Information Resources and Technology Management

Data Layer: SOILS

You are invited to read the definitions of terms used in this data standard.

Soils Data
Digital maps created by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). These data now exist in shapefile format on the Internet, free-of-charge. The State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) data are at a 1:250,000-scale (1:1,000,000-scale for Alaska) and are available nationally. The 1:24,000-scale Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) data are available on the Internet.
Web Soil Survey - Soils data from the SSURGO database are available for every state except Alaska. SSURGO Data on the USDA NRCS Web Soil Survey - Mapper interface that allows the user to select and download shapefiles and tabular data by defining an Area of Interest.

USDA NRCS Data Gateway - Select data in shapefile and tabular format by county. Data is free, but requires registration.

STATSGO2 Data on - Generalized soils data from the Statsgo system for every state except Alaska, in raster format, 1km grid size, with attribute tables that can be joined to the grid. (From USGS)

Historical Data
For information on past versions of this standard, contact the National Data Administrator, Geospatial and Data Systems Services, Division of Information Resources and Technology Management.

Part 270, FW 6, Data Management and Standards, has been superceded by Part 274, FW 2, Establishing Service Data Standards.

USDA NRCS Technical Resources - this site provides links to a variety of technical information, resources, tools, models, and data.

Use Instructions
The USDA NRCS is responsible for maintaining information on the nation's soil resource. Mapping soil information is just part of this responsibility. Mapped information and classification information is available for the entire country at a small scale. Larger-scale mapping is in progress, but a completion date is not known at this time.

The NRCS also had the lead within the FGDC for setting national standards for the soils data layer. These FGDC standards are similar to those already in use by the NRCS. The SSURGO data will be amended to match the national standards. It is unclear whether the STATSGO data will be edited in the same way. The Service will follow the standards and guidelines developed by these soils experts.

A number of tools and general notes have been developed for using the NRCS soils data sets. These tools are available at  Documentation and Tools for Utilizing NRCS Soils Data
Approval Date
March 21, 2000
Validation Date
July 30, 2014
Data Steward Chris Lett, National FWS GIS Coordinator, Geospatial and Data Services, Division of Information Resources and Technology Management.


Last updated: August 12, 2014