NRCS National Geospatial Development Center

The NGDC is a collaboration between the NRCS and WVU.

Soils Resource Inventory Toolbox (SRITB)

The Soil Resource Inventory Toolbox (SRITB) is a set of Geographic Information System (GIS) based standards, procedures, and tools designed to facilitate the development and maintenance of soil spatial and tabular data at Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) Soil Survey Offices (SSO). This project is being conducted in collaboration with the West Texas Telecommunications Project.

The Soil Resource Inventory Toolbox (SRITB) is designed to help project soil scientists collect, edit, analyze, and manage the array of observations and data they routinely collect in the field and create and edit the soil maps they produce. Development of SRITB began in earnest in 2005. Major contributors include NGDC; the National Cartography and Geospatial Center (NCGC); numerous National, State, and field level soil scientists; and other National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) cooperators. Programming support is being provided by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) with funding provided largely by the West Texas Telecommunications Project earmark. SRITB includes five major multi-faceted projects:

Soil Point Data Collection, Analysis and Display
Geospatial Editing Tools
Geospatial Data Acquisition and Integration
Geospatial Data Analysis
Geospatial Data Check Out/Check In


SOIL POINT DATA COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND DISPLAY

The SRITB Point Data Collection, Analysis and Display project is developing a number of tools to facilitate the collection, automation, integration, and management of site and pedon descriptions and laboratory characterization data. The cornerstone of this project is PedonPC, a Microsoft Access application with data entry forms and other features to enable direct entry of site and pedon descriptions in the field on tablet computers. For those not wanting to drag a computer to the field, even a tablet, PedonPC also will work fine in the office on a laptop or desktop. PedonPC even includes a data entry form sized specifically for the 21 inch monitors on the newer soil survey office computer systems. As an added feature, the forms are completely customizable so that a Project Leader can hide or rearrange columns, change the width of columns, and even hide entire tables. The more advanced, complex customizations do require some knowledge of Microsoft Access. However, right out of the box, the forms provide a very usable format for data entry. Data entry forms in PedonPC were developed from the Montana Migrator Program originally developed by Jonathan Gottschalk, a field soil scientist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey in Montana.

PedonPC was officially released for use in April 2006.
PedonPC uses the NASIS Point Data Structure model and NASIS data dictionary. Once data have been entered, and checked they can be uploaded to NASIS. NASIS remains the official data repository for all site and pedon descriptions.

PedonPC 3.0 is currently available from the National Soil Information System Download page. An auto-population tool that can automatically enter the geographic coordinates of the pedon location in the field if your tablet or laptop is connected to a GPS receiver, has been released as well. If you also have ArcGIS and a few useful spatial layers loaded, the auto-population tool will populate the state, county, and other area overlap data as well.

A set of analysis tools built off from PedonPC 3.0 include the capability to import data from NASIS, a form to create complex queries for data analysis, and a linkage to ArcGIS so you can overlay site/pedon locations and other attributes on your soils map or other spatial layers as well as subset your selected set based on data points selected in ArcGIS.

The latest version of PedonPC and a User’s Guide can be downloaded from:

http://soils.usda.gov/technical/nasis/downloads/index.html#PedonPC

A PedonPC training video, developed by the Point Data team, and other PedonPC training materials can be downloaded and viewed from:

http://www.soils.usda.gov/education/training/

Future capabilities being developed or planned in conjunction with the Point Data Collection, Analysis and Use project include the integration of the National Soil Survey Laboratory and other laboratory characterization data with PedonPC for viewing, querying, and analysis; enhancements to the Point Data Structure model to enable entry of long- and short-duration monitoring data; other data model and data dictionary changes and enhancements.

