SoilWeb: An Online Soil Survey Resource

One of the highlights of the California Master Gardener Conference I just spoke at was a lecture by Toby O’Geen, Ph.D., Assistant Soil Resource Specialist at UC Extension. O’Geen mentioned an amazing online soil resource called SoilWeb, avaliable at

SoilWeb overlays detailed soil information on Google Maps and Google Earth. There’s even a SoilWeb iPhone app allowing you to use the GPS capabilities of your phone to assist in shopping for, say, the perfect vineyard location.

SoilWeb maps cover most, but not all, areas of the US (Los Angeles isn’t included for some reason). While highly technical, terms are explained via hyperlinks. You click on the table to the right of the map for more detailed information including suitability for farming.

Of course in urban areas you never know what unpleasant surprises lurk beneath the surface such as concrete chunks and lead. SoilWeb won’t tip you off to those things, but it does give a good overall picture of the kind of soil you’ll be dealing with.

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  1. This doesnt have anything to do with your land use map. I just read the article in the New York Times and I just wanted to say, you should just keep using the term urban homesteading. And encourage everyone to continue doing so. Im sure you have talked to lawyers, and aren’t just going to take my advice. But make it something that cant be taken away, if they dont have the legal manpower (ie lots of moneys for lawyers) then they cannot enforce the trademark, this making it null and void.

    it would be really ridiculous to see “urban homesteading” go the way of a trademark. sheesh.

    Im glad y’all at least have your hearts in the right place.

  2. this map is great! though some of the information is incorrect possibly from old information. there is a spot i do work at that is listed as loam. however it is very obviously a HEAVY clay. some of the old timers there did however say that there was once less clay there about 30-40 years ago or so before it was more developed.

  3. Well well well, it looks like I should really take up throwing pots from my garden soil after all 😛

    I am not sure I agree that the clay has moderate drainage, but I think that in the 50+ years since this housing development was constructed up on the Delta, it’s been occupied by brown-thumbs, and so the soil’s never been aerated or amended or turned over or anything helpful to gardeners.

    What a cool survey tool.

  4. this is interesting… where can I go to find more information about the soil types? i’m actually in the beginning stages of trying to buy a tiny house to start my own urban homestead so i’d love to use this resource, but i don’t know the difference between “bergrstrom soil” “austin soil” “tarrant soil” etc…

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