from Soil Data Mart
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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a governmental agency which supports the preservation of natural resources and environments through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). They support the Soil Data Mart which is an order request site for soil data.
Soil type mapping is a major aspect of maintaining natural environments. Soil type data is supplied in two key forms; one of these is the Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) Database, and the other is the State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) Database. STATSGO data is defined on a state-wide level, whereas SSURGO is county-wide survey data. The SSURGO data also has a finer resolution than STATSGO.
Currently, SSURGO data is the only soil type that can be obtained from Soil Data Mart. Most of the United States is covered, but not all. The NRCS is still converting the county data into Shapefile format, it is projected to be completed by 2008. STATSGO data is accessible by other USDA NRCS means.
To download SSURGO soil type data from the Soil Data Mart:
- Go directly to Soil Data Mart at http://soildatamart.nrcs.usda.gov/. Or choose the obtain SSURGO soil type data from Soil Data Mart link.
- Click the Select State button. This will take you to a list of states and territories.
- Select the state of your choice.
- Click the Select County button. This will bring up a list of counties in the specified state.
- NOTE: You may also browse by survey area, but you will do that when you select a county anyway.
- Select the county of your choice.
- Push the Select Survey Area button. This will open a list of all available surveys for that county.
- Select the survey of your choice.
- Click the Download Data button. You will be taken to the data format selection page.
- Select the Spatial Data Only option at the top of the page.
- NOTE: You may also choose the spatial format and coordinate system of your choice. However, leave their default values; they should be ArcView Shapefile and UTM NAD 83 respectively. The reason for using the shapefile format is that it can be directly imported into WMS.
- Enter your e-mail address in the space provided.
- Push the Submit Request button. A window will pop-up indicating your order's location in the queue and that you will be notified when it is ready via e-mail.
- Close the window and wait patiently for the e-mail. It should have Soil Data Mart export notification in the subject line.
- Open the e-mail.
- Click on the download link. It should initialize the download automatically.
- Save the file to your computer.
- Decompress the zip file (Help - Decompressing Files)
Now you have the SSURGO soil type data for the area that you requested. It can directly be imported into WMS since it is already in shapefile format.