AGRASID Version 3.0: Soil Landscapes User's Manual

 
 
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 Preface | Acknowledgements | Additional information | Digital data

Table of Contents
.

Welcome to AGRASID Introduction TO AGRASID 3.0 Glossary of terms

References
Appendices Figures and tables

Preface

The Agricultural Region of Alberta Soil Inventory Database AGRASID was the result of the Canada - Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (CAESA) Soil Inventory Project (SIP). The project was a cooperative effort involving the Alberta Research Council; Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Land Resource Unit, and private sector consulting firms. Funding for the project was provided through the CAESA agreement and by the three previously mentioned Federal and Provincial agencies.

AGRASID Version 3.0 is the modified version of AGRASID Version 1.0,  the digital product distributed on CD-ROM and created by the many people associated with CAESA SIP.  Version 2 of AGRASID was an internal working copy.
 
Acknowledgements

The editors of AGRASID 3.0 would like to acknowledge the technical and financial contributions of the following people and agencies, in the development of AGRASID 3.0: Peter Smith, Wayne Pettapiece, Teresa Hegg, Leon Marciak, Gerry Coen, Frank Hecker, the Conservation Development Branch of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, Ducks Unlimited, and Alberta Environmental Protection.  Also the continued feedback from the users of AGRASID Version 1.0, was and is appreciated, in order to keep this digital product dynamic.
 

The editors of AGRASID Version 1.0, acknowledged the following individuals who contributed to the compilation of CAESA-SIP and the production of the AGRASID CD ROM (Version 1.0). They include: James Abramenko, Harry Archibald, Paul Barlott, Sarah Boon, Tony Brierley, Simon Brookes, Adrien Chartier, Daphne Cheel, Brian Chernipeski, Gerry Coen, Carolyn Ewaschuk, Mark Fawcett, Nancy Finlayson, Marianne Gibbard, David Gibbens, Anna Hansen, John Hermans, Mark Johnson, Ed Karpuk, Len Knapik, Jan Kwiatkowski, Jennie Lutz, Bob MacMillan, Leon Marciak, Ron McNeil, Steve Moran, Larry Nikiforuk, Wayne Pettapiece, Doug Peters, Murray Riddell, Andrew Rodvang, Rieva Rosentreter, Barb Ryley, Brenda Sawyer, Jim Si, Peter Smith, Bill Souster, Arnold Stenger, Al Stewart, Joe Tajek, Conny Tomas, Holly Turner, Gerry Tychon, Hank Van der Pluym, Bruce Walker, Ivan Whitson, Andrew Wooley and Zenon Wozimersky.

Canada - Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Agreement (CAESA)

Additional Information

In addition to this manual, users of AGRASID are referred to the following references for additional background information regarding AGRASID : Digital Data

AGRASID is subject to revisions and update, as errors are identified and improvements incorporated. All revisions and updates will be flagged by a change of version number, and will be announced and described at Alberta Soil Information Centre.
 
Welcome to AGRASID 3.0
 
This manual introduces the user to AGRASID, briefly describes how the database was compiled, provides information about the differences between Version 3 and Version 1, and describes the data fields in the files of the relational database files.  For a more detailed explanation of the concepts, symbols and overall methodology the user is directed to the CAESA Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual.

Versions 2.0 through 2.7 of AGRASID were designations used internally, for developmental stages in the creation of AGRASID 3.0.

What is AGRASID?
AGRASID is a digital database consisting of seamless Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages and relational data files which describe the soil landscapes for the agricultural area of Alberta, an area of approximately 26 million hectares (Figure 1.). The data in AGRASID 3.0  may be displayed in two formats - either as soil landscape polygons or as land system polygons. The soil landscape polygons and attribute data were compiled at a scale of 1:100 000. The soil landscape data was 'rolled up' to produce land systems polygons.  Land systems attribute data are contained in the Land Systems Legend file (AG30LSLG). Land Systems are intended to be presented at a scale of 1: 250 000.

For details of the soil types that make up the soil landscape and land system polygons, the polygon attribute table, and the Land systems legend file (AG30LSLG) can be linked to the Alberta Soil Names File (AG30SNF) and the Alberta Soil Layer File (AG30SLF). 

Figure 1. Extent of agricultural lands in Alberta

Introduction To AGRASID 3.0

Background information
Soil surveys in Alberta were initiated in 1920 by the University of Alberta. Since the initiation of soil mapping in Alberta, over 70 reconnaissance soil surveys have been conducted by the Alberta Research Council, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Alberta. The soils maps and reports were compiled by different mappers, at different map scales (ranging from 1:30 000 to 1:750 000), using different mapping concepts, a variety of classification systems and on a variety of presentation media. Soil map symbols and legends also changed over time.

AGRASID was developed to address the needs of users of soil inventory information in the agricultural portion of Alberta. AGRASID provides more information on soils and landscapes than was contained in older maps and brings the inventory information to a uniform standard that encompasses modern concepts, terminology and technology. AGRASID differs from traditional Alberta soil survey information products in that:
  • The products are digital.
  • The way some of the soil and landscape attributes are described is a departure from the nationally defined classes (i.e. landform and slopes, parent materials).
  • The soil mapping procedure employed during the course of this project was a departure from the traditional soil mapping techniques (refer to background studies documented in the 'Procedures Manual' (CAESA Soil Inventory Working Group 1997)).
Some of the key traditions retained in AGRASID include:
  • The use of soil series names as a key to a list of soil attributes. In fact, the correlation and definition of series names was improved during the project, and
  • The use of Soil Landscape Models (called Soil Map Units in earlier soil survey reports)
    Since the release of AGRASID Version 1.0 in 1998, some modifications have been made to this database.  The modifications and some of the impacts on the resulting database contents and appearance are described in the following section.
Differences between AGRASID 1.0 and 3.0
Since 1998,  when AGRASID Version 1.0 was released and distributed on CD-ROM, this database has undergone several modifications.  Apart from changes with respect to projection, datum, and method of distribution, as well as a number of editorial changes to all the files,  the principal modification was the removal of the township grid from AGRASID polygon coverage.  This in turn had a domino effect on some of the files in this relational database.

