NRCS SSURGO-Certified Soils
- The Soils datalayer has been automated from published soils surveys as provided on various media by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). All soils data released by MassGIS have been "SSURGO-certified," which means they have been reviewed and approved by the NRCS and meet all standards and requirements for inclusion in the national release of county-level digital soils data. Soil survey areas are roughly based on county boundaries.The SSURGO-certified soils dataset is generally the most detailed level of soil geographic data developed by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. The information was prepared by digitizing maps, by compiling information onto a planimetric correct base and digitizing, or by revising digitized maps using remotely sensed and other information. The data include a detailed, field verified inventory of soils and miscellaneous areas that normally occur in a repeatable pattern on the landscape and that can be cartographically shown at the scale mapped. Data for survey areas were developed using various scale base maps: some areas at a 1:25,000 or 1:12,000 scale, or at larger scales where source materials (e.g. 1:5,000 MassGIS ortho imagery) were available. Details for a specific survey area are provided in the NRCS-produced metadata that are distributed with the spatial data.The soil map units are linked to attributes in the National Soil Information System (NASIS) relational database, which gives the proportionate extent of the component soils and their properties.At MassGIS the soils datalayer is stored in ArcSDE for Oracle as the statewide feature class SOILS_POLY. Two companion layers, SOILSPOT_PT and SOILSPOT_ARC, represent "special" or "ad hoc" features such as gravel pits, wet areas, bedrock escarpments and others. These layers display the location of features too small to delineate at the mapping scale, but they are large enough and contrasting enough to significantly influence use and management.With the November 2012 update, soils data are available statewide.
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