NB_190_22_18 - NB 190-22-18 ECS – Release of VGS Version 5.0.33 software
NB 190-22-18 ECS – Release of VGS Version 5.0.33 software
National Bulletin: 190-22-18  
Date: August 2, 2022
Subject: ECS – Release of VGS Version 5.0.33 software

Purpose.   To notify the agency of the release of VGS software version 5.0.33 for use on NRCS devices.    
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2022 
Background.   Through intra- and inter-agency coordination with NRCS Resource Assessment Branch (CEAP-Grazing Lands), NRCS Ecological Sciences Division, U.S. Forest Service, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, and the University of Arizona, version 5.0.33 of the VGS data system is now CCE-approved for installation and use on NRCS devices. This includes desktops, laptops, and tablets that run on the Windows operating system.   

VGS is a data system designed for both field data collectors and data managers. It offers ease-of-use, with web-available standard protocols supported by NRCS, ARS, USFS and others. Protocols include Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (both versions), Pasture Condition Score (both versions), Stream Visual Assessment 2.0, and so many others. The Resource Assessment Branch (CEAP-Grazing Lands) and Ecological Sciences Division conduct trainings on VGS use and capabilities, in coordination with the University of Arizona developers. VGS is a data system for any land use and handles both qualitative and quantitative data, photos, geocoordinates, and supports documents such as PDFs. In addition, plant data is derived from and conforms to USDA PLANTS. VGS performs background calculations for instant display of results and includes a comparison feature allowing quick evaluation of previous results to current results – both tabular and photographic comparisons. VGS is currently on the list for integration into Conservation Desktop and CART; having your data in VGS will integrate it into those applications seamlessly in the future.

The upgrade can be installed via the “Software Center” on your desktop/laptop. For installation on tablets or other Windows-based mobile devices, you may need to submit a ticket to request IT installation.

SETUP DEMONSTRATIONS & ONLINE ACCOUNT: There will be 5 brief demos offered through Zoom to give each user the basics in setting up VGS protocols and using a VGS Online account. Join us at any of the following (no need to preregister):

Attend one of the “Getting Started with VGS” Zoom sessions (1 hour; add to your calendar):

August 9, 2022 -- 10:00am Pacific start time    August 9, 2022 -- 1:00pm Pacific start time

August 10, 2022 -- 9:00am Pacific start time    August 10, 2022 -- 1:00pm Pacific start time

August 11, 2022 -- 2:00pm Pacific start time


Click here for a VGS Online Account -- The VGS team will create your VGS Online account if you complete the Google Form no later than August 8, 2022. Or create your own VGS Online account after August 8 – but it’s easier to allow the VGS team to do it for you.

Distribution. This directive is available on the NRCS Electronic Directives System Web site at http://policy.nrcs.usda.gov. Additional information on VGS is accessible through the University of Arizona VGS website; a direct download link from the VGS website; link to the VGS Protocol downloads for import into VGS, and; link to the VGS Tutorial videos.

Contact.   For further information, contact Loretta J. Metz, National CEAP-Grazing Land Component Leader, Resource Assessment Branch, at Loretta.Metz@usda.gov   


Noller Herbert                                      Luis Tupas
Deputy Chief                                       Deputy Chief
Science and Technology                        Soil Science and Resource Assessment

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