What does the MUSYM field on the SSURGO data set mean? I have looked on the nrcs website have only found that it identifies soil.

In the data set that I am looking at there are values like Ub and DaB. These do not look like some randomly generated identifiers. They seem like they must have some acronym meaning to them.

Where can I find a look up table for these values or is there a system for deciphering them?

2 Answers 2


MUSYM is an abbreviation for Map Unit Symbol. It is a shortened string for the Map Unit Name. You should have also received a series of tables (either as text files, personal geodatabase, or FGDB) with the spatial data. Use the MUKEY attribute to join the spatial data with the Mapunit table to get the full Map Unit Name.

You may find more helpful information here.


I was also looking into this question, here is what I found.

The MUKEY is basically the index to link different tables. The MUSYM stores the brief information of the soil type in my opinion.

See below for the example:

Mn: Midland silty clay loam, 0 to 1 percent slopes, rarely flooded



For more information, you might have to read the report as described above.

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