Activity 0.2: Map Research

Explore maps that will help provide information for your site design and development. If you have not just recently finished the first or second courses, this will be a warm-up for map research related to your site.

If you have questions, please post them in this week's forum. where other participants may offer insight. You may also correspond directly with using the message tool in the right column. It is likely others might have similar questions.


Many participants in Permaculture Design 2, may already have done this research. The NRCS Web Soil Survey site allows you to explore soil data, map and create summary reports of locations in the United States. Check out their home page for tips to get started:


At the US Geological Survey site you can browse, download, and purchase topo maps for your area:

As mentioned in the lecture this week, there is an app for Google Earth that will show TOPO lines in your google earth viewer:

Flood Maps

FEMA has a federal database of flood maps. Look up how your site is classified in terms of flooding threat:

County Clerk - Your county clerk is a wealth of information including past deed maps, your current property survey (if you don't have a copy), information on leases and easements, and sometimes others. Stop in the office and see what you can find. 

County Soil & Water - These folks offer varying degrees of help, but can often get you aerial photos, topo lines, soil maps, and USGS topo maps. Often the office is in the same town or building as the county offices.

Historical Office - Call your local county historian and find out what, if any information they can provide specific to your site.


Share any interesting sources you found with classmates in the forum. Write a brief summary of key findings for your site. Submit your assignment with copies of the maps you found attached or embedded in the document. You can submit up to five files.