1. Removal of the Township Grid. - Originally each polygon within AGRASID was unique to a township.   The implication of this inherent feature was that  a soil landscape polygon that crossed a township line had two or more attribute records in the polygon attribute file.   This township-based approach was very useful during the compilation of  AGRASID, but unnecessary upon completion.  Therefore it was decided that the township grid could and should be removed.   In Version 1.0 there are over 68,000 polygons.  Through removing the township grid, amalgamating soil landscape polygons with similar soil landscape model symbols (i.e. BZR2/H1m)  that were previously subdivided by one (or more) township line(s), the total number of polygons in the Version 3.0 was reduced to 28,370.

In AGRASID Version 1.0, each polygon was ultimately linked to a specific township.   With the removal of the grid, polygons are no longer specific to a single township.   In AGRASID 3.0, the centroid of each polygon has been identified to a township.  This information was captured in the "LOCATOR" field of the AG30 Polygon Attribute Table. A township grid was also been available should you wish to obtain a copy.

2. The Soil Landscape File (SL.dbf) is now merged into the AG30 Polygon Attribute Table - A result of the removal of the township grid was that there was a one-to-one relationship between the polygon attribute table and what used to be in the Soil Landscape file (SL.dbf), permitting the soil landscape information to be included in the polygon attribute table, where it belongs.   Unfortunately when a polygon was split into two or more components by a township grid, in AGRASID 1.0, the pieces did not always belong to the same soil landscape model.   In these cases, expert opinion was applied to select which soil landscape model the polygon fell.

3. Revision of the Basic Soil Evidence File (MAS.dbf)  and creation of  AG30MAS - The Basic Soil Evidence File, which identifies the soil types within a soil landscape polygon, also had to be edited for inconsistencies across township lines.   Where such inconsistencies occurred, the polygon description in MAS.dbf with the largest number of identified soil types was selected for inclusion in the new AG30MAS.

4. Other editorial corrections to database files- In addition to the above described modifications to the respective files, other editorial corrections have been incorporated into  AGRASID 3.0.  These include some revisions to the Land System data and corresponding legend file,  and revisions to the Soil Names and Soil Layer Files.  These are too numerous and varied to individually describe.  However,  users should be aware that if some attributes were used from AGRASID 1.0 to derive value-added products , then  some differences may become apparent, when compared to similar products derived from AGRASID Version 3.0.  Generally these differences are relatively minor; in all cases they should be improvements.

5. Spatial data projections and formats - The spatial data contained in AGRASID Version 1.0 was in a 10 degree Transverse Mercator projection, (sometimes called Alberta 10TM, with central meridian of -115, and a scale factor of 0.9992) using the NAD 27 datum.   AGRASID 3. 0 is provided in two projections:  10TM ; and in geographic decimal degrees.  The two formats are identified by the presence of  T and G following the various AG30 coverage files.

All coverages in AGRASID 3.0 are based on the NAD 83 datum.

AGRASID 3.0 is available in ESRI's Export format, and in ESRI's Shapefile format.

6. AGRASID 3.0 Distribution- AGRASID 3.0 has been distributed free of charge, via the World Wide Web.   The reasons for this decision were many. In general, they are based in a realization that the value of AGRASID to the taxpayers of Alberta is directly related to how frequently AGRASID is used in decision making, and that use of AGRASID 1.0 was limited by cost.   Furthermore, the World Wide Web provides a means of distribution with negligeable per-copy costs.   A survey conducted amongst the original purchasers of AGRASID Version 1.0 showed very strong support for this decision.

7. The AGRASID viewer- A specialized viewer has been under construction for AGRASID 3.0 for approximately six months. Final implimentation is expected by the end of the fiscal year. A number of powerful and user-friendly GIS viewers have become available, free of charge to the user, via the internet, since AGRASID 1.0 was released.   One is ArcExplorer® from ESRI.
 
Soil Landscape Inventory

The Soil Landscape Inventory information described in AGRASID is intended to be represented at a scale of 1:100, 000 map scale. During the compilation of the soil mappers used existing maps and data to apply a uniform and consistent set of landscape models to the entire White Area. The soils and landscapes were recognized and separated by differences in surface form, surficial geological materials, drainage and soil patterns. The soil mappers also captured and recorded soils information so that an automated set of rules could be run to generate a Soil Landscape Model symbol for each delineated polygon. The methodology used for collection and compilation of the soil information is documented in more detail in the CAESA Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual (CAESA Soil Inventory Working Group 1997).
 
Soil Landscape Model Symbol

The Soil Landscape Model is a conceptual entity summarizing the principal characteristics of several areas of land. These models represent and cryptically describe the repeating pattern of soils and landscapes that were identified on aerial photographs and in the field by the soil mapper. The Soil Landscape Model is an amalgamation of two components, specifically Soil Model and Landscape Model as illustrated in Figure 2. The Soil Model is a composite of the dominant, or co-dominant and significant soils found within the soil polygon. The Landscape Model is a composite of the morphology, genesis, relief, slope class and surface form modifier attributes.

