Scanned copies of the original seven 1:250 000 Soil Survey of Scotland maps were made available for download to celebrate World Soils Day (5 December 2014) at the start of the International Year of Soils, 2015. These were the original paper maps used to generate the digitised National soil map of Scotland.
Scanned map images:
Each of the seven 1:250 000 Soil Survey of Scotland map sheets was created by the Macaulay Institute (now The James Hutton Institute) based on data collected from soil surveys carried out between 1947 and 1981.
Fundamental to soil characterisation and mapping is soil classification, where similar soils can be grouped according to their key characteristics. Soil classification in Scotland is based on the recognition of distinctive soil features and on the sequence and nature of different horizons (layers) within the soil. The soil classification information used in these maps is the 1984 classification, described in the Organisation and Methods of the 1:250 000 Soil Survey of Scotland handbook. The 1:250 000 Soil Map Unit is a unique number identifying a unique combination of soil parent material, component soil types and associated landforms. There are 580 main Soil Map Units and a few additional units shown on the map legend. The soil map polygon colour indicates the dominant soil type for each of the map units. You can find out more about the map units in the map legends and in the associated handbooks.
Be aware: The classification used pre-dated the 2013 revision used in the digital maps and datasets.
The 1:63 360 soil maps, which mainly cover the cultivated agricultural areas of Scotland and some of the adjacent uplands, have been scanned. Most of these maps can be viewed on the National Library of Scotland website.
The 1:63 360 soil maps were created by the Soil Survey of Scotland based at the Macaulay Institute (now The James Hutton Institute). The maps were based on data collected from soil surveys carried out between 1947 and 1987.
The soil classification information presented in these maps has evolved over time. The classification mostly follows the pre-2013 soil classification for Scotland, however there are some discrepancies depending on the date of publication.
The Soil Mapping Units are generally named after the first place they were found. Many of the map units show individual soil types but, in some areas, the pattern of the landscape was such that individual soils could not be shown at this scale. These map units are called soil complexes.
Memoirs of the 1:63 360 scale soil maps (20 reports)
Soil series information sheets (also known as Soil Map Unit Description Sheets or SMUDS)
This page was last updated on 25 May 2017
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