Minnesota Soil Atlas

This page last updated: 04/11/2007
Metadata created using Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines


Metadata Summary

Originator Department of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota, and Land Management Information Center
Abstract The Soil Atlas project provides a consistent, statewide map series and GIS data set describing soil and landscape characteristics. The data is generalized. The scale of 1:250,000, or about 1/4 inch to 1 mile, makes it possible to show areas as small as 1 square mile. The data set and maps were created in the 1970's to provide information to support generalized planning over broad areas. The maps were not intended to replace the detailed soil surveys, but to provide a more general overview, and to provide make soil description information available until such a time as soil surveys were completed statewide. The Soil Atlas map series was developed by the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate of the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (previously Soil Conservation Service), U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Geological Survey.

Two main descriptors of soils are groupings of Soil Landscape Units based on a number of factors (soil texture of the rooting zone, soil texture below the rooting zone, drainage, and color), and delineations of Geomorphic Regions, which illustrate broad physiographic features and provide some characterization of the parent materials of the soils. Further soils characterizations are derived from these primary categories.

Printed maps were converted to EPPL raster GIS format via grid-cell coding by the Minnesota Land Management Information System at the University of Minnesota (now the Land Management Information Center).
Browse Graphic none available
Time Period of Content Date 1975
Currentness Reference Publication dates of printed Soil Atlas maps and reports are as follows. Maps were delineated during this period, using whatever detailed soil surveys were available at the time.

Brainerd Map Sheet - 1969
Hibbing Map Sheet - 1971
St. Paul Map Sheet - 1973
Twin Cities Map Sheet - 1975-1976
Duluth Map Sheet - 1977
St. Cloud Map Sheet - 1979
Bemidji Map Sheet - 1980
Roseau Map Sheet - 1980
Stillwater Map Sheet - 1980
New Ulm Map Sheet - 1981
International Falls/Two Harbors Map Sheets - 1981
Access Constraints None
Use Constraints Users should be aware of the generalized nature of the data and use the data accordingly.

Redistribution Conditions: In obtaining these data from LMIC, it is understood that you and/or your organization have the right to use them for any internal purpose. If you modify them, you should document those changes in a metadata record that should accompany all redistributed data. If you transmit or provide these data in any form to another user, the data MUST be accompanied by a copy of this disclaimer and all documentation provided with the original data set including the full metadata record.
Distributor Organization Land Management Information Center
Ordering Instructions This data set is distributed on the internet by clicking below after Online Linkage. Doing so will tell your browser to start downloading a 'ZIP' file which contains the following:

- A set of soil files in EPPL formats (.EPP) with associated legend (.LEG), pedigree (.PED), and color (.CLR) files.
- A set of soil files in shapefile formats (.SHP, .SHX, .DBF)
- Metadata (.htm) file for the dataset
- NOTICE.RTF, an important notice about this data set that can be read by most word processing software, and an ascii text version of the same notice (NOTICE.TXT)
- MLMIS data documentation report - Word and .pdf formats

After downloading the zipfile, unzip and delete any file formats that you do not need. Note: When using 'WINZIP' as your unzipping tool, click the 'Use Folder Names' button if you want to extract the soils data into separate folders for each data file (4SOIL, 4GEOM, etc). Leave the 'Use Folder Names' button unchecked if you want to extract all the data files into the same directory.
Online Linkage Click here to download data. (See Ordering Instructions above for details.) By clicking here, you agree to the notice in "Distribution Liability" in Section 6 of this metadata.

Full Metadata

Minnesota Soil Atlas

Go to Section:
1. Identification Information
2. Data Quality Information
3. Spatial Data Organization Information
4. Spatial Reference Information
5. Entity and Attribute Information
6. Distribution Information
7. Metadata Reference Information

 
Section 1 Identification Information   Top of page
Originator Department of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota, and Land Management Information Center
Title Minnesota Soil Atlas
Abstract The Soil Atlas project provides a consistent, statewide map series and GIS data set describing soil and landscape characteristics. The data is generalized. The scale of 1:250,000, or about 1/4 inch to 1 mile, makes it possible to show areas as small as 1 square mile. The data set and maps were created in the 1970's to provide information to support generalized planning over broad areas. The maps were not intended to replace the detailed soil surveys, but to provide a more general overview, and to provide make soil description information available until such a time as soil surveys were completed statewide. The Soil Atlas map series was developed by the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate of the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (previously Soil Conservation Service), U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Geological Survey.

