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Locational Soil And Vegetation Data In Android With SoilWeb

Application Name: SoilWeb

Description: Pulls up NRCS-NCSS soil, geology and vegetation data for a location.

Publisher’s website: SoilWeb

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.1.1  /  9-21-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.1


Android Market link (mobile app only)
Android Market link (browser)

If someone asked me to demonstrate apps that showed the true potential of Android-based portable geography tools, SoilWeb would be one of my top examples. SoilWeb queries US government soil survey data based on a GPS-derived location, then displays it on your Android’s screen. The intro screen gives basic instructions, as well as an example of the kind of data it will retrieve (Figure 1):


Tap on “Get My Location” to start up the GPS, and determine the coordinates for which data will be retrieved. Since the app only allows 30 seconds for position acquisition, it’s probably a good idea to run some other GPS app beforehand to “warm up” the system. Ironically, my house is in one of the few areas in the country with no data coverage; the app will tell me that, as well as bringing up a link to a US data coverage map (Figure 2):


However, I was in an area of New Mexico last week that does have data, and was able to fully exercise the app. After getting my location, the app retrieved two soil columns for the area I was in (Figure 3):


Tapping on the link at the top of the column brings up a description of it (Figure 4):


Tapping on the soil column itself brings up tabular data for both the soil, and vegetation types typical for that soil type and the climate of the area (Figure 5):


Awesome stuff, and I hope to see more apps like this in the future. I hope to try and bang out a few myself, but am unlikely to make one as good as this one. Kudos to Dylan Beaudette of the California Soil Resource Lab for putting this app together, and making it freely available.

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