Select Soil Map Unit

Select Soil Series


New (August 2023) version of SoilFinder now available

With funding from Scottish Government through the Strategic Research Programme we have produced a new version of SoilFinder. The new version is available here.

This site uses a map and a series of menus to give you access to soil information from the Scottish soils archive which is hosted by and belongs to The James Hutton Institute. Please note that this tool has data only for Scotland.

Start the process by using the map on the right. After a few seconds the 1:250,000 soils polygons will be displayed, zoom in further and the map unit number will be displayed. Navigate by panning and zooming to your location. You can enter place name, postcode, coordinate or zoom and pan around the map. Once you have centred the map with your location of interest under the ‘+’ in the middle of the map click on the button below the map to find the soil unit at the location. You can also click on the polygons to see a selection of attributes displayed.

When SoilFinder has identified the soil map unit it will display a menu with the soil types that make up the map unit. The soil types are named after the area where they were first found, thus Forfar soils were first mapped around Forfar.

In the results section (below), you will see a brief description of the different soils found in that area to allow you to select the one that most closely matches your own sample. You are then able to select a range of soil properties for that specific soil type and choose whether to display results for cultivated or semi-natural soils.

If your soil sample has a value for a specific soil property that lies within the box surrounding the red dot (which is the median value), then your soil has a value in the same range as 66% percent of all those particular soil types. If it is outwith the box but lies along the line then it is close to the maximum (above the box) or minimum (below the box) values recorded in our database.

For properties such as pH, carbon content, loss on ignition and calcium content which all affect plant growth, it is important to try to maintain these at optimum levels. If your sample is below the box on the graph, particularly for topsoils (Ap horizons) then you may need to think about adding lime or organic matter to you soil.

You can restart the process by selecting from any menu or by reloading the page.

Identify Location
Enter your postcode/place or latitude/longitude or National Grid or just use the mouse.


The James Hutton Institute