The Soil Landscape Model symbol was generated automatically based upon rules that are documented in Section 2.3.9 of the ‘Procedures Manual’.




Figure 2. Components of a Soil Landscape Model Symbol

The Soil Landscape Model Symbol is a short hand way summarizing and expressing the data from the two principle files within AGRASID, specifically -MAS and -SL files. Once the user understands the derivation of this symbol the user may quickly identify the distinguishing characteristics of adjacent soil polygons. The following sections describe the composition and define codes within the Soil Model Symbol, (Soil Symbol and Soil Model Number) and Landscape Model Symbol.
 
Soil model symbol
The Soil Model Symbol consists of a 3 or 4 letter code followed by a 1 or 2 digit model number. A 3 letter code means that one soil name is recognized as being the dominant soil, occupying more than 60% of the soil polygon. A 4 letter code means that two soil names are recognized as being co-dominant, with each soil occupying more than 30% and less than 60 % of the soil polygon.

The 1 or 2 digit soil model number, used in conjunction with the 3 or 4 letter Soil Model symbol, describes the recognizable pattern of significant contrasting soils characteristic of different soil landscapes. Significant soils are defined as occupying more than 10% but less than 30% of the soil polygon. These significant soils may or may not have been named as a specific soil name or may be described as more general miscellaneous soils (including wet soils associated sloughs, Solonetzic soils, etc.). An individual soil polygon contains from 0 to 5 significant soils depending upon the complexity of the soils in a given area. The meaning and rationale for assigning these soil model numbers are briefly explained in the next section.
 
Soil model number
A program was written to automatically generate the Soil Landscape Model Symbol. An important component of this program included the rationale for deriving the soil model number based upon the significant soils identified for each soil polygon. The program is documented in more detail in the CAESA Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual (CAESA Soil Inventory Working Group 1997). The soil model numbers are briefly described in Table 1.
 
Table 1. Soil Model Numbers
UnitDescription
1Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are either not identified in the polygon or not strongly contrasting from the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%)
2Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are poorly drained (P) or have area ponding (AP). The rule is not applied if dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%) are poorly drained or have area ponding.
3Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are saline.
4Soils occupying >10% to <30 % have Rego profiles, are calcareous or eroded. This rule is not applied if the soil polygon has an e landscape modifier or if the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%) have a Rego subgroup.
5Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are finer textured than the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%)
6Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are coarser textured than the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%)
7Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are Solonetzic. The rule is not applied if the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%) are Solonetzic.
8Meets the criteria of units 2 and 4 
9Meets the criteria of units 2 and 6 
10Meets the criteria of units 2 and 7 
11Meets the criteria of units 4 and 6 
12Meets the criteria of units 2, 4 and 6.
13Meets the criteria of units 3 and 4 
14 Meets the criteria of units 4 and 7.
15Meets the criteria of units 6 and 7.
16Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are Chernozemic. This rule is not applied if the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%) soils are Chernozemic. 
17Meets the criteria of units 5 and 7
18Meets the criteria of units 2 and 5
19Meets the criteria of units 16 and 2.
20Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are freely or imperfectly drained and the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%) are poorly drained or have area ponding. 
21Soils occupying >10% to <30 % are Organic and the dominant soil (occupying >60%) or co-dominant soils (each occupying >30% to <60%) are Gleysols.
    Example Soil Landscape Model Symbols

    The following examples are included to show how the soil landscape symbol is generated based upon the relevant soil and landscape attributes listed in the respective AG30MAS file and AG30 polygon attribute table within AGRASID. Soil Name and Areal Extent are from the AG30MAS and Landscape Model and the final Soil Landscape Model Symbol are located in the AG30 polygon attribute table.
    Example #1.
     
    Soil NamesAreal ExtentLandscape ModelSoil Landscape Model
    AGSD(>60%)H1lAGS6/H1l
    PHSS1(>10% and <30%)

    The symbol AGS6/H1l is generated because:
    • Dominant soil is AGS (a Black Chernozem developed on medium textured till) thus a 3 letter code
    • Significant soil is PHS (similar soil developed on coarse textured water lain materials). Since this soil is coarse textured and the dominant soil is medium textured, the soil model number "6" appears.
    • Landscape model - H1l (hummocky, low relief) is placed in the denominator.
    Example #2.
     
    Soil NamesAreal ExtentLandscape ModelSoil Landscape Model
    AGSC1(>30% and <60%)U1hAGPO1/U1h
    POKC2(>30% and <60%)
      The symbol AGPO1/U1h is generated because:
      • 2 Co-dominant soils AGS and POK (a Black Chernozem developed on medium textured water lain materials) are identified. The first 2 letters of each soil code are combined to give a 4 letter soil symbol
      • No significant soils identified, thus soil model number "1" appears.
      • Landscape model - U1h (undulating, high relief) is placed in the denominator.
      Example #3.
       
      Soil NamesAreal ExtentLandscape ModelSoil Landscape Model
      AGSC1(>30% and <60%)H1lAGPO9/H1l
      POKC2(>30% and <60%)
      PHSS1 (>10% and <30%)
      ZGWS2 (>10% and <30%)
        The symbol AGPO9/H1l is generated because:
        • 2 Co-dominant soils AGS and POK (both soils developed on medium textured materials) are identified. The first 2 letters of each soil code are combined to give a 4 letter soil symbol
        • 2 Significant soils PHS (similar soil developed on coarse textured water lain materials) and ZGW (wet soils associated with sloughs) are identified. Since PHS is coarse textured and ZGW represent poorly drained soils and the co-dominant soils are medium textured and well drained, the soil model number "9" appears.
        • Landscape model - H1l (hummocky, low relief) is placed in the denominator.
        Landscape Model

        The Landscape Model symbol combines the following three attributes which are used to characterize landscapes:
          1. Surface Form
          2. Slope Classes
          (Agriculture Canada Expert Committee on Soil Survey 1987)
          3. Surface Form Modifier
        The complete listing and definition of the Landscape Models and Surface Form Modifiers used in AGRASID are provided in Table 2 and Table 3 respectively. The surface form modifiers are used to describe unique features of a particular landscape model, but are relevant when assigning some interpretative ratings.

