SSURGO data are available in either the USGS Digital Line Graph (DLG-3) Optional Distribution Format or the SCS Geographic Exchange Format. SCS soil map symbols (e.g., AbC) are made available as ASCII file when SCS soils data are distributed in the DLG format.


The broad value of digital soils data is widely recognized at the federal, state, county, and local levels. Four agencies are identified in this agreement with a common need for soils data: the SCS, the State Department of Natural Resources (SDNR), the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), and the County Auditors (Counties), representing county government.

  • The SCS, in carrying out its responsibilities in the National Cooperative Soil Survey, has need for digitized soil survey data. The SCS uses these data for conservation planning, watershed management, engineering interpretations, and to help prioritize conservation and land use needs.

  • The SDNR in carrying out its assigned responsibilities under applicable state law has need for soil and water resources data from conservation programs to meet identified state and local needs.

  • The SEPA uses soils data to improve their ability to evaluate ground water pollution, aquifer and wellhead protection; perform best management practice selection and watershed prioritization; and develop pollutant-loading models and soil erosion models.

  • The Counties use soils data for purposes such as siting decisions, to determine soil limitations for various uses, and to determine agricultural land valuations on parcels.


Since 1987 through a cooperative agreement, the SDNR and the SCS have jointly produced SSURGO data at a rate of three to four counties per year. At this rate it will take 20 years to complete SSURGO coverage of

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