Canterbury Soil Information

Limited set of S-map soil data layers for the Canterbury Region. Copyright Landcare Research.

Created by: canterburymaps
Last updated: Tuesday, July 25, 2017



The map service includes a set of S-map soil attributes for the Canterbury region.

Each polygon is described according to the dominant soil depth, texture and drainage class, along with the dominant soil family name label. In addition to these core properties, S-map estimates of the profile available water are provided as polygon averages. Maps ranking the soil's ability to filter, retain and transmit water and pollutants are also included.

Environment Canterbury has been actively investing towards the expansion of S-map coverage in the region. While most of the flat, irrigable land has now been included, large areas of the region are yet to be covered.

Soil information from the Fundamental Soil Layers - a much coarser, but nationally complete dataset - is shown for the areas where S-map data is currently unavailable.


S-map is a digital spatial information system for New Zealand soils. It is run by Landcare Research. Its aim is to provide a comprehensive and a consistent set of national soil data layers.

Soils are grouped according to the similarity of properties easily and reproducibly measured in the field. In S-map, the principal classes used for delineating soils are known as soil families and soil siblings. Sitting below the New Zealand Soil Classification hierarchy, both of these categories serve to more precisely describe the physical attributes of the soil profile.

Soil families include siblings that have a similar lithological composition. The soil family names distinguish soils based on the nature of material found in the top 100 cm, the parent rock type, the main textural class, and the permeability of the slowest horizon. Soil siblings further refine the physical properties common to families, and describe the depth to rock, stoniness, drainage, and texture.

The fundamental S-map soil attributes captured for each unique profile are depth (diggability), depth to slowly permeable layer, rooting depth, rooting barrier, and horizon thickness, stoniness, clay and sand content for each functional horizon.

Through models, the base soil properties, along with other data, can be used to predict more complex soil and land characteristics, such as the profile available water.

S-map is designed for use at the 1:50,000 scale except in some areas where more detailed mapping is available.

Map Content

A small set of fundamental and derived S-map attributes is displayed for the Canterbury region. For detailed information on each soil, refer to the soil sibling factsheets, freely available from S-map Online.

Core S-map attributes

The make-up of the soils expected within each map unit, or polygon

Dominant soil depth

Dominant soil texture

Dominant soil drainage

Derived S-map attributes

Profile available water (PAW) weighted averages

Environment Canterbury soil type

Soil vulnerability maps

Fundamental Soil Layer

The much coarser, Fundamental Soil Layers data is shown for areas currently outside S-map coverage. Properties provided include soil type, particle size, drainage, potential rooting depth, and profile available water.

Map Credits

Landcare Research

Access and Use Constraints

Access to this map service is provided to help Environment Canterbury's customers.

The license for this map service is under the terms of theĀ Landcare Data Use Licence.

Map Contents

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