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1:25 000 Soil Map

1:25 000 Soil Map - Further information

The 1:25 000 Soil Map of Scotland (partial cover) was originally a series of black and white maps derived from the field sheets used to produce the 1:63 360 scale coloured soil maps. They were produced at the 1:25 000 scale to allow users to see field boundaries more clearly and often contained some additional, small soil polygons that could not be shown on the smaller scale published coloured maps as well as some additional information regarding the soil, topography or land features such as 'gravelly; indurated; steep slopes or rock near surface'. These are known as soil 'phases'.

As with the 1:250 000 scale spatial data, a single, unified soil classification system 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 was introduced so that the digital dataset may differ slightly from the paper maps but the Soil Series names remain the same other than any transcription errors which have now been resolved.

Technical metadata

Data gathering: 1947 to 1987

The standard procedure for creating the underlying 1:25 000 scale soil maps which comprise this digital dataset was known as 'free survey' where the soil surveyor dug inspection pits (around 70cm deep) to confirm or refute their conceptual model of the distribution of soils in that area. The early surveyors marked these inspection holes and drew soil polygons on 'War Time' GSGS (Geographical Section, General Staff) editions of topographic maps often using abbreviated, shorthand descriptions. Later, 1:25 000 scale Ordnance Survey maps were used. In the mid-60s, black and white stereoscopic air photographs, mainly at 1:24 000 were introduced for field mapping with inspection holes being marked on the photograph in the field along with approximate boundaries between different soils. During the winter months, these boundaries were 'fixed' with the help of a stereoscope to view the relief in 3 dimensions. These lines were transferred to a 'field sheet' which also contained information on the inspection pits and then to 'clean copy' 1:25 000 scale Ordnance Survey maps using a sketchmaster. These 'clean copy' 1:25 000 scale maps were then reduced for preparation of published 1:63 360 scale maps and subsequently digitised along with additional information from the original field sheets to provide this current 1:25 000 scale spatial dataset.

The primary aim in mapping soils at 1:25 000 scale was to identify homogenous soil mapping units that comprised only one soil series. In some instances, the soil series could be further subdivided on the basis of certain such as stoniness, presence of indurated layers or occurring on steep slopes. These subdivisions were known as phases.  Where soils occur in an intricate pattern it is not always possible to delineate soil mapping units that comprise only one soil series and in such circumstances soil complexes are delineated as mapping units.  The component soils usually recur in a recognisable pattern related to topography and land form.

Collection methods:

These maps were derived from soil surveys from 1947 through to 1987 and were originally only available as 'dyeline' copies. However, funding from the Macaulay Development Trust allowed a large number of these maps to be digitised.  The individual sheets were edge-matched but as the sheets were often digitised for specific projects, the internal quality control often lacked rigour particularly with regard to consistency with other map sheets. Also, over time, it became clear that there was a mismatch between soil series and the soil phases. Therefore, it was decided that all the map sheets should be checked, evaluated and any errors corrected. This was done in stages allowing a phased release of the corrected data when it became available, starting in 2014.

Originator:

Formerly DAFS (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland), then SOAEFD (Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department), then SEERAD (Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department), then Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate (RERAD) now RESAS (Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division). Much of the original digitising was funded by the Macaulay Development Trust.

Data collectors:

Field surveying and interpretation by Soil Survey of Scotland Staff.

Digitising:

Both by external contractors and internally at the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, a predecessor of the James Hutton Institute.

Revisions and version management:

Error correction and re-digitising: John Bell, David Donnelly and Grant Campbell.

The 1:25 000 Soil Map of Scotland (partial cover) dataset has been revised in phases, each phase building on the previous one. The version of the data available here is Phase 4 and it supersedes Phases 1, 2 and 3 (Phase 3 was published in March 2015). Whilst this map covers much of the better quality agricultural land in Scotland, there is scope to extend coverage of cultivated land by digitising relevant areas from the 1:63 360 and 1:50 000 scale soil maps. This supplementary work will be undertaken by the James Hutton Institute between 2016 and 2021.

Further information on all the revisions associated with each phase is available in the metadata folder which accompany the data download.

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.
  • Glentworth, R. 1954. The Soils of the country round Banff, Huntly and Turriff (Sheets 86 and 96). HMSO. Edinburgh.
  • Mitchell, B.D. and Jarvis, R.A. 1956. The Soils of the country round Kilmarnock (Sheet 22 and part of21). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. Edinburgh, HMSO.
  • Muir, J.W. 1956. The soils of the country round Jedburgh and Morebattle (Sheets 17 and 18). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. HMSO. Edinburgh.
  • Grant, R. 1960. The Soils of the country round Elgin (Sheet 95). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen.
  • Ragg, J.M. 1960. The soils of the country round Kelso and Lauder (Sheets 25 and 26). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. HMSO. Edinburgh.
  • Glentworth, R. and Muir. J.W. 1963. The Soils of the country round Aberdeen, Inverurie and Fraserburgh (Sheets 77, 76 and 87/97). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. HMSO. Edinburgh.
  • Ragg, J.M. and Futty, D.W. 1967. The soils of the country round Haddington and Eyemouth (Sheets 33 and 34 and part of sheet 41). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland HMSO. Edinburgh.
  • Bown, C.J. 1973. The Soils of Carrick and the country round Girvan (Sheets 7 and 8). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. HMSO. Edinburgh.
  • Laing, D. 1976. The Soils of the country round Perth, Arbroath and Dundee (Sheets 48 and 49). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. HMSO. Edinburgh.
  • Futty, D.W. and Dry, F.T. 1977. The Soils of the country round Wick (Sheets 110, 116 and part 117). Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Scotland. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen.
  • Bown, C.J. and Heslop, R.E.F. 1979. The soils of the country round Stranraer and Wigtown. Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Great Britain. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen.
  • Romans, J.C.C. 1984. The Soils of the Black Isle (Parts of Sheets 83, 84, 93 and 94) Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Great Britain. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen.
  • Romans, J.C.C. 1984. Soils in Easter Ross. Technical Report No. 1. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen
  • Bell, J.S. 1986. Soils of the Blairgowrie District. Report No. 3. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen.
  • Dry, F.T. 1986. The Soils of Orkney. Report No. 2. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen.
  • Towers, W. 1986. The Soils of Caithness. Report No. 4. Macaulay Institute for Soil Research. Aberdeen.
  • Hipkin, J.A. 1988. Soils around Glasgow and the Firth of Clyde. Report No. 5. Macaulay Land Use Research Institute. Aberdeen.

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