Activity 3.3 Create a Soil Assessment Map

Activity 3.3

Complete this activity by the listed due date or complete either Activity 3.1 or 3.2

Create an assessment map of the soil types found on your site as an overlay.

Using (a copy) of your base map beneath tracing paper, map out the approximate boundaries of the different soil classifications found on your land. You can also create this using digital mapping tools, but please show the basic data of your base map as well.

This assignment is appropriate for larger sites. A completed soil overlay map is very useful for the following Practicum class and helps fill portfolio requirements. It is also easier to complete in the winter than the other two!

Almost the entirety of the United States has been mapped for soil conditions and can be found on line.  

Your local Soil and Water Conservation District office will have maps available. Call before visiting! Mine had copies of a book printed in the early eighties of the entire county with full descriptions of each soil.

Below is an example. This is from a map I created online using an image file from the Soil and Water office. The abbreviations describe soil types. Soil type descriptions are easy to find online. 

Additional information that can be added to the map—often in narrative form—are descriptions of additional observations or data such as texture, structure, consistence profile, drainage, topsoil fertility (pH, % OM, N, P, K, Ca,) toxins (lead, mercury, asbestos, cadmium, etc.,) and management history. 

Regarding history: Look around in local libraries and online. A property deed may go back hundreds of years with many clues. I have found old satellite imagery online that confirms further what I have heard from others: That a road cut across it, it had two hayfields, and for a time was abandoned and kids used it to race around on dirt bikes. This helped me makes sense of a lot of tree and field patterns on the land. There is likely more history available for many urban sites.