Engineers, hydrologists, farmers, foresters, planners and many others use soils data in their work. The goal of ArcGIS for Soils is to make that work easier by creating ready-to-use applications, services, and tools for working with soils information.
While soil is a key natural resource, the large amounts of detailed, information-rich soil data contained in databases such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Soil Survey Geographic Database have historically been challenging and time consuming to prepare and use in GIS. To people without GIS skills, the soil data has been difficult to impossible to access.
Making these data available in a way that is both accessible for the non-technical person and rapidly available for use in analyses unlocks the wealth of knowledge stored in these data and impacts a wide range of fields. Understanding the distribution and properties of soil lies at the heart of modern ecosystem management, hydrologic modeling, and land use planning and practices that degrade soil can have severe impacts such as loss of soil fertility, increases in wind erosion and dust storms, and pollution of our streams and rivers.
The Soils Community is working to build a collection of applications, services, and tools that demonstrate best practices for the incorporation of soil information across the ArcGIS System.
The Soils Team has created examples of easy to use applications and web maps and made the services behind these applications available to mash up with your own data. Additionally, the team has built an application that allows you to start working immediately with SSURGO data - rather than spending time preparing the data yourself. View the SSURGO Downloader application.
While still a work in progress, the Soils Community strives to make data that was previously hidden behind technological barriers accessible to audiences ranging from end users with no GIS experience to professional GIS analysts building sophisticated analyses.