Mapping Soil with the Web Soil Survey

timer Asked: Jun 21st, 2018

Question description

The goal of this lab is to introduce you to the online soil survey and associated tools. These resources are available to the public, and could be useful to you if you ever plan to purchase a home, purchase or sell land, farm, or build facilities in a rural area.

This lab exercise may be done on a computer of your choice.

Your entry point into the web soil survey (this lab) is the following link: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Start the Web Soil Survey (WSS) by pushing the green button.

Note the tabs at the top of the page (Area of Interest AOI, Soil Map, Soil Data Explorer, and Shopping Cart). Also note the location search options down the left side of the frame, including the lat/long option.

Data and Methods:

The geographic coordinates for the three sites you are going to visit are as follows:

34:46:9.77N, 87:45:22.74W

34: 45:58.65N, 87:45:40.2W

34:46:46.4N, 87:46:25.85W

(Note the format for entering the geographic coordinates is quite specific for this tool)

Enter the coordinates for each location.


  1. What is the NRCS?

For each of the study areas, answer the following questions:

  1. What is the soil type for the sample site?
  2. What is the most abundant soil type in your defined Area of Interest?
  3. Click on the map unit name for the most abundant soil map unit and include in your report the ‘typical soil profile.’

Go to the Soil Data Explorer tab and evaluate the following for each of your AOI:

Land Classification: Farmland Classification and Non-Irrigated Capability Classification

Sanitary Facilites: Sanitary Landfill (area)

5. What soil units in your areas of interest are classified as prime farmland?

6. What capability classifications are the soils in your area of interest?

7. Which soils in your AOI are suitable for a sanitary landfill?

As part of your analysis, include maps with any tables or text that describe the categories produced by each question (farmland, landfill, etc.).

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