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Viewing map layers and getting more information
View map layers
Click on the 'Contents' menu to the left of the screen to open the table of contents. To switch on a map layer select the 'radio' button to the right of the table of contents. Only one map layer can be viewed at a time. Click the Legend tab in the contents view to access the map layer legend info.

Map transparency
Change the transparency of individual map layers using the transparency tool - located on the right side of the screen.

Identify features
Currently only a limited number of map layers can be identified to return extra information. These include Click directly on the map layer to show each layer's attribute data.

Search
Search using postcode, place or National Grid reference. Results of searches for placenames and postcodes are displayed in the Search results info box - just select from the list of options that best match your search criteria.

Basemaps
Users can view the map using 2 basemap options - a Standard map provided by Ordnance Survey and aerial basemap available at a limited scale from 1:50000.

Send your queries and feedback
If you have further queries or want to provide feedback about the Scotland's Soils map application please use the submit option below:

Identify Results

National soil map of Scotland


This shows the distribution of the main soil types across the whole of Scotland. It was originally mapped at the 1: 250 000 scale.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Soil map of Scotland (partial cover)


This covers most of Scotland’s cultivated agricultural soils and adjacent uplands. It was originally mapped at the 1: 25 000 scale and shows more detail than the National soil map of Scotland.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

World Reference Base soil map


World Reference Base soil map uses an international soil classification based on soil characteristics, properties and horizons (layers).

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

National scale land capability for forestry


The national scale land capability for forestry map provides information on how well a piece of land could grow trees based on a number of factors including soil, climate and topography.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

National scale land capability for agriculture


The national scale land capability for agriculture map provides information on the types of crops that may be grown in different areas dependent on environmental and soil characteristics.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Land capability for agriculture (partial cover)


The land capability map for agriculture (partial cover) provides information at a greater resolution than the national map on the types of crops that may be grown in different areas dependent on the environmental and soil characteristics.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Map of topsoil organic carbon concentration


Shows the soil carbon concentration in the surface layer of soil.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Map of available water capacity


Available water capacity is the amount water a soil can provide for plants and so is a useful indicator of the ability of soils to grow crops.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Map of soil texture in nitrate vulnerable zones


Soil texture in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones provides information to help understand what management practices can be performed, and when, within Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs).

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Carbon and peatland 2016 map


Shows the distribution of carbon and peatland classes across the whole of Scotland. It gives a value to indicate the likely presence of carbon-rich soils, deep peat and priority peatland habitat for each individually-mapped area, at a coarse scale.

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© SNH available under an Open Government Licence.

The Carbon and Peatland 2016 map is based on soil and land cover map data produced by the James Hutton Institute. Used with the permission of The James Hutton Institute. All rights reserved.

National Soils Inventory of Scotland (NSIS 1978-88)


Shows the sampling locations of the National Soil Inventory of Scotland, classified by the soil type found at each location.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Parent material


Shows the soil parent material found at each National Soil Inventory of Scotland sampling location. This is the material that the soil was made from.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Topsoil lead concentration


Shows the location of each National Soil Inventory of Scotland sampling point. The colour of the symbol relates to the lead concentration of the topsoil found at that point (in parts per million of air-dried soil).

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Topsoil zinc concentration


Shows the location of each National Soil Inventory of Scotland sampling point. The colour of the symbol relates to the zinc concentration of the topsoil found at that point (in parts per million of air-dried soil).

There is currently no metadata available for this map layer

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Peatland ACTION - Peat depth


Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has prepared a consolidated spatial dataset of peat depth measurement collected across Scotland. The information was collected during peat depth surveys conducted as part of various assessments carried out on sites that formed part of the Peatland ACTION project (2012-2017).

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© SNH available under an Open Government Licence

Soil phosphorus sorption capacity


This map shows the inherent ability of soil to retain phosphorus (P) - the P sorption capacity (PSC). The classification is based on properties of the soil which relate to the soil association to which it belongs.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Subsoil compaction risk


The map shows the vulnerability of subsoils to compaction by traffic. It covers most of Scotland’s cultivated agricultural land area. The subsoil compaction risk gives information on the likelihood of the subsoil becoming compacted due to heavy machinery in four classes (Extremely vulnerable, Very vulnerable, Moderately vulnerable or Not particularly vulnerable) based on the soil texture and the amount of water left in the soil after any excess has drained away (known as field capacity).

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Topsoil compaction risk


The map shows the risk of the topsoil becoming compacted due to the passage of machinery. This map primarily covers the cultivated land in Scotland and provides information on the risk of topsoil compaction.The topsoil compaction risk gives information of the likelihood of the topsoil becoming compacted in 3 classes: High, Moderate or Low. The risk is based on the natural drainage class of the soil and the soil texture.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Soil erosion risk


The map shows the risk of a bare soil being eroded by water under intense or prolonged rainfall and primarily covers the cultivated land in Scotland. Soils with mineral topsoils have been classified separately from those with organic (peaty) surface layers. The risk of soil erosion is shown in 3 main classes for soils with mineral topsoils; High, Moderate or Low. The risk of erosion is greatest on coarse textured soils with a low water adsorption capacity on steep slopes. Please note that as this layer has been produced using raster slope data the map has a "blocky" appearance.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Soil leaching potential


The map shows the risk of potential pollutants and nutrients leaching through the soil to ground and surface waters. This map primarily covers the cultivated land in Scotland. The soil leaching potential gives information on the likelihood of a potential pollutant that is applied to the soil surface infiltrating the soil and leaching to a water course or ground water in three main categories (High, Intermediate and Low) with the High class being subdivided into 3 classes while the intermediate class is subdivided into 2 classes.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

Soil runoff risk


The map shows the risk of water flowing overland (runoff) carrying potential pollutants into water courses. This map primarily covers the cultivated land in Scotland. The digital dataset gives information on the likelihood of a potential pollutant applied to the soil surface running off the land to a water course in 3 classes: High, Moderate or Low and is based on fundamental soil characteristics such as depth to a slowly permeable layer, soil porosity and flow pathways through the soil.

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© Copyright James Hutton Institute.

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Map contents

National soil map of Scotland
Soil map of Scotland (partial cover)
World Reference Base soil map

National scale land capability for forestry
National scale land capability for agriculture
Land capability for agriculture (partial cover)

Map of topsoil organic carbon concentration
Map of available water capacity
Map of soil texture in nitrate vulnerable zones
Carbon and peatland 2016 map
Soil phosphorus sorption capacity

National Soils Inventory of Scotland (NSIS 1978-88)
Parent material
Topsoil lead concentration
Topsoil zinc concentration
Peatland ACTION - Peat depth

Subsoil compaction risk
Topsoil compaction risk
Soil erosion risk
Soil leaching potential
Soil runoff risk
Basemaps Transparency