Accessing USDA Soil Data for Precision Farming

Many precision farming websites have integrated the USDA NRCS soil survey database using the USDA Soil Data Access web portal. Precision farming websites use the USDA soils database as a foundation for understanding the types of soils found within a farmer’s field. Although the soil survey was created for “broad land use planning,” the soils information can help to answer precision farming questions. Unfortunately, many of these precision farming websites are searching for appropriate methods of using the data. For the precision farming community, this same soil data is available to the public via several public web portals and applications. The community has several web portals that are tailored to specific soil data uses.

Web Soil Survey Website
Web Soil Survey is the premier USDA website that allows users to develop a tailored soil survey manuscript.

The USDA NRCS digitized the soil surveys to create a spatial and attribute database named the Soil Data Mart. NRCS, in conjunction with cooperators, have developed several free web portals to access the Soil Data Mart. These web portals provide users access to a wealth of soil information. The Soil Data Access web portal provides direct access for third-party applications allowing the precision farming developers to seamlessly integrate soil information into their websites. The Web Soil Survey portal is the premier USDA website that allows users to develop a tailored soil survey manuscript. SoilWeb is a browser and a smartphone app, created by University of California Davis staff, that has become the foremost field tool used by the precision farming audience. And, for those who use Google Earth Pro, the SoilWeb Earth KML file, created by University of California Davis staff, can be used to access the soil information. An 18-minute YouTube video is available providing an overview on the three most commonly used web portals accessing the USDA soils database.

The Web Soil Survey was designed as a web-based Geographic Information System using Microsoft Bing imagery. Web Soil Survey allows the user to identify a specific area of interest, gather various GIS thematic maps, create a tailored variety of soil reports, and develop a digital soil survey manuscript. Web Soil Survey was created to replace the historical hard copy manuscripts.

In partnership with NRCS, the University of California at Davis California Soil Resource Lab put forth repackaging the NRCS Soil Data Mart data to create a variety of user friendly tools. The most accessed site is the SoilWeb application. SoilWeb uses Google Maps technology. The SoilWeb application provides tools for web browsing, Google Earth Pro, and smartphone technology.

SoilWeb
SoilWeb is a browser and a smartphone app, created by University of California Davis staff, that has become the foremost field tool used by the precision farming audience.

For the more sophisticated users, Google Earth Pro uses the SoilWeb Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file developed by the staff at the University of California at Davis California Soil Resource Lab. Google Earth Pro allows users the ability to include additional custom layers, historical imagery, create fly-through videos, time and animation, photo overlays, and the ability to view the landscape in 3D. Google Earth Pro is a resource for agronomists and consultants to develop quality products to assist the customer to understand the soil resource. Google Earth Pro KML delivers access to the soil sample locations used to assist in building the soil component properties. These analyzed pedons become visible if there are sites within the area as shown below on the Lancaster and Hedville points. Access to the sampled point data can help to identify specific soil properties within the specific locations.

Google Earth Pro
Google Earth Pro allows users the ability to include additional custom layers, historical imagery, create fly-through videos, time and animation, photo overlays, and the ability to view the landscape in 3D.

A variety of tools have been created to provide users access to the soils data to meet their needs. These tools are available to us via our home computer or smartphone. There is a vast wealth of information contained within the Soil Data Mart database. The U.S. is the only country in the world with a coast-to-coast soil survey inventory. More than 97% of the private land is mapped with soil properties. Each tool accesses the same Soil Data Mart database, which is updated on an annual basis each October. Individually, each product addresses a specific need for a specific user. Collectively, these products provide the most robust and free access to the largest soils database in the world.