Two main descriptors of soils are groupings of Soil Landscape Units based on a number of factors (soil texture of the rooting zone, soil texture below the rooting zone, drainage, and color), and delineations of Geomorphic Regions, which illustrate broad physiographic features and provide some characterization of the parent materials of the soils. Further soils characterizations are derived from these primary categories.

Printed maps were converted to EPPL raster GIS format via grid-cell coding by the Minnesota Land Management Information System at the University of Minnesota (now the Land Management Information Center).
Purpose At the time that the Minnesota Soil Atlas project was undertaken, large areas of Minnesota lacked information on soils and landscape characteristics. The purpose of the Soil Atlas project was to create a generalized soils layer which provided information to support broad planning applications.

These applications might include:
1. Determining areas suitable for various crops such as potatoes, sugar beets, and canning crops to enable processors to locate plants within areas of greatest potential.
2. Determining areas with potential for various types of farming, forestry, or recreation.
3. Determining areas that would benefit from drainage or irrigation.
4. Locating sources of sand and gravel.
5. Preparing wildlife density maps
6. Locating pulp and paper mills within areas of greatest supply.
7. Locating feasible routes for utility lines and highways.
8. Serving as a reference for science teachers.

For specific planning of individual farms, cities towns, recreation areas; tax equalization; and road building purposes, more detailed surveys are necessary. However, this data set may identify priority areas where detailed surveys will be most useful.

The printed Soil Atlas map series was automated into digital EPPL format to provide a consistent, statewide digital dataset for geographic analysis.
Time Period of Content Date 1975
Currentness Reference Publication dates of printed Soil Atlas maps and reports are as follows. Maps were delineated during this period, using whatever detailed soil surveys were available at the time.

Brainerd Map Sheet - 1969
Hibbing Map Sheet - 1971
St. Paul Map Sheet - 1973
Twin Cities Map Sheet - 1975-1976
Duluth Map Sheet - 1977
St. Cloud Map Sheet - 1979
Bemidji Map Sheet - 1980
Roseau Map Sheet - 1980
Stillwater Map Sheet - 1980
New Ulm Map Sheet - 1981
International Falls/Two Harbors Map Sheets - 1981
Progress Complete
Maintenance and Update Frequency None planned
Spatial Extent of Data Minnesota
Bounding Coordinates -97.5
-89.0
49.5
43.0
Place Keywords Minnesota
Theme Keywords geoscientificInformation, soils, soil characteristics, Soil Atlas, surficial geology, surface geology, soil landscape units, geomorphic regions, landform description, landscape position, generalized slope, soil texture, soil thickness, soil water, rooting zone, substratum, soil drainage class, soil pH, soil phosphorus, soil potassium, hydrologic groups, permeability, shrink-swell potential, flooding potential, AASHO engineering classification, unified engineering classification, soil erodibility factor, K-factor, erosion
Theme Keyword Thesaurus ISO 19115 Topic Category
Access Constraints None
Use Constraints Users should be aware of the generalized nature of the data and use the data accordingly.

Redistribution Conditions: In obtaining these data from LMIC, it is understood that you and/or your organization have the right to use them for any internal purpose. If you modify them, you should document those changes in a metadata record that should accompany all redistributed data. If you transmit or provide these data in any form to another user, the data MUST be accompanied by a copy of this disclaimer and all documentation provided with the original data set including the full metadata record.
Contact Person Information Susanne Maeder, GIS Data Coordinator
Land Management Information Center
300 Centennial Building; 658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
Phone: 651.201.2488
FAX: 651.296.3698
E-mail: clearing.house@state.mn.us
Browse Graphic none available
Browse Graphic File Description
Associated Data Sets There are 11 publications in the Soil Atlas Map Series covering the entire state of Minnesota. Produced by the University's Department of Soil Science, in cooperation with the Minnesota Geological Survey and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Each publication covers a specific region of the state and includes one or more full-color soil maps at 1:250,000 scale, accompanied by explanatory monographs of lengths varying from 38-57 pages. Monographs include color and black and white photos, diagrams and tables. For resource use planners and managers, natural resource advocates, researchers, science teachers, and development agencies. Available for purchase from University of Minnesota Agricultural Extension Service:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/units/dc/catalog_print.html?code=82

Other Soils data sets in GIS format can be accessed from the LMIC Soils First-Stop information page at http://www.lmic.state.mn.us/chouse/soil.html

 
Section 2 Data Quality Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Attribute Accuracy Not available
Logical Consistency
Completeness Three of the derived soils variables (FLOOD, ASUR, AFIVE) are currently missing from the distributed data set.
Horizontal Positional Accuracy Maps were created on a base map of 1:250,000, or about 1/4 inch to 1 mile, which makes it possible to show discrete areas as small as approximately 1 square mile. Grid cell coding of soils information was done for each 40-acre parcel in the state. Later processing converted the 40-acre grid cell files to 100-meter grid cell files and georeferenced them. Resolution of the data, however, is still 1 square mile.
Lineage A. MAPPING (University of Minnesota Department of Soil Science - now the Department of Soil, Water and Climate):

Map and report publication dates for the various map sheets range from 1969 to 1981. Mapping was done on a base map scale of 1:250,000.

