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Web Soil Survey Update Improves Data Delivery, Customer Service

Data on soils on the nation’s 3,265 soil survey areas are now updated and available free online from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

“This update is a major step-forward in meeting the growing demand for NRCS soils data,” said Dave Hoover, NRCS national leader of Soil Business Systems. “Our soil scientists in every state helped us upgrade all our software and databases, improve our spatial data, and put together a complete suite of soil interpretations and other products our customers want.”

This update, the first since the Web Soil Survey went online in 2005, features:

  • Soils data for the Continental U.S. that flows seamlessly, without gaps, across county lines and other political boundaries;
  • A full complement of national soil survey interpretations that let users analyze interpretations nationally, regionally and in several states at one time;
  • The first set of soil survey Major Land Resource Area update projects; and
  • A subscription feature that forwards updates for specific soil survey areas directly to customers via email.

The NRCS Web Soil Survey now serves more than 180,000 users a month, attracting a large audience that includes landscape architects, community planners, real estate developers, engineers, as well as researchers in universities. Everyday, people in agriculture reference the survey, as do NRCS employees as they help customers with a host of issues and questions, and putting together conservation plans.

In a typical month, users print nearly 100,000 soil surveys and reports on soil properties and interpretations directly from the Web Soil Survey, and download more than 25,000 soil survey reports.

“Starting this year, we will refresh our soils data every October,” said Dave Smith, NRCS acting deputy chief for Soil Science and Assessment. “Our goal is to keep giving our customers even better and more up-to-date tools for assessing their soils, developing conservation plans for their farms, or whatever they need our data for.”

Web Soil Survey customers can click on the “Contact Us” link in Web Soil Survey to get assistance from the Soils Hotline, a state soil scientist or a local NRCS Office.

NRCS encourages everyone interested in soils to subscribe to GovDelivery, a free service.

For assistance with Web Soil Survey or GovDelivery, please send an email to

Visit the Web Soil Survey for the nation’s soil information:

Visit the Web Soil Survey for the nation’s soil information:

2 Responses to “Web Soil Survey Update Improves Data Delivery, Customer Service”

  1. David Perrings PE says:

    Brad Fisher,

    Thanks for your article on the Web Soil Survey Improvement in Data Delivery.

    I had a chance to use it on a project recently. The ability to generate automatic reports when all i have to do is input the boundary area of interest as a shape file from my boundary that i have areadly have created in autocad is really slick.

    The quality of the computer generated maps with text annotation is really great.

    I have a few questions:

    1. What software is the bases for all of this ?

    2. Are other governmental agencies that have a need to deliver geospatial data doing the same or similiar things ?

    Thanks again.

    David Perrings, PE
    P/A Design Resources, Inc.
    Walnut Creek Ca

  2. Paul Finnell says:

    There are many software used in the development, however the underlying software for the publication process is SQLServer 2008, soon to be 2012.
    I am not familar with other agency spatial publication products to speak to the second question.

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