        Table 2. Landscape Models.
        Code Description Slope Class(es)
        D1longitudinal dunes
        l. low relief
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief
        3 to 4, 4
        4 to 5, 5
        5 to 6, 6+
        D2parabolic or u-shaped dunes
        l. low relief
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief
        3 to 4, 4
        4 to 5, 5
        5 to 6, 6+
        DLany disturbed land (urban, gravel pits, areas not suitable
        for arable crops)
         
        FP1meander floodplain1 to 2, 2, 2 to 3
        FP2unconfined braided channel1 to 2, 2, 2 to 3
        FP3confined floodplain, possibly terraced2, 2 to 3 (1)
        GZGreen Zone area (not mapped in the CAESA Project) 
        H1hummocky
        l. low relief
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief
        3 to 4, 
        4 (3) 4 to 5, 
        5 to 6
        H5hummocky draped moraine 
        over soft rock
        l. low relief
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief

        3, 3 to 4
        4 to 5
        5 to 6
        HP1hummocky stagnation moraine 
        with nearly-level lacustrine 
        plateaus  (morainal lake 
        scenarios)
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief

         
        4 to 5, with 2-3
        5 to 6, with 2-3
        HR2hummocky and ridged
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief
        4 to 5
        5 to 6, 6+
        I1inclined plain 
        (slope length > 400 m)
        l. low relief

         2 to 3 (2)
        I3inclined to steep, 
        single slope landforms 
        with (ex. fans, aprons)
        l. low relief
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief
        3 to 4, 4
        4 to 5, 5
        5 to 6, 6+
        I4inclined to steep, 
        single slope landforms 
        with >10% exposed 
        bedrock
        l. low relief
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief

         
        3 to 4, 4 (3)
        4 to 5, 5
        5 to 6, 6+
        I5inclined, steep landforms with extensive failure slumps5 to 6, 6 +
        IUinclined and undulating
        l. low relief 
        h. high relief
        < 5%
        > 5%
        L1level plain1, 1 to 2
        L2level and closed basin (depression with raised edges)1 to 2
        L3level and terraced, not within modern stream channels2, 2 to 3
        M1Rolling
        (inclined slopes > 400 m, multi-directional)
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief
        4, 4 to 5
        5, 5 to 6
        O1Organic - level, flat, horizontal or plateau1, 1 to 2
        O2Organic - basin (bowl)1, 1 to 2
        O3Organic - channeled, ribbed or net1, 1 to 2
        O4Organic - sloping1, 1 to 2
        O5Organic - level with hummocky mineral soils2, 3-6
        R2Ridged 
        (includes fluted terrain)
        l. low relief
        m. moderate relief
        h. high relief

        3
        4 to 5
        5 to 6, 6+
        RRreclaimed or reconstructed land 
        SC1valley with confined floodplain
        l. low relief 
        h. high relief (steep sides)
        <9% side slopes
        >9% slopes
        SC2wide valley with one or more terraces (coulees included) 
        SC3v-shaped valley with no terraces or floodplain 
        SC4sub-glacial channel (intermittently incised) 
        U1undulating 
        l. low relief
        h. high relief
        2 (1)
        2 to 3, 3
        W1Channel sloughs and ponds in linear arrangement, no
        channel banks. Often old ice-walled channel feature.
         
        W2Non-aligned aggregation of sloughs and ponds with
        little inter-slough area. Can have significant inter-water area.
         
        W3A single water body basin which may be filled or partly
        filled with water (greater than 65 ha).
         

        Table 3. Surface Form Modifiers 
        CodeDescription
        cchanneled (< 50 cm, rill, re-occur at the same position year after year)
        ddissected (> 50 cm, gully, same position year after year)
        eeroded pits (specific to Solonetzic soils)
        nconcavities
        rshallow to bedrock (within 5 metres)

        AGRASID 3.0  Database

        AGRASID Version 3.0 is a relational database consisting of a total of 4 files which describe the soil and landscape characteristics of each delineated polygon contained in the coverage files.   Figure 3 illustrates the relationship between these files. The field names identified on the arrows between the files are the relational "link" fields within the respective files that should be used in compiling this relational database.

        Brief descriptions of each file are provided on the subsequent pages. In Appendices 1 to 5 the contents of the each file are listed and each field is briefly described. Where appropriate a reference is included to either the Procedures Manual, the Alberta Soil Names file (Gen 3.0) or the Alberta Soil Layer file (Gen 3.0) if more information about each field is required. The attribute fields used to link or join files are shaded in the file structure.


        Figure 3. Relationships between database files in AGRASID 3.0.
         

         Spatial files
        The GIS coverage files contain the lines delineating the recognized soil landscape polygons.   The coverage is geo-referenced to the 1:20 000 provincial digital base map with a projection of 10 degree Transverse Mercator (10TM, central meridian:-115:00:00, scale factor:0.9992) and NAD 83 .  Geographic projection of the coverage is also provided for users of this information,  outside of the Alberta setting.

