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 multiple formats on the Internet, free-of-charge, or on inexpensive CD-ROMs. 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 on the Internet or CD-ROM are available only in scattered locations.
Web Soil Survey - Soils data from the STATSGO database are available for every state except Alaska. Contact information is given for Alaska data. Data can be downloaded in DOS (Arc Export or DLG) or UNIX (Arc Export, DLG, or GRASS) formats.

National SSURGO Database Site - Includes documentation, fact sheets with status maps, and SSURGO data (DLG format on the web site, Arc/Info export format for some areas by purchasing a CD-ROM).

Historical Data
For information on past versions of this standard, contact the National Data Administrator, Branch of Data and 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Part 270, FW 6, Data Management and Standards, has been superceded by Part 274, FW 2, Establishing Service Data Standards.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
January 28, 2011
Data Steward Chris Lett, National FWS GIS Coordinator, Branch of Data and System Services, Division of Information Resources and Technology Management.


Last updated: February 5, 2013