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Madison — Scientists, educators, farmers, anyone interested in soils, have you ever tried to learn about your local land by looking at a cross section of your soil, known as a soil profile, only to realize the sample doesn’t have the layered exposure you were looking for?

Soil profiles with good exposure usually show darker soil near the top of a cross section, and lighter soils below. When exposed, various soil horizons or layers of soil are seen. Each horizon holds physical, chemical, biological, and mineral differences.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin and the NRCS National Soil Survey Centerhave made available a new app, Pedon Vault, the first of its kind, to offer a national database of sites to visit in the field offering good exposures of soil profiles and data. Thus, the app name, Pedon Vault, a vault of three-dimensional samples of a soil large enough to show characteristics of all its horizons.

“Pedon Vault give users, nationwide, a means to share data by populating a national database of sites that can be used by educators, scientists, farmers, landowners, schools, soil judging teams, the general public, and many more,” said Wisconsin State Soil Scientist, Jason Nemecek. The app records soil exposures across the country and populates a national database. Interested users can then visit sites in the field with good exposures of soil profiles with data available at their fingertips.

“Pedon Vault application offers valuable insight into soil profiles and is a great first step toward citizen science involvement with the national soils program,” said David Hoover, NRCS National Leader for Soil Business Systems at the National Soil Survey Center. Pedon Vault allows users to download and keep local surveys housed in the app for review and use. Users are able to record, document, upload photos, share, and update soil profile data around the county. Users can also pinpoint locations using location panels, full screen maps, and latitude and longitude for current locations. Map and text settings are also customizable in the app.

A step-by-step user guide with application screenshots is available on the NRCS Wisconsin Soils Homepage. If you are interested in downloading the application, review specific steps in the user guide. For more information about soil tools available for use and how NRCS can assist you, visit the NRCS National Soils Homepage.

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