3 October 2013
NRCS Web Soil Survey and Soil Data Mart Shut Down
Posted by John Freeland
The popular Natural Resources Conservation Service Web Soil Survey and Soil Data Mart are currently shut down, due to the federal government conflict over funding.
As an environmental science consultant in the private sector, I frequently use these soil mapping and data resources when characterizing existing site conditions associated with major infrastructure projects.
In years past, consultants typically kept a collection of hard-copy county soil survey books but got away from them after the roll-out of Web Soil Survey and the Soil Data Mart, which offer updated color aerial photography, ability to download summaries, shape files, data tables, and other GIS functions.
It’s a nuisance not having the information available.
[…] websites that are shut down and not showing any data. In my ecology class, I have to access the web soil survey data, which is also […]
I found this add-on from UC Davis for viewing soil maps a few in Google Earth:
(Look for “Google Earth Interface” down a little on the page).
It also provides soil descriptions and I have no complaints with it. I’ve been using it 3 or 4 years now.
It’s much faster and easier to use than NRCS’s site – and not prone to shut downs. And, my Cassandra instinct indicates another may be right around the corner.
Also note that many of the printed soil surveys are now out of date – the SCS has remapped and refined many areas – but they can still provide historic reference. And, they are good in the field if you don’t have a smart phone or internet connection.
Jack: thanks for the note. Yes, I also found the UC-Davis and Google soils site and am glad someone is backing up the government information in view of these shutdowns. I have to believe we are going to see more of them. I think we need to remember, though, that the data originated from federal Soil Survey. I’m sure they have field and bench studies going on that require time-sensitive data collection. There may be statistical techniques for handling gaps, but, as a researcher, you hate to have an incomplete data set.