Two main descriptors of soils in the Soil Atlas project are Soil Landscape Units (based on soil texture of the rooting zone, soil texture below the rooting zone, drainage, and color), and Geomorphic Regions, which illustrate broad physiographic features and provide some characterization of the parent materials of the soils. Soil Landscape Unit and Geomorphic Region delineations were developed using whatever detailed soil surveys were available in a given area, whether published or not.

SOIL LANDSCAPE UNITS: A Soil Landscape Unit is a group of soils generalized into a homogeneous unit based on sub-surface soil texture, surface soil texture, drainage characteristics, and surface color. Combinations of these four characteristics describe unique soil types identified by a four-letter soil code keyed to the four soil characteristics. Soils were grouped into Soil Landscape Units and coded with a four-letter designation based on the following factors:

1. Texture of the soil material below 5 feet of the surface, with S designating sandy; L for loamy or silty; C for clayey X for mixed sandy and loamy; Y for mixed silty and clayey; and R for bedrock.

2. Texture of the material in the first 5 feet below the surface, or a significant part of it, with S for sandy; L for loamy, and C for clayey.

3. Drainage of the unit, where W means well-drained (water table commonly below the rooting zone), and P means poorly-drained (water table within the rooting zone).

4. Color of the surface horizon with D for dark-colored and L for light colored (Darker colors associated with higher organic matter content).

Using this scheme, the code LLPD means a dark-colored, poorly-drained loamy soil over loamy material. The code LCWD designates a dark-colored, well-drained clayey soil over loamy material.

GEOMORPHIC REGIONS: A geomorphic region is a physiographic area defined by topographic relief and soil parent material. These geomorphic regions are assigned a 3-character code. Sample geomorphic regions include the following:

014 - Mille Lacs Moraine Complex, Rolling
07B - Todd Drumlin Area
006 - Henning Till Plain
004 - Detroit Lakes Pitted Outwash Plain
051 - Big Stone Moraine, Loamy
065 - Appleton-Clontarf Outwash Plain, Undulating
02E - Graceville Till Plain, Clayey
031 - Cedar Valley Outwash

DERIVED SOILS VARIABLES: Tables were then created, linking the Soil Landscape Units and Geomorphic Regions to various soil characteristics such as soil texture, PH range, permeability, and erodibility. These characteristics are presented as tables in the Soil Atlas reports.

B. ORIGINAL CONVERSION TO GIS (Minnesota Land Management Information System -MLMIS40 Data)

SOIL LANDSCAPE UNITS: Data Source: This data were obtained during 1970-1976 from 1:250,000 preliminary Minnesota Soil Atlas sheets developed by the Department of Soil Science, University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. The smallest area shown in the Atlas for which reliable information is available is approximately 600 acres. Soil units less than 600 acres may be displayed on atlas maps but are not identified with complete confidence. Coding Procedure: The MLMIS staff encoded soils information in 1976 using a grid overlay procedure. A mapograph machine was used to project soil atlas sheets onto a 40-acre grid, and the dominant soil type of each 40-acre parcel was recorded. 40-acre parcels containing water were coded according to the 100 percent rule: a cell had to be completely covered by water to be coded as such. Each Soil Landscape Unit is coded with a four-letter designation that symbolizes the four factors described in the mapping section. Data was recorded as a 2-digit code representing the various combinations of soil texture, drainage and color.

GEOMORPHIC REGIONS: Data Source: This data were obtained from 1974-1979 1:125,000 preliminary Minnesota Soil Atlas sheets developed by the Department of Soil Science, University of Minnesota, in cooperation with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. The Geology Department of the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Geological Survey performed the geologic interpretation for these maps. The smallest area shown in the Soil Atlas for which reliable information is available is approximately 600 acres. Coding Procedure: In 1976 the MLMIS staff encoded geomorphic region information using a grid overlay procedure. A mapograph machine was used to project Soil Atlas sheets onto a 40-acre grid, and the dominant geomorphic region for each 40-acre parcel was recorded. Areas completely covered by water were assigned to the adjacent geomorphic region. The Department of Geology, University of Minnesota, assisted in the nomenclature and correlation of the geomorphic regions. Data is recorded as a 2-digit code for the 94 geomorphic regions in Minnesota. The legend shows the state soil atlas number and name for each region.

