Soil Landscapes of Canada version (SLC) 3.2 Updates

What is unchanged with Soil Landscapes of Canada v3.2?

The Soil Landscapes of Canada (SLC) version 3.2 has the same GIS polygon coverage as SLCv3.0, v3.1 and v3.1.1. Coverage is still restricted to the main agricultural areas of Canada.

The SLC map polygons are described by a set of soil components, defined by soil codes that are unique to each province, which are linked to soil attributes stored in a set of related tables. The primary attribute tables (LAT, CMP, SNT and SLT) found in SLCv3.1.1 are also provided in SLCv3.2.

As was the case for previous versions, the national version of the SLC was created by combining data prepared for each of the provinces. Portions of SLC polygons that cross provincial boundaries were joined into complete SLC polygons within a national coverage. The Component, Soil Name and Soil Layer tables for each province are also combined to produce the national tables. In the Component Table, the soil components and extents for the provincial portion of each cross border polygon are "blended" into a combined set of soil components and extents to define the national polygon.

What is new with Soil Landscapes of Canada v3.2?

Version 3.2 is distributed as a national set of files only. Separate provincial coverages are no longer available.

Version 3.2 retains essentially the data base tables found in the previous SLC v3.1.1 release, with some specific updates and changes to the data model as described below. It also includes a new Landform Definition Table (LDT), a Landform Extent Table (LET) and a Landscape Segmentation Table (LST). These tables indicate the major landform types within each SLC polygon, as well as the predicted location of the soil components within each landform. The landform data is provided primarily for agricultural polygons within the national SLCv3.2 coverage. Information in these tables is essentially equivalent to that found in the Component Table, but with greater spatial resolution.

The original release of version 3.0 in 2005 provided complete soil data for 4396 polygons. The primary objective was to provide soil data for all of the significant agricultural regions of Canada. In some provinces, notably Ontario and British Columbia, some additional agricultural areas were identified, and new soil attribute data has been provided in subsequent releases. SLC versions 3.0, 3.1, 3.1.1, and 3.2 have the same GIS polygon coverage for the agricultural regions of Canada, but differ in the number of polygons with complete soil attribute file data, as indicated in Table 1.

Table 1. Soil Landscapes of Canada map polygons with complete soil attribute data.
  SLCv3.0 SLCv3.1 SLCv3.1.1 SLCv3.2
Canada * 4396 4543 4577 4578
Newfoundland and Labrador 397 397 397 397
Nova Scotia 417 417 417 417
PEI 33 33 33 33
New Brunswick 466 467 467 467
Quebec 462 471 471 480
Ontario 313 311 345 346
Manitoba 225 225 225 225
Saskatchewan 798 803 803 803
Alberta 1038 1038 1038 1038
British Columbia 328 462 462 463
Yukon Territory 0 0 0 0
Northwest Territories 0 0 0 0
Nunavut 0 0 0 0
* SLC polygons can cross provincial boundaries, so the total for Canada has fewer polygons than the sum of the provincial polygon counts.

SLCv3.2 has the following updates to the provincial (and combined national) soil attribute tables.

Fields common to multiple tables

  1. The name of the polygon relate key has been changed from SL to POLY_ID, to make it easier to understand the purpose of this field.
  2. The soil MODIFIER fields have been increased from 3 to 5 characters, to accommodate additional soil phase variant codes in several provinces. Soil MODIFIER fields occur in the Component table, Soil Name Table, Soil Layer table, and the new Landform table.
  3. The soil LU fields have been renamed to PROFILE, to prevent confusion about the purpose of this field.
  4. The name of the soil relate key has been changed from SOILKEY to SOIL_ID, and it has been expanded from 9 to 11 characters. SOIL_ID is a combination of PROVINCE + SOIL_CODE + MODIFIER + PROFILE fields, and is provided as a convenient soil component linkage field between the Component, Soil Name, Soil Layer, and the new landscape segmentation tables. The increased width is a result of the expansion of the MODIFIER field from 3 to 5 characters. Within the SOIL_ID field, blanks in the MODIFIER codes are replaced with "~" characters.

Landscape Area Table (LAT)

  1. In earlier SLC versions this table was called the Land Area Table.
  2. Field names in this table have been renamed in order to improve clarity.

