Soil maps

Soil mapping describes the properties of soils and the landscapes in which they occur. We use these maps to evaluate land for planning, agricultural use or environmental protection.

Why map soils and landscapes?

We map soils and landscapes to understand:

  • their attributes and distribution
  • the processes by which they develop
  • their capability and suitability for various uses
  • what risks may be involved and how they can be safely addressed.

Soil information is important for both the direct users of land and soils and for more strategic purposes, such as planning and policy-making and environmental protection. It is also important for the  improvement of or adaptation to large-scale environmental problems such as climate change, soil erosion, acidification and dryland salinity.

Agriculture and food security is another important area where soil information matters, not only for human health and food security but for the health of the economy. In 2014-15 NSW delivered approximately $12.125 billion in agricultural production, all of which was reliant in some way on the soil. As an example, soil and landscape mapping provides the foundation for the mapping of NSW’s best land and soils as Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land.

Soil maps

To see the extent of soil mapping across NSW, and to determine what is available for your area of interest, use the ‘Soil map index layer’ in the eSPADE spatial viewer. Click on each coloured area of the map to find out what is available and how to access it. eSPADE also provides direct, free and easy access to the vast majority of this information.

Alternatively, if you know the name and type of the product you wish to access, select it from one of the tabs below.

This statewide standard for soil mapping combines both previously published and new areas. It is based on catchment boundaries or other areas of state significance. Ongoing mapping is targeted at regions of New South Wales where soil and land information is vital for land use planning and infrastructure development.

Products in this series are:

This program consisted of two major components:

  • 1:250,000 scale for broad-acre agriculture, mainly in the wheat-sheep belt
  • 1:100,000 scale for areas under intense land use pressure or change, such as coastal and urban/peri-urban areas and regions of intensive cropping.

Collection of soil landscape information under the program, based on Australian Surveying and Land Information Group (AUSLIG) topographic map sheet boundaries, ceased in 2005 and, in 2010, the last of 39 paired soil landscape maps and reports was published.

Products in these series are:

1:100 000 Soil Landscape Series

1:250 000 Soil Landscape Series

This broadscale mapping of the Western Division of NSW was carried out in the mid-1980s to delineate areas or groups of areas with recurring patterns of topography, soils and vegetation. The maps and associated report cover the entire Division at 1:250,000 scale, and are available as digital map data plus an associated report.

Products in this series are: 

Areas that contain acid sulfate soils have been mapped for the entire NSW coastline at a scale of 1:25,000. The maps show the probability of occurrence, estimated depth, environmental risk of disturbance and landform element within which the acid sulphate soil occurs. For more information, see Acid sulfate soil risk maps.

The Hydrogeological landscape (HGL) concept provides a structure for the understanding of how salinity shows itself in the landscape and how differences in salinity are visible across the landscape. A HGL spatially defines areas of similar salt stores and pathways for salt movement. For more information, see Hydrogeological landscapes.

We have synthesised the best land and soil information from across New South Wales into a series of statewide maps. These include dominant soil types (Australian Soil Classification and Great Soil Group, dominant Land and Soil Capability (LSC), dominant Inherent Soil Fertility, Hydrologic Soil Group, Data Confidence and Modelled soil properties.

We also have partial state coverage for Soil Regolith mapping.

You can access these maps through the Custom layers section of eSPADE under the category of Statewide land and soil mapping.