Google Earth and Web Soil Survey
Google Earth Pro is free software that allows the user to visualize specific locations any place on
earth. Google Earth Pro (GEP) is available free to download from this web URL https://www.google.com/earth/download/gep/agree.html
Woodland owners can obtain useful data from GEP. GEP allows the user to draw property boundaries, locate positions of trails, log landings, buildings, and more. Stand boundaries can be drawn, and the acreage determined.
It is also possible to integrate GEP and Web Soil Survey (WSS). WSS accesses the NRCS database of soils for the entire United States. WSS will display maps of soil boundaries and provide information about how specific soils impact forestry operations and tree growth. Web Soil Survey is available here http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov
When WSS is integrated into GEP, the soil boundaries are available, but the detailsof forest soils data for forestry operations are not available. The integration allows for easier visualization of patterns on the ground, but details of soils require returning to the WSS website.
Steve Gabriel of Cornell’s Small Farm Program has developed several online videos that illustrate how to use several features of GEP. Descriptions and links follow. The first two videos illustrate how to use GEP. The third video illustrates how to import WSS into GEP; the fourth link provides the link for the data that GEP needs to import WSS.
Peter Smallidge developed a video on how to use WSS to find the site index of a soil. Site index is a measure of soil quality that reports the expected height of a tree at a given age for a particular soil. In the Northeast, the base age of 50 years is used to compare expected heights. The video on forest soils, and forest site index is here https://youtu.be/z4zL8Yf7wZQ
Support provided by Cornell University and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.