Ecological Framework Table (EFT)

  1. This new table contains information formerly found in the PAT. It identifies the location of each SLC polygon in terms of the Terrestrial Ecological Stratification of Canada.

Component Table (CMP)

  1. Several fields in this table have been eliminated, and others have been moved into the new Component Rating Table (CRT), which also has the new CMP_ID linkage field.
  2. Fields that enable the link to the Soil Name and Soil Layer tables have been updated.
  3. The CMP soil component records are now all in order by decreasing extent (PERCENT) for each SLC polygon number (POLY_ID). That is, the first soil component (CMP = 1) has the highest estimated land area (PERCENT), with additional component records (CMP = 2, 3, 4, etc.) representing soils with decreasing percentages of the land area of the polygon. While this was generally the case in previous SLC versions, SLCv3.2 implemented a specific new quality control check for this.
  4. Additional checks were implemented to ensure that all national SLCv3.2 "agricultural" polygons that straddled provincial borders also have soil component records in both corresponding provincial SLCv3.2 CMP files.
  5. The total number of soil components in some "cross border" polygons have been revised, to eliminate round off errors (i.e. PERCENT = 0) occuring in these polygons.

Component Rating Table (CRT)

  1. This new table contains basic interpretations for each component, generated from the contents of the Soil Name and Soil Layer tables. Fields in this table were formerly found in the CMP.

Soil Name Table (SNT)

  1. The Soil Order, Great Group and Subgroup codes in the Soil Name Table for all provinces but Saskatchewan have been rechecked and updated to conform to the Canadian System of Soil Classification Third Edition.
  2. An additional check was made to ensure that data fields that identify a lithic, cryic or saline root restricting layer and layer number (RESTRICT_TYPE and ROOTRESTRI) in the Soil Name Table are linked to a valid root restricting layer number for the same soil in the Soil Layer table, with the appropriate horizon designation and attribute values.
  3. The chemical property fields for the first, second and third parent materials (PMCALC1, PMCALC2, and PMCALC3) were renamed PMCHEM1, PMCHEM2, and PMCHEM3. The new names better reflect the range of values, which includes acidic classes as well as calcareous classes. The data field code sets are otherwise unchanged. The revised PMCHEM1 and PMCHEM2 data field names are also provided in the SLCv3.2 Component table.
  4. Additional checks were made for more complete and consistent identification of soil parent materials (MDEP1,2,3, PMTEX1,2,3, and PMCHEM 1,2,3 fields). A soil with one, two or three parent materials should have valid values in all three of these parent material data field types.
  5. The Soil Name Table also contains additional soil records for each province that do not occur in the Component Table. Some of these "extra" soils may occur with the Landscape Segmentation Table, while others are minor provincial soils that only occur in provincial detailed soil map polygons. A copy of the most recent provincial Soil Name file is used as the source for the soil attribute data in the Soil Name Table. The extra provincial soils in the SLCv3.2 Soil Name Table have also been updated from the SLCv3.1.1 Soil Name Table.

Soil Layer Table (SLT)

  1. Duplicate soil component records have been eliminated.
  2. Records for each soil have been reordered so that they appear in sequence.
  3. Soils now have complete soil horizon data to 100cm depth, or to the depth of a significant root restricting layer, such as bedrock.
  4. Additional checks were added to ensure that the sand, silt and clay percentages for each soil horizon were valid, and to ensure that the percentage of very fine sand was less than or equal to the total sand percentage.
  5. The Soil Layer Table also contains additional soil records for each province that do not occur in the Component Table. Some of these "extra" soils may occur with the Landscape Segmentation Table, while others are minor provincial soils that only occur in provincial detailed soil map polygons. A copy of the most recent provincial Soil Layer file is used as the source for the soil attribute data in the Soil Layer Table. The extra provincial soil records in the Soil Layer Table have also been updated from the SLCv3.1.1 Soil Layer Table.