RELATED SOILS CHARACTERISTICS: A Soil Characteristics table was created, containing for each unique combination of Soil Landscape Unit and Geomorphic Region a range of additional characteristics of each soil. Initially within EPPL, only the Soil Landscape Unit and Geomorphic Region data were stored as GIS layers, with additional EPPL layers created using the EPPL INTABLE command when needed. Later the actual EPPL layers were created for each derived soil value.

C. CREATION OF EPPL 100-METER FILES/GEOREFERENCING (Land Management Information Center):

The Soil Atlas data was part of the MLMIS40 dataset. MLMIS40 was a non-georeferenced forty acre-based statewide dataset compiled in the late 1970's. Data was rescaled to 100 meter cells (There are generally 16 100-meter cells in a 40-acre cell) and became the MLM100 data set. MLM100 was also non-georeferenced.

Data was then georeferrenced to NAD 27 to become MGC100. MGC100 represents the MLMIS100 county data sets, georeferenced and assembled into a statewide coverage.

D. PROJECTION OF EPPL FILES TO NAD 83 (Land Management Information Center, January, 1998)

This data was shifted to NAD 83 in January 1998. The actual shift between the two datum values was approximately 214 meters in the Y direction. Applying this shift to raster files however created slivers and misalignments when mosaicing data files. To eliminate these problems, LMIC adjusted the origins of all files and shifted the files by even cells. (100 meters for MGC100 data).

The conversion process from NAD27 to NAD 83 is small enough across any arbitrary area in Minnesota that it makes less than a 1-cell difference even in a 30,000 by 30,000 cell file. Thus it is sufficient to shift the file by the difference between NAD 27 and NAD83 to do the transformation. (This may not be true elsewhere in the world.) In addition to accomplish a uniform statewide data set, LMIC developed a standardized process to accomplish this shift correctly for the EPPL7 raster files by adjusting the file extents to a multiple of the cell size such that the actual cell size matched the nominal one: i.e. 100 meter data was made to be exactly 100 meters, with the edge of the file on 100 meter boundaries. This allows easy mosaicing of adjacent files without worrying about partial pixel misalignments.

Specifications of MGC100 NAD83 EPPL data set:

First Row: 1 Last Row: 6570
First Column: 1 Last Column: 5727
NAD 83 alternate values: NAD 27 alternate values were:
Y values: 5472800 4815800 Y values: 5472600 4815600
X values: 189500 762200 X values: 189500 762200
Offsite: 255 (8bit) or 65535 (16 bit)
Cell Area: 2.4710 acres or 10,000 square meters
Values of 0 usually indicate an area where no data is available.

E. CONVERSION TO SHAPEFILES (Land Management Information Center) 2001-2004:

Statewide EPPL soils files in NAD83 datum were converted to shapefiles using the EPPL32 Export command - using shapefile as the ouput option. The EPPL legend information is captured in the .dbf file associated with the shapefile. The shapefiles retain the stair-step pattern indicating the original grid cell data coding.
Source Scale Denominator 250000
 
Section 3 Spatial Data Organization Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Native Data Set Environment EPPL7
Geographic Reference for Tabular Data
Spatial Object Type Raster
Vendor Specific Object Types Grid Cell
Tiling Scheme State of Minnesota
 
Section 4 Spatial Reference Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Horizontal Coordinate Scheme UTM
Ellipsoid GRS80
Horizontal Datum NAD83
Horizontal Units Meters
Distance Resolution
Cell Width 100
Cell Height 100
UTM Zone Number 15E
 
Section 5 Entity and Attribute Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Entity and Attribute Overview Primary data files of the Minnesota Soil Atlas Project are:

SOIL (or 4SOIL) - soil landscape units
GEOM (or 4GEOM) - geomorphic regions

Other files describing specific soil characteristics are derived from combinations of the two primary data files. Derived data files include:

