Digital Soil Mapping

What is Digital Soil Mapping?

The explosion of spectral and topographical data provides powerful inference into the distribution of this precious natural resource. In the last decade computing power and software innovation have allowed quantitative techniques to link these spatially dense data sources to soil classification and properties.  The pixel-based model representation of the data allows maps to better model of soil spatial distributions with gradual gradients and often complicated landscape patterns hard to capture with older polygon maps. These models afford better spatial and thematic resolution. Pixel, or raster-based, formats can also  be aggregated and vectorized after the fact to create comparable polygonal maps to those of older soil surveys thus creating a bridge between the old and the new.

Nauman Geospatial in DSM

In recent work, NGS has used new digital methods to streamline soil sampling design to create more detailed soil maps faster. Spatial data sources like Landsat TM satellite imagery and USGS National Elevation Dataset data can be used to help supplement classic soil sampling data to help develop soil property and erosion maps.

Example Erosion Prediction Maps: RUSLE and USPED

                                               RUSLE3d Based Model: Red = more erosion
                                                                USPED Based Model

Example DSM Workflow