Landform Definition Table (LDT), Landform Extent Table (LET), and Landscape Segmentation Table (LST)

This is a new set of tables introduced with SLCv3.2 A similar Landform Table was provided for specific clients with SLCv3.1 and v3.1.1. The SLCv3.2 Landform Table is the first version provided to all clients with the official CanSIS download files. Significant changes from the previous SLCv3.1.1 Landform table include:

  1. The tables have been restructured into a more normalized form, to make it easier to understand the data and how it was developed.
  2. The soil MODIFIER codes were changed from 3 to 5 characters, to match the new 5 character MODIFIER codes used in the SLCv3.2 CMP, SNT and SLT.
  3. A new, 11 character SOIL_ID was added, to provide a convenient linkage to the other CanSIS files.
  4. New Landform and Landform segment identifier codes were provided, which can be used to link to the specific attributes of each landform segment as defined in the Landform Segmentation Table (LST).
  5. Many specific bugs in the assignment of soils to specific SLCv3.1.1 landscape segments were identified and fixed in the SLCv3.2 Landform table. Many of these were in "cross border" SLC polygons, which had landforms and soil components listed for two provinces.

Updates for specific provinces

Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Component Table SLOPE classes were reviewed and modified for 60 organic soil components.

Nova Scotia

Several minor edits were made to the Component table, to remove duplicate soil component records, by adjusting slope and PERCENT values. Some changes were made to the Soil Name Table, to update the parent material codes for lithic soils, and to remove soil records that did not apply to the SLCv3.2 coverage.

Prince Edward Island

The national and provincial "SL" polygon numbers are now identical. Minor updates were made to the Soil Layer Table data for specific soils.

New Brunswick

The Component table was extensively updated, to remove duplicate soil components and to review and edit the MODIFIER codes. The Soil Name and Soil Layer Tables have also had minor updates, to meet the additional SLCv3.2 data base checking requirements.

Quebec

The PROVINCE codes in Component, Soil Name and Soil Layer tables have been standardized to PQ. All Quebec soil MODIFIER codes were changed from 3 to 5 character codes. These required corresponding changes in the MODIFIER and SOILKEY fields in the SLCv3.2 Component, Soil Name, Soil Layer and Landform tables. The Component Table was also updated by adding new Quebec soil components for 9 cross border polygons along the New Brunswick border. The layer depths were also revised for 8 soils in the Quebec Soil Layer Table.

Ontario

The Ontario Component, Soil Name and Soil Layer Tables have been updated to meet enhanced SLCv3.2 Quality Control standards. All Component Table soils now have Soil Name Table and Soil Layer Table data, and the Soil Layer Table data has been updated to ensure that non-lithic, mineral soils now have soil attribute data to 100cm depth. The dominant sand (DOMSAND) values have also been reviewed and updated for mineral soils.

Manitoba

The Manitoba Soil Name and Soil Layer tables have been updated to SLCv3.2 quality control standards. The Component Table fields 1 to 9 are unchanged from SLCv3.1.1.

Saskatchewan

The MODIFIER codes have been revised for many Saskatchewan soils. The SLCv3.2 Component, Soil Name, Soil Layer and Landscape Segmentation Tables have been reviewed and edited to incorporate the new codes. A large number of new Saskatchewan soil variants are now incorporated as additional soil records in the SK Soil Name and Soil Layer tables. Most of these soils are of limited extent, and are mapped within the new SK detailed soil map coverage. In addition, a number of minor enhancements have been made to the Saskatchewan Soil Name and Soil Layer tables. The Saskatchewan Component Table was modified for 3 small cross border polygons (743002, 815001, 821005), to reduce the number of soil components and eliminate "round off" errors in the combined national Component Table.

Alberta

The Component table was updated to remove duplicate soil components. Minor enhancements have been made to the Alberta Soil Name and Soil Layer Files to meet SLCv3.2 quality control standards. The Alberta Component Table fields 1 to 9 are unchanged.

British Columbia

The BC Component table was reviewed and updated. The soil components and extents were revised for several polygons and new soil data was created for one additional polygon. The BC Soil Name and Soil Layer tables have also been updated to meet enhanced SLCv3.2 quality control standards. The Layer Table horizon designations were reviewed and updated, and upper and lower depth values of mineral soils with peaty surface layers were revised. All non lithic mineral soil components now have soil attribute data to 100cm depth. The soil MODIFIER codes in the BC Component, Soil Name, Soil Layer and Landscape Segmentation Tables were also updated from 3 to 5 characters. Most soil MODIFIER codes were unchanged, but some soils with multiple soil phase conditions were assigned new 5 character MODIFIER codes.

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Component, Soil Name and Soil Layer tables are not available for SLCv3.2n in these areas.