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1:250 000 National Soil Map

1:250 000 National Soil Map - Further information

The 1:250 000 scale National Soil Map of Scotland was derived from a mixture of new soil survey work undertaken between 1978 and 1981 and a simplification of more detailed mapping undertaken between 1947 and 1978. The soil map units are mainly soil 'complexes' based on a limited number of repeated landforms found throughout Scotland and, as such, often comprise of more than one particular soil type. A series of handbooks give additional information of the distribution of the individual soil types within these map units.

Although published as a series of paper maps, the soil polygons were subsequently digitised to produce an electronic spatial dataset of the entire country (see Metadata below for a more detailed description). A 100 m raster version was produced with the help of the former Institute of Hydrology and during this process many of the digitising errors were identified and corrected and soil boundaries were extended into urban areas.

Subsequent use of the dataset in combination with more detailed mapping identified a problem with the registration of water bodies with some water bodies being displaced by up to 200 m. These errors were corrected in 2012 and a new version of the 1:250 000 National Soil Map of Scotland was released. Additional revisions included edits to the associated attribute table and in 2013, the introduction of a revised, single soil classification for Scotland that can be applied to soil profile data, as well as all soil maps at a scales of 1:25 000, 1:50 000, 1:63 360 and 1:250 000.

Technical metadata:

Data gathering: Start: 1947, End: 1981

Collection methods:

The digitising of this dataset was done by Laser-Scan, Cambridge. A film version of the lines was used as a source document for scanning. Dyeline prints of the soil lines were symbolized by hand and used as the source document for coding the polygons. The data was supplied in GIMMS format, and was first used for a joint venture with the Institute of Hydrology, who produced a raster version of the data at a resolution of 100 metres. In the course of this work they discovered and resolved many problems with edge-matching, errors in coding etc, which had not come to light previously. During this work soil boundaries were extended over all the built-up areas on the maps. The vector data was converted to a more useable format in the mid-eighties.

Vector strings and arc-polygon labels were read from the GIMMS format, written to textfiles. Later these vectors were imported into ARC/Info and a method devised for labelling the polygons. A more rigorous check of the accuracy of the dataset was done, which revealed coding and positional errors. The dataset can be considered as being composed of three layers: soil boundaries, lochs and coastline. These layers vary in their absolute and relative positional accuracy, when compared with the source 1:50 000 documents. Localised errors of up to 200 m have been observed in the lochs layer (possibly due to a mis-registration of plates during the reprographics phase of map production) and also therefore in common boundaries with soil polygons.

Revisions undertaken in 2012 have improved the positioning of the water features. This work was done using the original data (vector, with built-up areas) and a dataset named Soils of Scotland 1:250 000 Soils and Built-up Area vector was produced. It was from this basic dataset that this dataset the Soils of Scotland 1:250 000 Soils vector dataset was created. Raster versions of both vector datasets were made at resolutions of 100 metres and 1 kilometre.

Originator:

Formerly DAFS (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland), then SOAEFD (Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department), then SERAD (Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department), then Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate (RERAD)now RESAS (Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division).

Data collectors:

  • Surveying and interpretation: Survey team leaders
  • Eastern Scotland - Alexander Walker
  • Northern Scotland - Donald W Futty
  • Orkney and Shetland - Frank T Dry
  • Outer Hebrides - Gordon Hudson
  • South-East Scotland - Cyril J Bown
  • South-West Scotland - Cyril J Bown,
  • Western Scotland - John S Bibby

Digitising:

Laser-Scan, Cambridge.

Revisions and version management:

Revision on 11/10/11 to correct truncated parent material information.

Revision during May-Sept. 2012: the coast and water bodies from the 1:250 000 LCA data set were inserted into this data, replacing the original inaccurate data. Gaps which were formerly water which became land were filled by 'growing' the adjacent soils polygons. This has significantly improved this positional aspect, from previously up to 200 m in error to at worst possibly a few 10s of metres. A report is available.

Revisions to the soil classification were made in October 2013. This revised classification unified and updated the classification system currently in use for the various map series (1:250 000, 1:63 360, 1:50 000 and 1:25 000 or larger) and for the point profile dataset. Significant changes were to Peaty podzols (now Peaty gleyed podzols) and to the Brown forest soils with gleying which changed firstly to brown earths with gleying and then subsequently split into Brown earths and Noncalcareous gleys based on their Hydrology of Soil Type (HOST) class (Boorman et al., 1995).

References:

  • Boorman, D.B., Hollis, J.M and Lilly, A. 1995. Hydrology of soil types: a hydrologically-based classification of the soils of the United Kingdom. Institute of Hydrology Report No.126. Institute of Hydrology, Wallingford.
  • Further information on the soil map units can be found on the Soils Maps of Scotland page
  • Dry, F.T. & Robertson, J.S. 1982. Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture: Orkney and Shetland. Handbook to accompany the 1:250 000 scale Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture maps, Sheet 1.   The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.
  • Hudson, G., Towers, W., Bibby, J.S. & Henderson, D.J. 1982. Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture: The Outer Hebrides. Handbook to accompany the 1:250 000 scale Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture maps, Sheet 2.   The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.
  • Futty, D.W. & Towers, W. 1982. Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture: Northern Scotland. Handbook to accompany the 1:250 000 scale Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture maps, Sheet 3.   The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.
  • Bibby, J.S., Hudson, G. & Henderson, D.J. 1982. Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture: Western Scotland. Handbook to accompany the 1:250 000 scale Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture maps, Sheet 4.   The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.
  • Walker, A.D., Campbell, C.G.B., Heslop, R.E.F., Gauld , J.H., Laing, D., Shipley, B.M. & Wright, G.G. 1982. Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture: Eastern Scotland. Handbook to accompany the 1:250 000 scale Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture maps, Sheet 5.   The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.
  • Bown, C.J., Shipley, B.M. & Bibby, J.S. 1982. Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture: South-west Scotland. Handbook to accompany the 1:250 000 scale Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture maps, Sheet 6.   The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.
  • Bown, C.J. & Shipley, B.M. 1982. Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture: South-east Scotland. Handbook to accompany the 1:250 000 scale Soil and Land Capability for Agriculture maps, Sheet 8.   The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.
  • Soil Survey of Scotland Staff. 1984. Organisation and methods of the 1:250 000 soil survey of Scotland. Handbook 8. The Macaulay Institute for Soil Research.  Aberdeen.

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