FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Date
For More Information Contact:
Paige Buck, State Public Affairs Specialist, (217) 353.6606
Jody Christiansen, Public
Affairs Specialist (217) 353.6627
Need Soils Site Data? There’s an “App” For That!
Champaign, IL—Before you dig or build—in fact, before you start
planning to dig or build—there is something you must investigate first: the
soil. To assist your research, consider using a digital soils application
created by professional soil scientists nationwide—the Web Soil Survey
According to all the soil scientists at the Illinois Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS), you’ll be glad you did!
“The science of soil is a fascinating area of study,” says Gary Struben, State
Soil Scientist for Illinois’ NRCS. “The Web Soil Survey, or WSS, is a modern
application that pulls together site-specific soil data characteristics to
ensure individuals, professions, and industries find success,” Struben adds.
Data in WSS is a product of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, a joint effort
of USDA’s NRCS and other Federal agencies, State agencies, and other partners.
NRCS continues to promote use of the WSS tool, deemed successful and valuable
because using WSS’ web tool is fast and easy. “You define the site or location
in question, access soil data to select properties to investigate, run a report
of the findings, and then print or download the report,” says Struben.
With the WSS, users access data about physical and chemical soil properties.
They then correlate those properties with map data to determine how well suited
(or poorly suited) a site is for a particular land use or project.
“Think about it—soil properties, strengths and weaknesses--are key to the
success or the failure of nearly every project,” says Bill Gradle, State
Conservationist for NRCS. “Whether it’s a new house with a basement, a tree
planting project, or the development of a new business strip mall. Soil on the
site can make it or break it.”
First launched in August 2005, WSS is used thousands of times daily by
engineers, planners, builders and scientists. Interpretations and
recommendations generated from soil data are ideal for anyone deciding where or
how to dig. Current WSS soil data is available for every Illinois county, rural
or urban, and for more than 90% of counties across the nation.
“Of all the layers users download to create maps or whatever digital image or
GPS scenario you need, make sure your base layer includes the soil. Why? Because
that’s what you’re building on to or in to. Soil should be considered
first--it’s that important,” Struben adds.
USDA history confirms agricultural producers have used Soil Survey reports for
nearly 100 years; they still use them today. WSS is the 21st Century version of
those reports, offering priceless advice and data to landowners and others in
search of wise and successful land use decisions.
WSS contains valuable digital data and allows users to query, sort, and
correlate information with a quick and user-friendly online application. “And
because WSS is a technical aid from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is
available free of charge and without commercials or advertisements,” says Gradle.
To visit or investigate soils involved in your next earth-moving project, visit
NRCS - Helping People Help the Land
An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer
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The following document is available in
WSS_NEWS_2011.docx (DOCX, 57kb)