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
AmericasFarmers Edge Announces New Retail-Facing Precision Ag Platform
September 25, 2018
Farmers Edge announced the launch of a new solution designed exclusively for agricultural professionals to enhance their relationships with customers Read More
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
Trending Articles
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil Sensors
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower-Retailer
Imagery/SensingAgtech: 10 Things I Hate About You!
September 4, 2018
Before you get bent out of shape from the title, remember if you’ve read my articles before you know I Read More
Kansas State University
Industry NewsKansas State University, Topcon Form Precision Ag Research Partnership
August 30, 2018
Kansas State University and Topcon Agriculture are collaborating to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture and support farmers. Read More
Blockchain building block graphic
Specialty CropsIs Blockchain the Future of Food Safety?
August 24, 2018
When the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized in 1982, permitting the worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks and eventually the Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Latest News
Satellite
AmericasArgentina Bets on $600m Satellite to Boost Agriculture …
September 25, 2018
Argentina is launching a new microwave imaging satellite to monitor natural disasters and soil moisture, in a long-term bid to Read More
AmericasFarmers Edge Announces New Retail-Facing Precision Ag P…
September 25, 2018
Farmers Edge announced the launch of a new solution designed exclusively for agricultural professionals to enhance their relationships with customers Read More
FIRA
EventsAgricultural Robotics Take Center Stage at FIRA 2018
September 24, 2018
The future of agricultural innovation will continue to rely heavily on collaboration and exchange of ideas among all industry players. Read More
Corn field sunset
Decision Support SoftwareLand O’Lakes SUSTAIN Launches Ambitious Digital S…
September 24, 2018
Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN today announced its plan to roll out the Truterra Insights Engine, an interactive on-farm digital platform that Read More
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Educatio…
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil …
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Compani…
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Decision Support SoftwareWhy Are 570 Million Farmers Not Yet Using Agricultural …
September 17, 2018
Until recently, using agricultural apps and software was a rare practice among growers. This is now changing. The mass adoption Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps T…
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Wingtra
DronesOpinion: Combining Two Pluses with the WingtraOne UAV
September 13, 2018
For the every-day consumer interested in UAVs, there is an ocean of products from which to choose. This includes the Read More
Farmer-tablet
AsiaShould Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to…
September 12, 2018
Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for PrecisionAg.com’s sister site, AgriBusinessGlobal.com. This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Now, Read More
ICON-Link-Licensing_featured-image
Industry NewsValley Irrigation Adds Remote Irrigation Management Opt…
September 11, 2018
Valley Irrigation, an industry leader in smart irrigation solutions, has announced enhancements to its remote management technologies. Multi-Year Licensing In Read More
Reflex-Connect-Agri-Inject-featured-image
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable Rate Fertigation System Expands with Mobile Co…
September 10, 2018
Building on the success of its Reflex Variable Rate Fertigation system, Agri-Inject has taken fluid injection to the next level Read More
Industry NewsTeralytic Earns Ag Data Transparent Certification
September 10, 2018
Soil analytics company Teralytic has completed the Ag Data Transparent certification, affirming that their data use is private, secure, and Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Industry NewsRaven, Topcon Announce Slingshot API Agreement
September 6, 2018
Raven Industries and Topcon Agriculture announced today a licensing agreement for Topcon Agriculture’s use of the Slingshot Application Programming Interface Read More