GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 179-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


SCHULZE, Darrell G., Agronomy Dept, Purdue University, 915 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907 and NETWORK, The Isee,, 915 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907; The Isee Network, 915 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907

Soil Explorer is designed to help students and the general public understand how and why soils and landscapes vary at different scales and why it matters. Currently available as an app for Apple iPad and as a website (, Soil Explorer will also be available for iPhone and Android platforms in late 2018. Soil Explorer uses a hillshade base map derived from the best available elevation data from the US Geological Survey’s 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) ( and other sources. The hillshade is calculated to ~5 meter resolution (~1:18,000) and is exceptionally detailed where 1/9 arc second (~3.5 meter) 3DEP or other lidar data is available (~25% of the conterminous US), and less detailed where only 1/3 arc second (~10 meter) data is available. The U.S. Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO) provides the data for a growing number of soil property maps that are draped over the hillshade. Maps currently available for the conterminous US include Soil Orders, Natural Soil Drainage Classes, and Fragipans. A Dominant Soil Parent Materials map is available for 7 states, with 10 more states in draft form or to be added soon. Aerial imagery and a topographic map from the USGS are also available. Originally designed to support soil science education, maps displayed by Soil Explorer can be used for many other purposes such as geoscience and environmental science education, habitat assessment, and geomorphology studies.