LANDFOR - landform description
LANDPOS - landscape position
GENSLOP - generalized slope
TEXROOT - soil texture in the rooting zone
THIROOT - thickness of soil texture in the rooting zone
TEXSUB - soil texture in the substratum
THISUB - thickness of soil texture in the substratum
AVAWAT2 - available water to a depth of five feet
DRAIN1 - drainage class
PH - pH range in the rooting zone
PHOS - available phosphorus in the rooting zone
POTA - available potassium in the rooting zone
HYDRO - hydrologic groups
SURPERM - surface permeability rate
SUBPERM - substratum permeability rate
KFACT - surface soil erodibility factor (K) in the Universal
Soil Loss equation
SURSS - surface shrink-swell potential
SUBSS - substratum shrink-swell potential
DBED - depth to bedrock
FLOOD - flooding potential
ASUR - AASHO engineering classification at the surface
AFIVE - AASHO engineering classification at a depth of five feet
or greater
USUR - Unified engineering classification at the surface
UFIVE - Unified engineering classification at a depth of five feet
or greater

Note: Some of the data sets include in the name a prefix of '4'. At one time the prefix was inserted to indicate that these data sets, although now presented in a 100-meter grid cell format, were derived from a 40-acre format (i.e., these were coarser data). This was done when these data files were included in data collections with other data files of higher resolution. All of the Soil Atlas data files are created from data originally coded as 40-acre cells; therefore the file names with or without a prefix of 4 represent the same data sets at the same resolution.
Entity and Attribute Detailed Citation Soils primary and derived data files, their purpose, coding technique, and legend are described in the document 'MGC 100 Data Documentation', formerly called 'Data Documentation for 40-acre and 100-meter data for use iwith EPPL7 on IBM PC's, PS/2s, or Compatibles', LMIC, May, 1989, updated January 1998. This document in bundled with the download data set as a Microsoft Word document and .pdf file, and can also be accessed over the internet at:
http://www.lmic.state.mn.us/EPPL7/data/mlmis.pdf

Further description of the soil primary and derived variables for each soil map sheet is available in the Soil Atlas Series reports, distributed by the University of Minnesota Agricultural Extension Service at:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/units/dc/catalog_print.html?code=82
 
Section 6 Distribution Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Publisher Land Management Information Center
Publication Date 2004
Contact Person Information Susanne Maeder
GIS Data Coordinator
Land Management Information Center
300 Centennial Building; 658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
Phone: 651.201.2488
FAX: 651.296.3698
E-mail: clearing.house@state.mn.us
Distributor's Data Set Identifier soil_atlas
Distribution Liability Limitations: Although extensive effort has been made to produce error free and complete data, all geographic information has limitations due to the scale, resolution, date and interpretation of the original source materials. You should consult available data documentation (metadata) for these particular data to determine their limitations and the precision to which they depict distance, direction, location or other geographic characteristics. These data may be subject to periodic change without prior notification.

No Warranty: These data are provided as is, without any warranty whatsoever, including but not limited to any warranty as to their performance, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose.

Liability: The entire risk as to the results of the use of these data is assumed by the user. LMIC is not responsible for any interpretation or conclusions based on these data made by those who acquire or use it. LMIC shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, compensatory or consequential damages or third party claims resulting from the use of these data, even if LMIC has been advised of the possibility of such potential loss or damage. In States that do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, you may not use these data.
Transfer Format Name EPPL7, shapefile
Transfer Format Version Number
Transfer Size 61 MB as zipfile
Ordering Instructions This data set is distributed on the internet by clicking below after Online Linkage. Doing so will tell your browser to start downloading a 'ZIP' file which contains the following:

- A set of soil files in EPPL formats (.EPP) with associated legend (.LEG), pedigree (.PED), and color (.CLR) files.
- A set of soil files in shapefile formats (.SHP, .SHX, .DBF)
- Metadata (.htm) file for the dataset
- NOTICE.RTF, an important notice about this data set that can be read by most word processing software, and an ascii text version of the same notice (NOTICE.TXT)
- MLMIS data documentation report - Word and .pdf formats

After downloading the zipfile, unzip and delete any file formats that you do not need. Note: When using 'WINZIP' as your unzipping tool, click the 'Use Folder Names' button if you want to extract the soils data into separate folders for each data file (4SOIL, 4GEOM, etc). Leave the 'Use Folder Names' button unchecked if you want to extract all the data files into the same directory.
Online Linkage Click here to download data. (See Ordering Instructions above for details.) By clicking here, you agree to the notice in "Distribution Liability" above.
 
Section 7 Metadata Reference Information Top of full metadata Top of page
Metadata Date 04/11/2007
Contact Person Information Susanne Maeder, GIS Data Coordinator
Land Management Information Center
300 Centennial Building; 658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
Phone: 651.201.2488
FAX: 651.296.3698
E-mail: susanne.maeder@state.mn.us
Metadata Standard Name Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines
Metadata Standard Version 1.2
Metadata Standard Online Linkage http://www.lmic.state.mn.us/gc/stds/metadata.htm


This page last updated: 04/11/2007