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Property Soil Data

Need to know soil information on a particular piece of property? The Wisconsin Soils Program from the National Resources Conservation Service can offer several options. Following the link entitled “Soil Survey Information and Products” presents the researcher with several interactive tools.

The Soil Data Mart is a very dynamic database and can be a bit intimidating. However, if you are looking for detailed information for a broad area of land, this is a great choice. I prefer to use the Web Soil Survey. It is a simple three step process and produces great reports with color photos.

The first step is to define the “area of interest.” Options to navigate include narrowing by address, county, PLSS, and more. Once the property appears on the map, the user defines the specific area of interest using the radio button. Using the cursor, the researcher selects the land boundaries for the reports.

Click on the “soil map” tab for a listing of soil types. The next tab labeled “soil data explorer” provides addition data covering numerous topics. As one example:

A researcher can determine the quality of the soil for farming purposes. The steps include selecting the “suitability and limitations for use” tab, then “land classification,” and finally “farmland classification.” A report will generate for the area chosen after clicking on “view rating.”

When utilizing the site, the researcher will often see a “view description” option which launches a pop-up window offering general information about the data being provided.

Another tool is the “shopping cart.” This tab provides a listing of the custom reports created and allows the user to produce (for free) a detailed .pdf report summarizing the information gathered.

I have also used the Archived Soil Data page for Wisconsin. It lists numerous county soil surveys. The chart indicates in what format the data is available. It also lists the date of the soil survey. If it is available online, the county name is hyperlinked to the actual report.

Several counties and municipalities also offer basic soil data via their GIS mapping capabilities. A nice listing of which counties offer GIS mapping is provided by University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

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