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Based on a previous question, Can I download the entire USGS SSURGO database?, it appears that it is difficult to import the entire USGS SSURGO database.

The Web Soil Survey provides the ability to draw a polygon and then download data. But the polygon has to be fairly small, and there is a lot of pointing, clicking, and waiting to get the desired data. There is also a Geospatial data gateway where it is possible download county-level data.

However, these do not meet my needs. This is what I want to do:

  1. I start with the lat/lon coordinates of the corners of a rectangle
  2. find the area of each soil type in the rectangle
  3. find % clay, sand, silt, organic matter as a function of depth for each soil type

Is there a way that I can do this programatically?

(Solutions in R preferred, but any open-source solution will be useful)

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I believe you mean USDA –  SoilSciGuy 28 mins ago
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2 Answers

Can download SSURGO data by State:

enter image description here

Downloading the entire

Order Area (Where):All counties, Alaska Order Map Layers (What): Soil Survey Spatial and Tabular Data (SSURGO 2.2)

444.310 Megabytes, 25 Maps Order Format (How):One ESRI Shape Order Projection (How):Geographic WGS84 Order Inclusion (How):Standard Order Delivery Method (How):FTP

Note: The format choices 'One Esri Shape' and 'One ESRI File GeoDataBase Feature Class' combine all features in a layer into a single shape or feature class instead of one for each HUC or county. See Help.

So would be easier to merge into US dataset.

The reason there is no web API is the size of some of the datasets.

You will have to load them into your own spatial database (postgis) and use a GIS (QGIS) or use your R skills to pull stats out of your database.

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Is this still true? When attempting to download SSURGO for all of Alaska, my only option is gSSURGO, which is in ArcGIS format. I'm not seeing an option to download it in shapefile format. –  denaje Mar 21 '13 at 14:30
    
They have updated their website with a notice soildatamart.nrcs.usda.gov –  Mapperz Mar 21 '13 at 14:59
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have you seen this? http://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/drupal/node/902

there are nice interfaces for BB with lat/long - for your specific request you might need to scrape the resulting data/link but the interface is set up for handling requests via the URL - quite easy. I've written some additional php/javascript to allow a mobile device to grab data out in the field.

note that the directory above this states that the site is re-organizing so you might want to make a note when you code that into your interface.

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