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Ohio State
Data ManagementRecap: The Ohio State University Explores Ag Tech ROI at Soybean Workshop
October 19, 2017
How do soybean producers begin to extract value from the vast selection of digital tools available in agriculture today? At Read More
corn weather
Data ManagementSeasonal Weather Outlooks: High Risk Worth the Reward?
October 18, 2017
Often, when discussing weather service needs with a potential client, I am asked about the possibility of providing long-range weather Read More
Vector-and-Raster-image
Data ManagementUsing Vector Soil Data in a Raster World?
October 16, 2017
Why spend the time and resources to extract the NRCS ‘Soil SURvey GeOgraphic’ (SSURGO) soil polygons only to display the Read More
Young Corn Field
Data ManagementPurdue Online Tool to Help Farmers Make Precision Decisions, Keep Data Private
September 14, 2017
An innovative online tool developed by a Purdue University engineering professor will allow farmers to process data collected from their Read More
Trending Articles
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imagery Deal
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Corn Field Sunset
Industry NewsEFC Systems’ FieldAlytics Now Available in Canada
September 29, 2017
According to an AgPR news release, FieldAlytics is now available in Canada through FieldAlytics Solutions Canada, Inc. This new company Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSciFi in Ag: Chatbot with your Plants?
September 26, 2017
(Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
deepfield-robotics-bonirob
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Technology at Agrilevante
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
Latest News
Robotic-Field-Scanner
Specialty CropsOpinion: Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You
October 20, 2017
If you think your world is changing at a dizzying pace, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. That’s my takeaway from Read More
Ohio State
Data ManagementRecap: The Ohio State University Explores Ag Tech ROI a…
October 19, 2017
How do soybean producers begin to extract value from the vast selection of digital tools available in agriculture today? At Read More
Industry NewsAGCO, Climate Corp. Announce Digital Partnership
October 19, 2017
AGCO announced today a new digital partnership with The Climate Corp. that will provide AGCO customers the option to connect Read More
Industry NewsFieldReveal Inks Agreement with Texas Agronomy Outfit
October 19, 2017
FieldReveal has entered into an agreement with Ag Producers Cooperative of Dalhart, TX, to offer the full FieldReveal precision ag Read More
corn weather
Data ManagementSeasonal Weather Outlooks: High Risk Worth the Reward?
October 18, 2017
Often, when discussing weather service needs with a potential client, I am asked about the possibility of providing long-range weather Read More
Industry NewsAgDNA Announces Dealership Expansion
October 18, 2017
This week AgDNA surpassed their growth projections, announcing partnerships with eight new multi-store dealerships across the mid-west, mid-south and east Read More
Tomato-crop-India
AsiaIndia Maps 185 Districts Through Remote Sensing for Hor…
October 17, 2017
India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture has mapped 185 districts under a project using remote sensing technology to identify areas best Read More
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient …
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Vector-and-Raster-image
Data ManagementUsing Vector Soil Data in a Raster World?
October 16, 2017
Why spend the time and resources to extract the NRCS ‘Soil SURvey GeOgraphic’ (SSURGO) soil polygons only to display the Read More
Precision Irrigation
Precision Irrigation4 Important Ways Precision Technology Is Impacting Irri…
October 12, 2017
Water management is becoming an increasing concern in agriculture, whether that’s dealing with too much or too little water. This Read More
DronesDroneLife: Global Ag Drone Industry Potentially Worth $…
October 12, 2017
Via DroneLife.com’s Jason Reagan: According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imag…
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Planet Labs satellite imagery
Industry NewsFarmers Edge, Planet Labs Announce Multi-Year Exclusive…
October 11, 2017
Farmers Edge announced today a strategic partnership to bring Planet’s best-in-class global monitoring platform to the Farmers Edge precision agriculture Read More
John Deere Combine Harvester at Hagen Farms
Decision Support SoftwareAg and Rail Equipment Uptime Critical for Good Harvest
October 9, 2017
Across the American Heartland, growers have started harvesting their crops for what the USDA predicts will be a good yield Read More
Ag Drone
Industry NewsBotlink, SST Announce Integration
October 6, 2017
Botlink has announced a seamless flow of actionable aerial data into the agX Platform. This integration makes it quick and Read More
corn field
Industry NewsEFC Purchases AgSolver Assets, Establishes New Sustaina…
October 6, 2017
EFC Systems announced it has purchased the assets of AgSolver Inc. The move establishes a new Agronomic Planning and Sustainabilty Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
Australia/New ZealandNew Technologies vs. Agronomic Knowledge in Precision A…
October 4, 2017
As the days are getting longer and the temperature is starting to rise, Australian broadacre growers are gearing up for Read More
Field Sky Beauty shot
Industry NewsClimate, West Central Distribution Join Forces on Phosp…
October 3, 2017
To help farmers improve productivity and return on their investment, West Central Distribution and The Climate Corporation have teamed up Read More