        The coverages are distributed in 2 ways.  For the user interested in downloading soil landscape information for the entire agricultural region of Alberta (the shaded area on Figure 4) then the user is directed to the "whole" coverage folder.   This file is approximately_?__mega bytes in size.  If the user is interested in a specific portion of the province then it is suggested that the user refer to the "Map Sheet" coverage folder.  Here the coverage is subdivided into National Topographic System (NTS) map sheets that intersect with the agricultural region. ,  These files are smaller and thus quicker to download and manipulate.

        Also these coverages are provided  in 2 GIS formats; as .E00 files for utilization with any GIS software, and as shape files (.shp)  for direct use in ArcView.

        Attribute files
        AG30 polygon attribute file - May be considered the Soil Landscape Attribute  File.  In addition to containing specific polygon attribute data such as area, perimeter, etc., this file contains information that provides a geographic setting for each polygon, landscape information as well as the cryptic soil landscape model symbol.    The geographic setting information of each polygon is described in terms of  values present in Soil Correlation Area, Ecoregion, Ecodistrict and Land System fields.

        AG30MAS -  Basic Soil Evidence Database File - The Basic Soil Evidence Database File (AG30MAS) contain data on the soils contained within each soil polygon described. The number of soils identified and allocated to each polygon varies depending upon the extent of each of the soils. Some fields contained within this file contain many blank values. However these fields are necessary because the information contained within them represents the data that the soil analyst recorded about the soils contained within a soil polygon.

        AG30SNF - Alberta Soil Names File - The Soil Names File (AG30SNF) contains information on all the soil names currently recognized in Alberta. The version of the Soil Names File provided is current to the date of  AGRASID  3.0.

        AG30SLF - Soil Layer File - The Soil Layer File (AG30SLF) contains information on the chemical and physical properties for each soil name listed in the Alberta Soil Names File (AG30SNF).  Within the SLF,  each  recognized soil horizon or layer unique to each soil name is assigned an individual record.   Therefore, although there are approximately 2000 records in AGSNF30 there are over 11 000 records in AG30SLF.  The fields defined in this file are the minimum data set necessary for interpreting soils for agronomic purposes ( CanSIS Manual 3 Procedures and Users Guide revised 1994).




        Figure 4. Spatial extent of of the AGRASID 3.0 coverage subdivided into  NTS map sheets (with a Township grid )

        Glossary of Terms
         
        Co-dominant soil:
        A soil that is estimated to occupy more than 30% and less than 60% of a soil polygon. Up to 3 co-dominant soils may be identified for a soil polygon.

        Correlation Team: A group of individuals (Scientific Leader, Block Leaders, Agriculture Canada Correlators and Field Assistants) responsible for maintaining consistency in soil taxonomy and interpretation. The correlation team also ensures the standardization of basic soil attributes and the development of soil landscape model concepts.

        Dominant soil: A soil that is estimated to occupy more than 60 % of a soil polygon. Only one dominant soil may be identified for a soil polygon.

        Land System: Subdivision of Ecodistrict  in the Ecological Land Classification hierarchy.

        Land System Database: An electronic spatial database (the map) linked to an attribute database created by the CAESA-SIP. The main attributes of the database are: Land System Name, Land System Number, Surficial Geology, Regional Surface Form, Groundwater Discharge, Stream Courses, Regional Bedrock, Lakes and Wetlands, Regional Soil Models.

        Land System Inventory: An inventory compiled at the 1:250 000 scale. Land Systems within one ecodistrict are recognized and separated by differences in one or more of: general pattern of land surface form, surficial geological materials, amount of lakes or wetlands, or general soil pattern. All Land Systems within one ecodistrict have the same general climate for agriculture but differences in microclimate patterns can be recognized. An average sized Land System is approximately three to four townships (32,000 hectares).

        Landscape Model: A sub-model used in building a soil landscape model. The Landscape Model includes slope class, surface form, a surface form modifier and many other attributes of a landscape.

        Legend: A brief explanatory list of the symbols, cartographic units, patterns (shading and color hues), and other cartographic conventions appearing on a map, chart, or diagram.

        Parent Material: The unconsolidated and more or less chemically weathered mineral or organic matter from which the solum of a soil has developed by pedogenic processes.

        Regional Soil Models: A conceptual description of the Soil Model with the greatest aerial extent in the Land System (1:250 000).

        Regional Surface Form: A conceptual description of a recognizably distinct landscape.

        Significant soil: A soil that is estimated to occupy more than 10% and less than 30% of a soil polygon. Up to 5 significant soils may be identified for a soil polygon.

        Soil Classification: The systemic arrangement of soils into categories and classes on the basis of their characteristics. Broad groupings are made on the basis of general characteristics and subdivisions on the basis of more detailed differences in specific properties.

        Soil Correlation Area (SCA): An area with similar agroclimate and landscape ecology such that it defines the geographic limits for usage of soil series names.

        Soil Inventory Meta Data: Data that explains soil inventory data structures, terminology, classification systems, models and procedures.

        Soil Landscape: (1) A subdivision of a Land System in the Ecological Land Classification hierarchy. (2) An actual piece of land identified in a Soil Landscape inventory as an entity for which attributes are described.

        Soil Landscape Inventory: Subdivision of a Land System into Soil Landscapes based on recognition of differences in patterns of surface form, surficial geological materials, lakes and wetlands, and soils, and descriptions of associated attributes.

        Soil Landscape Model: A conceptual description of recurring soil and land patterns appropriate for the Soil Landscape level of the Ecological Land Classification hierarchy. It is an amalgamation of the Soil Model and the Landscape Model. Referred to as 'soil map units' in previous soil survey reports.

