NB_430_21_5 - NB 430-21-5 SOI - FY-21 Annual Soil Refresh Requirements
NB 430-21-5 SOI - FY-21 Annual Soil Refresh Requirements
National Bulletin: 430-21-5 Date: April 1, 2021
Subject: SOI - FY-21 Annual Soil Refresh Requirements

Regional Office Action Required By:   May 21, 2021

State Soil Scientists Action Required By:    June 18, 2021

Purpose.   To provide requirements on the annual refresh of the official soil survey data.   
Expiration Date.   June 30, 2022

Background.   Each year, the official soil survey data is updated. The official soils data is accessed by the web-based Web Soil Survey (WSS) or is queried through the Soil Data Access (SDA) web service.

The users of this data rely on its accuracy as they make decisions concerning land management, including Government officials responsible for implementing Government farm and other programs established by law. This refresh of the official soil dataset occurs annually with the data being delivered by July 1.

A very detailed process of quality control and quality assurance is performed annually to ensure the most up-to-date soils information is delivered. The soil survey regional offices are responsible for completing a quality assurance review of new or revised data posted to the staging server. The State soil scientist (SSS), or their designee, is responsible for completing the quality control (QC) review and exporting the certified soil survey data for their States to the staging server. The SSS is responsible for verifying and committing the certified spatial and attribute data from the staging server to the Soil Data Warehouse (SDW).

The goal for this year’s annual refresh is to complete the update of the soil database by July 1st.

Deadlines to note:

  • April 30th – Soil Survey Offices cease all data entry into NASIS and complete any projects they need uploaded for the next refresh. Interpretations, Tabular and Spatial edits must be completed.

  • May 21st – Regional offices complete all QA and correlations

  • May 28th – Regional GIS specialist post spatial data to the staging server

  • June 18th – SSSs complete their review, SSAs exported and committed from the staging server to the SDW

  • June 25th – NSSC complete the cleanup and checks on all Warehouse changes and moves SSURGO to SDM Offline

  • June 30th – Contractors in Ft. Collins complete their checks and "flip the switch" releasing the latest soil data updates to the public.


Explanation.   This year’s annual refresh will require all surveys to be processed. The tabular data for every published soil survey area must be exported from NASIS to the staging server. This requirement includes the NOTCOM soil survey areas. The spatial data is only posted for soil survey areas that had edits to the spatial data. 

Update FY 2021 Surveys

Tabular data for surveys that have been updated and are ready to be published to WSS must be exported from NASIS on or after May 22, 2021, and processed as outlined below in steps 1-4.

Soil survey information published to the WSS will include the following:

1. All required national interpretations are automatically included when a survey is exported from NASIS to the staging server. Required national interpretations include all NASIS primary rules marked as ready to use in the NSSC Pangaea Rules folder. The SSS can supplement the national interpretations by selecting interpretations of interest from the “NSSC Regional Interpretations” folder or interpretations tagged for State use from any of the other “Regional Office” folders. These are located under the “select/view interps” export tab in NASIS. Any SSS who has questions about national interpretations or NSSC owned regional interpretations should contact Bob Dobos by email (bob.dobos@usda.gov). Any SSS who has questions about regional interpretations (non-NSSC owned) should contact the regional office.

2. At a minimum, the component text, as listed in the column named “Group” and nontechnical description as listed in the column named “Kind” must be checked for export under the “select/view text” export tab in NASIS. Verification, by the SSS, that all nontechnical descriptions are up-to-date and available for export can be determined by running the NASIS NSSC Pangaea report named “NASIS to Staging Server Export - Brief Soil Descrip Check”. A web based version of this report is available here. The web report may time out for larger States.

3. Any other text table data considered for export to WSS must be examined by the SSS to verify that personally identifiable information (PII) is removed or not published.

4. It is recommended that all components be exported, but the discretion of the SSS should be applied to the decision of whether minor components should be exported. At a minimum, every minor component that has been classified as a hydric soil must be exported.


The SSS will review and verify the data in the county and MLRA overlap tables. The SSS will finalize documentation of the legend certification history table before export.


Schedule of deadlines

To meet the July 1 deadline, a recommended schedule of sub-deadlines is as follows:
Regional offices should complete their work by May 21st. The SSS should complete his or her work by June 18th. The NSSC and Fort Collins staff should finish publishing the refreshed data to WSS starting by July 1st.


SSURGO Refresh Pre-Check Reports

When a survey is exported from NASIS to the staging server, a database stored procedure is run to check for a series of “Fatal Errors”. If an error exists, the export fails. To improve efficiency, the Database FOCUS Team wrote a report that pre checks surveys for all “Fatal Errors”. This allows the SSS and regional offices to identify and correct fatal errors before going through the export process.


The report is located in the NSSC Pangaea Report folder and is named “NASIS to Staging Server Export - Fatal Errors Pre Check.” A web based version of the report is also available here. When an error is found, the report calls a sub-report. The sub-report identifies where the errors are occurring and directs the SSS to those errors. This should greatly increase the efficiency of the SSS review by removing the time-consuming process of searching the errors and lighten the load on the server when the data is committed.


Over 3000 surveys are exported each year. The servers that process exports have a finite capacity and the process slows when numerous surveys are exported at once. Delays are common close to the final deadline, when export traffic increases. To avoid delays, it is strongly recommended that SSS do not wait until the last minute to complete exports.


Additional information that is specific to the export process is in chapter 17 of the NASIS User Guide. Is also found in Youtube NASIS Training Videos.


The WSS Refresh job aids and videos are located at the following URLs:


Export and Commit Official Soil Survey Data:



Recall* and Commit Official Soil Survey Data:



* The preferred method is to export from NASIS. Recall should only be used when absolutely necessary.


Guidance on the official soil survey information refresh policy has been written into Title 430, National Soil Survey Handbook (NSSH), Part 644, Subpart A, Section 644.2. Future guidance on the refresh of soil survey data will be referred to NSSH policy.

Contact.   For further information, please contact Drew Kinney, National Leader for Soil Business Systems, NSSC, at (402) 437-4098 or drew.kinney@usda.gov.


Deputy Chief, Soil Science and Resource Assessment 
[NB_430_21_5 - ]