Contact: Henry Ferguson, Soil Scientist, NGDC at henry.ferguson@wv.usda.gov
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GEOSPATIAL EDITING TOOLS

The Geospatial Editing Tools project is developing a number of custom, easy-to-use geospatial tools to complement existing ESRI ArcGIS tools to support the capture, editing, maintenance, and quality assurance/quality control of soils spatial data. The Geospatial Editing Tools include the capability to organize tool bars and other features of the ArcGIS data frame into an intuitive workflow process to help soil scientists develop the skill required to effectively and efficiently use ArcGIS and to better utilize the limited screen real estate on tablet computers. One really slick feature is a button to hide/show the table of contents pane without changing the scale of the map view in the data frame.

The Digital Editing Tools are available to National Cooperative Soil Survey Partners by contacting the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The tools are part of a Common Computing Environment certified ArcGIS extension that is available from the Team Services page of the Information Technology Support staff.

Contact: Dwain Daniels, Soil Scientist, NCGC at dwain.daniels@ftw.usda.gov
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GEOSPATIAL DATA ACQUISITION AND INTEGRATION

The Geospatial Data Acquisition and Integration project will address issues associated with the acquisition and preparation of digital data layers with multi-county extents (MLRA Soil Survey Project Areas) for use in a GIS, including centralized data storage, standardized naming conventions, data availability, data preprocessing (extraction, projection, file format conversions), data documentation (metadata), and data quality. Primary project objectives include:

1. Develop procedures to locate, evaluate, process, and maintain ancillary spatial layers needed to analyze, develop, and maintain soil spatial data;
2. Establish standard file structures and naming conventions for ancillary and derivative data layers to simplify data management at MLRA Soil Survey Offices;
3. Develop and document standard procedures for creating derivative data layers (slope gradient, slope curvature, NDVI, etc.) from reference data layers;
4. Develop standards and procedures to ensure that metadata for all soils, ancillary, and derivative data layers are well populated;
5. Develop procedures for archiving ancillary and derivative data layers used in the development of soil spatial data.

Contact: Tony Kimmet, Cartographer, NCGC at tony.kimmet@ftw.usda.gov
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GEOSPATIAL DATA ANALYSIS

The Geospatial Data Analysis project will address issues associated with the analysis of geospatial data in a GIS for the purposes of developing new soil survey data and evaluating and updating existing soil survey data. This project proposes to build a suite of tools to facilitate the consistent development and analysis of raster data layers used to construct preliminary soil-landscape models; to compute statistics for raster data layers by selected map unit polygons; and to query the vector database for soil physical, environmental, or interpretive properties and view the results. Primary project objectives include:

1. Provide a simplified user interface to analytical functionality currently available in

2. Spatial Analyst, including the development and documentation of models for common raster analysis functions.

3. Enable the analysis of point and polygon data in order to:
    a. Locate transects or other sampling locations based on existing point observations, polygon mapping, and ancillary data layers;
    b. Compute, compare, and analyze a series of statistics from ancillary raster and/or vector data layers based on selected polygons of a map unit;
    c. Analyze and aggregate soil polygons to create general soil map units;
    d. Display the spatial distribution of soil properties, soil interpretations, and soil map units (similar to Soil Data Viewer).

4. Continue to develop and assess digital soil mapping or predictive soil modeling methods in order to effectively integrate them with current soil survey functions and applications.

5. Enable the effective use of remotely sensed data through the development of a Remote Sensing in Soil Survey Applications class.

6. Archive GIS and soil-landscape models used to create soil survey data in a central location accessible to all soil scientists.

7. Develop user guides and training materials related to tools developed and deployed.

Contact: Amanda Moore, GIS Specialist, NGDC at amanda.moore@wv.usda.gov
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GEOSPATIAL DATA CHECK OUT/ CHECK IN

The purpose of this project is to research and test the technology and process by which a desired area of interest can be checked out of a larger extent of soils spatial data, edited, and then checked back in and reconciled with the original spatial data. This process is somewhat analogous to creating a selected set in NASIS, editing various attributes, and then saving the data back to the NASIS database. Development of a Check Out/Check In Toolbar has been integrated into a larger on-going project to research, develop the design for, and deliver a science-based, geospatially-integrated National Soil Geospatial Database (NSGD).