        Soil Landscape Model Symbol: The Soil Landscape Model symbol used to describe the Soil Model and the Landscape Model on an output report.  Found in the AG30 file under the field MUNAME.

        Soil Map Delineation (soil polygon): Area delineated on a map to represent a definite tract of land (a Soil Landscape) about which information is to be communicated. For a tract to be definite, distinct from its neighbors the tract must have discernible consistency in attributes i) that are important, and ii) that (individually or collectively) can be conceptualized, defined, and named. Assigned to the delineation, usually through symbols, the names and definitions impart the meaning of the tract it represents.

        Since difference in important attributes is what justifies differentiation of adjacent tracts, therefore one or more polygon symbols (and attribute names and concepts they denote) must differ between adjacent polygons. Lines on the map (polygon boundaries) represent the places on Earth's surface where, for practical purposes, changeover in attributes can be said to occur.

        Soil Map Unit: (See Soil Landscape Model) A combination of kinds of soil, or miscellaneous land types that can be shown at the scale of mapping for the defined purpose and objectives of a particular soil survey.

        Soil Mapper (analyst): A person responsible for soil mapping and coding of soil attribute data into AGRASID.

        Soil Name (series) Symbol: A code that identifies a Soil Name (e.g. CMO for Camrose).

        Soil Model: Consists of a dominant or co-dominant soil series and any significant soils.

        Soil Series: A category in the Canadian System of Soil Classification. This is the basic unit of soil classification, and consists of soils that are essentially alike in all major profile characteristics except the texture of the surface.

        White Area: An administrative boundary considered the 'settled area' of Alberta. The White Area as of March 1992 was 63,248,640 acres (approx. 2745 townships).

        References

        Agriculture Canada. 1976. Glossary of terms in soil science. Canada Department of Agriculture Publication 1459, Information Canada, Ottawa.

        Agriculture Canada. 1988. Soil Landscapes of Canada - Alberta Land Resource Research Centre Contribution Number 87 - 02. Agriculture Canada Publ. 5237/B. Minister of Supply and Services Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

        Alberta Land Resource Unit. 1997a. Alberta Soil Layer file (Gen 3.0). Edited by J.A. Brierley, B.D. Walker and C.J. Tomas. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Edmonton, Alberta.

        Alberta Land Resource Unit. 1997b. Alberta Soil Names file (Gen 3.0). Edited by J.A. Brierley, B.D. Walker and C.J. Tomas. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Edmonton, Alberta.

        CAESA Soil Inventory Working Group. 1997. CAESA Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual. Edited by W.L. Nikiforuk, SLRI Consultants Limited. Available from Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development, Edmonton, Alberta.

        Ecological Stratification Working Group. 1995. A National Ecological Framework for Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Branch, Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research; and Environment Canada State of Environment Directorate, Ecozone Analysis Branch. Ottawa-Hull. Report and National map 1:7.5 million scale.

        Ecoregions Working Group. 1989. Ecoclimatic Regions of Canada, First Approximation. Ecoregions Working Group of the Canada Committee on Ecological Land Classification. Ecological Land Classification Series, No. 23, Sustainable Development Branch, Canadian Wildlife Service, Conservation and Protection, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ont. 119 pp. and map at 1:7 500 000.

        Expert Committee on Soil Survey (ECSS). 1983. The Canada Soil Information System (CanSIS) Manual for describing soils in the field. 1982 revised. Edited by J.H. Day. LRRI Contribution No. 82-52. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, ON.

        Soil Classification Working Group. 1998. The Canadian System of Soil Classification. Agric. and Agri-Food Can. Publ. 1646 (Revised). NRC Research Press, Ottawa. 187 pp.

        MacDonald, K.B. and G. Patterson. 1994. CanSIS Manual 3 Procedures and User's Guide - large scale maps (Soil map units, Soil names and Soil layer files section). Revised 1994 by Z. Strzelczyk. Center for Land and Biological Resources Research, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
         

        Appendices

        Appendix 1. AG30 polygon attribute table
        The polygon attribute table contains  spatial/graphic as well as  geographic setting information for each of the 28 340 recognized soil landscape polygons.
         
        Field NameTypeWidthAllowable valuesExplanation of Field Name
        AREANumeric12 Area of polygon (square meters)
        PERIMETERNumeric12 Perimeter of polygon (meters)
        AGRASID30#Numeric11 ESRI Coverage internal record number r
        AGRASID-IDNumeric11 ESRI Coverage internal ID number 
        POLYNUMBNumeric9 AGRASID 3.0 Primary Key 
        HECTARESNumeric12 Area of Polygon in Hectares
        SCANumeric21 -24Soil Correlation Area number 
        LMODCharacter1d, r, e, n, cLandscape model (Table 2 in this User's Manual or Table 4.11 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual)
        LMODELCharacter4 Landscape model (Table 2 in this User's Manual or Table 4.14 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual)
        MUNAMECharacter 14 Generated soil symbol based upon the soil data collected and documented by the soil mapper. For explanation of the concepts and symbol refer to Section 2.0 of the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual.
        ECODISTCharacter6 Concatenation of ECO_REG and ECO_DIST 
        ECO_REGCharacter2 Ecoregion code (Fig. 2.1 in AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual)
        ECO_DISTCharacter3 Ecodistrict code (Table 4.1 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual)
        NSLC200Character8 New Soil Landscape of Canada (SLC) number (SLC-Alberta,  Phase 1 White zone, June 2000 CD-ROM)
        LSYS_-NOCharacter 2 Unique Land System number within a Ecodistrict. 
        LS_COMPCharacter1 Code given to non-contiguous portions of a Land System
        LS_SYMCharacter9 Complete Land System symbol.  Unique identifier for each LS component.  Concatenation of ECO_REG, ECO_DIST, LSYS_NO and LS_COMP.
        LSLGDSYMCharacter9 Land System symbol. Link to  AG30LSLG. Concatenation of ECO_REG, ECO_DIST, and LSYS_NO.
        TOWNSHIPNumeric31-125Township 
        RANGENumeric21-30Range 
        MERIDIANNumeric14-6Meridian
        LOCATORNumeric6 Locator field identifying the centroid for each Soil Landscape Polygon.  Value is concatenation of Meridian, Range and Township.
        LEG_DESCCharacter12 Alberta Township System Descriptor  unique to C&D, AAFRD.

