Detailed Soil Survey (DSS) Compilations

Individual detailed soil surveys have been stitched together to create compiled datasets for each province. These compilations usually cover much greater areas than the original tiles. Although the data structure resembles the DSS version 2 data model, there are some notable differences:

  1. There are no longer Civil and Hydro layers accompanying the data.
  2. There is no Map Unit Table.
  3. MAPUNIT in the Polygon Attribute Table is not always based on MAPUNITNOM. The field used varies by province.
  4. The attributes ORDER, S_GROUP and G_GROUP in the Soil Names Table have been renamed to ORDER2, S_GROUP2 and G_GROUP2 respectively.
  5. There are no longer DOC and readme files accompanying the data; instead there are metadata files accompanying the shapefile and each of the tables.

The significant characteristics of the DSS compilations are as follows.

  • SCALE:  1:50,000 up to 1:100,000
  • COVERAGE:  Coverage is mainly of the significant agricultural areas. Only a small part of the Canadian land area is covered.
  • SYMBOLIZATION:  Within survey projects symbolization and legend is consistent and correlated between map sheets. Map symbols and the associated information in the Component Table are not unique but may be repeated in other map polygons.
  • ATTRIBUTES:  For each polygon, the Component Table typically defines up to nine soils and an estimate of the proportion of each soil within the map unit. Additional soils may have been identified in the original soil survey, but not included in the digital attribute tables because of historical file structure limitations. Each soil referred to in the Component Table is described further in the Soil Name Table and the Soil Layer Table.

Dataset descriptions


The Detailed Soil Survey Compilations data is available to download as a compressed (zip format) "package" for individual provinces. Provincial packages consist of the map and soil attribute files (PAT, CMP, SNT and SLT) for the specific province in shapefile format. The structure of these files may be intermediate between version 2 and the structure described for this version.

The Detailed Soil Survey Compilation datasets are available as shapefiles here:

Some of the original Detailed Soil Surveys can be accessed here.