NRCS National Geospatial Development Center

The NGDC is a collaboration between the NRCS and WVU.

News Archive

September 2009

The Soil Survey Division-NGDC sponsored JTX Workshop, August 11-13th

      The Soil Survey Division-NGDC sponsored a JTX Workshop (“Introduction to Job Tracking (JTX) for ArcGIS”, August 11-13, 2009 in Ft. Worth, TX). Total of (12) classroom students, representing MLRA SSA, DU, MO1, MO9, NCGC, and NGDC, staffs participated in the 2 day session. In addition, during the first day, about 16 individuals joined remotely for the general Introduction to Job Tracking. These included DU staff representatives from KS, MI, MO, MT, and WI along with NGDC staff, the National SSURGO Coordinator, and MLRA SSO staff. This workshop introduced the key concepts of Job Tracking, defining and linking jobs into workflows, assigning users to groups with privileges and also assigning jobs to individuals within groups. This workshop is a good example of how NSGD Team members are gaining new skills to help prepare and document workflow systems to make our field scientists more efficient and productive as they create more consistent MLRA soil survey products.

JTX was developed out of disaster-relief needs (NIMA following 9/11) for a workflow management tool that directly supported GIS operations and has since developed into a fully functional management and job-tacking application used for GIS intensive operations. Participants learned standard definitions for a “job” (unit of work performed by one or more people) and “workflow” (logistical organization of the job’s tasks determining what work needs to be performed in order for a job to be considered a success). “Workflow management” is the organization of tasks to ensure no step is missed was also covered along with many details that effectively “automate” repetitive tasks to improve productivity. Participants learned that JTX workflows can also include non-GIS jobs such as reviewing written documentation, etc.

Some comments from the class participants included “attempting to prepare work flows really forced us to understand what a job is and the sequence of jobs performed and by whom, from beginning to end…” “ JTX reminds me of MSProject, but with spatial data…” “ JTX operates a lot like the ArcGIS Model Builder…”

Jennifer Sweet served as the technical point of contact for the JTX Workshop and made sure the class was successful for the participants.

Developing the NSGD supports NRCS and USDA goals of contributing digital soils information into a common Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) where reliable soils information services can be consumed into many programmatic applications, such as the FOTG more efficiently than is possible with current systems.

For more information please send email to

May 2009

May 18th, 2009: (GSM) Technicial Workshop -North American Node

      Dr. Alex McBratney will be at NGDC on May 18 to present a workshop on the project and methodologies to produce soil property information from legacy soil survey data (soil maps and point data).   Agenda: Word | PDF

May 26th, 2009: Presentation on the National Atlas for Ecosystems Services Project by Anne Neale

      There will be a presentation by Anne Neale, Physical Scientist with the US EPA Landscape Ecology section at the National Research Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) on Tuesday, May 26th, 2009. It will be a presentation on the National Atlas for Ecosystem Services project who’s overarching objective is to provide easily accessible nationwide maps of ecosystem services that can be used to inform and influence environmental decision-making in the conterminous US.   

April 2009

Alfred Hartemink will be visiting the NGDC the week of April 20th

      Dr. Hartemink is a soil scientist based in Wageningen, the Netherlands. He works at ISRIC – World Soil Information in Wageningen, the Netherlands. He holds a MS degree in soil science and plant nutrition from Wageningen University and obtained his PhD from the University of Reading.

      Dr. Hartemink will be discussing the project and other projects with the NGDC staff and will spend time with the MLRA office staff in Morgantown. He will be giving symposiums at the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences.

       Agenda: Word | PDF

Congratulations to the West Virginia University Soils Team!

      Congratulations to NGDC-WVU Co-Director Dr. James Thompson and NGDC-NRCS Cartographic Technician Katey Buckland in their placement at the National Collegiate Soils Contest in Springfield, MO. The WVU Soils Team traveled to Springfield, Missouri for the National Collegiate Soils Contest. Despite having only two students with previous experience at the national level, the Team performed well. All four individual judgers finished in the top third of the field, with Katey Buckland, an NGDC-NRCS Cartographic Technician, placing an overall 32nd. The Team also placed fifth in the group judging event, which is the Team’s best finish ever in that part of the competition. Based on the strength of both the individual and group judging, the Team finished third in the overall contest. WVU was the highest placing team of all the schools from the Southeast Region.


March 2009

Thanks to all who made our Open House a success!

      The National Geospatial Development Center (NGDC) hosted an open house on Thursday, February 5, 2009, to mark the formal opening of its new office in the Prete Building.

      After five years on the Downtown Campus, the NGDC has relocated to the Prete Building, 3040 University Ave. Suite 3037, and has become a part of the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences in the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences at West Virginia University. The open house provided an opportunity for members of the community to meet with NGDC staff and learn about some of our new and ongoing projects. The NGDC has worked closely with members of the WVU community and local NRCS staff on various projects, and we look forward to greater involvement with interested University researchers and NRCS employees.

      The NGDC would like to thank everyone who contributed to making our Open House a success.


Staff Members & Guests

Row 1: Jim Canon, Melissa Marinaro, Sharon Waltman, Michael Golden (Soil Survey Division Director), Sal Magnotta

Row 2: Mike Hansen, Jon Hempel (NRCS Co-Director), James Thompson (WVU Co-Director), Katey Buckland, Dan MacDonald, Aaron Burkholder (sitting), Darrell Kautz (sitting), Henry Ferguson

The Last Day of Mike Hansen’s Detail at the NGDC is March 13th.
      Thank you for all of your hard work!

The West Virginia University Soils Team is attending the National Collegiate Soils Contest in Springfield, MO.
      Good luck to instructor and NGDC-WVU Co-Director Dr. James Thompson and NGDC-NRCS Cartographic Technician Katey Buckland!