        Appendix 2.  AG30MAS - basic soil evidence database file
        The Basic Soil Evidence Database file  contain data on the soils contained within each soil landscape polygon (uniquely identified by POLYNUMB). The number of soils described per polygon varies depending upon the extent of each of the soils. Some fields contained within this file contain many blank values. However these fields are necessary because the information contained within them represents the data that the soil mapper recorded about the soils contained within a soil polygon.

        This file is linked to the AG30 Polygon attribute Table by the POLYNUMB  field and to the AG30SNF and AG30SLF by the NEW_SYMBOL field.

        Field NameTypeWidthAllowable valuesExplanation of Field Name
        POLYNUMBNumeric8 Soil polygon number, assigned by soil analyst. SOILPOLY is used to link to the GIS coverage and the SL.DBF.
        MAS_WETCharacter2FD, I, P, APSoil drainage categories (Table 4.5 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual).
        MAS_ORDERCharacter4 Soil Order (see the Canadian System of Soil Classification (1997) for allowable codes)
        MAS_GGCharacter14 Soil Great Group (see the Canadian System of Soil Classification (1997) for allowable codes)
        MAS_SGCharacter12 Soil Sub-Group (see the Canadian System of Soil Classification (1997) for allowable codes or Table 4.8 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual).
        MAS_MODCharacter4 Soil Sub-Group Modifier (see Table 4.9 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual).
        MAS_PMCharacter4 A unique set of parent material texture codes developed specifically for the  project (see Table 4.7 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual).
        MAS_EXTCharacter2 Extent of each identified soil type (see Section 2.0 in the Procedures Manual).
        MAS_SYMCharacter3 Soil name symbol (as defined in the Alberta Soil Names File (1997)).
        MAS_VARNTCharacter4 Soil variant (see the Alberta Soil Names File (1997) or Table 4.9 in the Procedures Manual). The variant is used to describe soils that are sufficiently different to warrant recognition but do not justify a new soil name due to limited geographic extent.
        NEW_SYMBOLCharacter7 MAS_SYM and MAS_VARNT are concatenated to create this field. The NEW_SYMBOL field is used to join (or link) to the Soil Names File (SNF) and Soil Layer File (SLF).

        Appendix 3. AG30SNF -  soil names file
        The AGRASID Soil Names File contains information on all the soil series that are currently described and documented in Alberta. The version of the Soil Names File provided is current to the date of publishing of AGRASID. However the file is continually updated and revised based upon the observations and feedback provided to the Alberta soils Correlator by soil inventory specialists. The Correlator makes additions and deletions to the file but changes to the database structure are not common.

        This file is linked to the AG30MAS andAG30SLF by the NEW_SYMBOL field.
          
        Field NameTypeWidthAllowable valuesExplanation of Field Name
        NEW_SYMBOLCharacter7 This field contains a concatenated version of the soil series name and soil variant. The NEW_SYMBOL field is used to join (or link) to the Basic Soil Evidence File (MAS.DBF) and link to the Soil Layer File (SLF).
        SERIESCharacter24 Soil series name. The variant is attached if the series is not modal.
        VARIANTCharacter4 The variant is used to describe soils that are sufficiently different to warrant recognition but do not justify a new soil name due to limited geographic extent. Up to two variants may be used 
        LUCharacter1N, ALand Use - N = Native (Ah horizon) and A = Agricultural (Ap horizon)
        SCANumeric2 Soil correlation area number 
        DRAINAGECharacter2 Soil drainage class (ECSS 1983). These classes are different from those used for data capture in the CAESA project.
        CALCARCharacter4 Calcareousness class of the first C horizon delineated. Classes are delineated in the field based on the amount of carbonates expressed as CaCO3 equivalent (ECSS 1983).
        SALINITYCharacter4 Salinity class (of the most saline parent material) (ECSS 1983).
        PM1_TEXCharacter4 Texture of parent material 1 (usually the first C-horizon or in some cases the first material below the A-horizon) (ECSS 1987).
        PM1_TYPCharacter4 Genetic origin of the first parent material (ECSS 1987).
        PM2_TEXCharacter4 Texture of parent material 2 (ECSS 1987).
        PM2_TYPCharacter4 Genetic origin of the second parent material (ECSS 1987).
        MAS_PMCharacter4 A unique set of parent material texture codes developed specifically for AGRASID (see Table 4.7 in the AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual).
        REPORTCharacter20 Identifies where a representative soil profile can be found.
        ORDERCharacter2 Soil Order (Canadian System of Soil Classification 1997)
        S_GROUPCharacter4 Soil Subgroup (Canadian System of Soil Classification 1997)
        G_GROUPCharacter3 Soil Great Group (Canadian System of Soil Classification 1997)
        SGCharacter8 Soil Subgroup abbreviation (concatenated Subgroup and Great Group)
        SG_MODCharacter8 Identifies 'taxonomic' characteristics not recognized at the subgroup level. Examples include peaty, acidic, saline and so on.
        CORRNOTECharacter254 Specific comments about soil name.

        Appendix 4. AG30SLF - soil layer file
        The Soil Layer File  contains information on the chemical and physical properties for each layer (horizon) associated with each soil name listed in the Alberta Soil Names File (Gen3.0). There is a one to many relationship between soil name and associated layers. The fields defined in this file were determined to be the minimum data set necessary to interpret a soil specifically for agronomic purposes (CanSIS Manual 3 Procedures and Users Guide revised 1994).

        This file is linked to the AG30SNF by the NEW_SYMBOL field.
          
        Field NameTypeWidthDecimalExplanation of Field Name
        NEW_SYMBOLCharacter7 This field contains a concatenated version of the soil series name and soil variant. The NEW_SYMBOL field is used to link to the Soil Names File (SNF.DBF).
        VARIANTCharacter4 The variant is used to describe soils that are sufficiently different to warrant recognition but do not justify a new soil name due to limited geographic extent. Up to two variants may be described 
        LUCharacter1 Land Use - N = Native (Ah horizon) and A = Agricultural (Ap horizon)
        LAYER_NOCharacter1 Horizon number
        HZN_LITCharacter1 Horizon lithological discontinuity
        HZN_MASCharacter3 Master horizon (uppercase)
        HZN_SUFCharacter5 Horizon suffix (lowercase)
        HZN_MODCharacter1 Horizon modifier
        UDEPTHNumeric3 Upper horizon depth (cm)
        LDEPTHNumeric3 Lower horizon depth (cm)
        COFRAGNumeric3 Coarse fragment content (% by volume)
        DOMSANDCharacter2 Dominant sand fraction
        VFSANDNumeric3 Very fine sand (% by weight)
        TSANDNumeric3 Total sand (% by weight)
        TSILTNumeric3 Total silt (% by weight)
        TCLAYNumeric3 Total clay (% by weight)
        ORGCARBNumeric51Organic Carbon (% by weight)
        PHCANumeric41pH in CaCl2
        PH2Numeric41pH in water
        BASESNumeric2 Base saturation (%)
        CECNumeric3 Cation Exchange Capacity (meq/100g)
        KSATNumeric63Saturated hydraulic conductivity (cm/h)
        KP0Numeric3 Water retention at 0 kilopascals (% by total soil volume)
        KP10Numeric3 Water retention at 10 kilopascals (% by total soil volume)
        KP33Numeric3 Water retention at 33 kilopascals (% by total soil volume)
        KP1500Numeric3 Water retention at 1500 kilopascals (% by total soil volume)
        BDNumeric52Bulk density (g/cm3
        ECNumeric3 Electrical conductivity (mS/cm) (ECSS 1983).
        CACO3Numeric2 Calcium carbonate equivalent (%) (ECSS 1983). 
        VONPOSTNumeric2 Von Post estimate of decomposition (ECSS 1983).
        WOODNumeric2 Volume of woody material


        Appendix 5. AG30LSLG - land system legend file
        The Land System Legend File identifies the attributes specific that have been assigned to each of the 789 recognized land systems.  For background information regarding the Land System concept and it's application during the compilation of  AGRASID, refer to the Chapter 2 in the Procedures Manual as well as the  Land Systems User's Manual,  AGRASID Version 1.0.
         
        Field NameTypeWidthExplanation of Field Name
        OBJECTIDNumeric11Consecutive numbering of Land Systems within the file (Values from 1-789)
        LSLGDSYMCharacter8Land System symbol.  This field provides the link to the AG30 Polygon Attribute Table.
        NAMECharacter23Unique geographic name given to each land system.
        MORPLOLCharacter11MOrphological descriptor (Table 4.2, AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual)
        SCANumeric11Soil Correlation Area number
        SOIL_ZONECharacter14Soil zone as defined by the SCA number
        AG_CLIMATECharacter12Agricultural climate rating from the Ecodistricts legend (Table 4.1, AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual)
        ORD1Character6Soil Order of the 1st representaive soil (Table 3.3, AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual)
        ORD2Character 6Soil Order of the 2nd representaive soil (Table 3.3, AGRASID Version 1.0 Procedures Manual) 
        MAJOR1Character 81st major representaive soil name symbol (>20% of the land system) 
        MAJOR2Character82nd major representaive soil name symbol (>20% of the land system) 
        MAJOR3Character83rd major representaive soil name symbol (>20% of the land system) 
        MINOR1Character81st minor representative soil name symbol (between 5-20 of the land system)
        MINOR2Character82nd minor reprsentative soil name symbol (between 5-20 of the land system)
        SURFORM1Character111st representative landscape model (landscape models described in Table 2 of this manual)
        SURFORM2Character112ndt representative landscape model (landscape models described in Table 2 of this manual)
        SURFORM3Character113rd representative landscape model (landscape models described in Table 2 of this manual) 

        This AGRASID Version 3.0 Soil Landscape User's Manual was compiled by:
        J.A. Brierley, Western Land Resource Group, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
        T. C. Martin, Conservation and Development Branch, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
        D. J. Spiess, Conservation and Development Branch, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
         

        This version of the Soil Landscapes User's Manual is based on the original manual (June 1998) written by:
        W. L. Nikiforuk, SLRI Consultants Limited
        G. G. Tychon, Spatial Data Systems Consulting
        J. A. Brierley, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
        P. E. Smith, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
         
         
         
         
        For more information about the content of this document, contact David Spiess.
        This document is maintained by Deb Sutton.
        This information published to the web on February 14, 2001.
        Last Reviewed/Revised on April 12, 2012.