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Digitization and Geo-referencing of Village-wise Soil Maps in GIS Environment


Considering the pitiable  conditions of these maps, SSST wing of Agriculture Department has decided to utilize the advanced techniques of remote sensing and  GIS to preserve this database by bringing them on to a common platform and also by updating with a schema of standardized legend. The work of digitization and geo-referencing is, therefore, entrusted to Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre, Nagpur. Project is conceived with following objectives:

  • Scanning of existing village wise soil maps
  • Digitization / vectorisation of soil boundaries in GIS environment
  • Geo-referencing of digitized soil boundaries with the help of already available cadastral map with MRSAC
  • Addition of point information like profile location, well location, survey stone, slope direction etc., in the final map
  • Standardization of legend for soil survey information and its depiction on final map in local language (marathi)
  • Consolidation / bifurcation of bigger villages which are spread in number of sheets into a single village wise  soil map
  • Bringing all the maps in a common scale for updating, printing and reprography.
  • Final deliverable are to be given in DVDs and hard copy prints with land capability boundaries in universally accepted colour codes
  • Safeguarding and increase in overall utilization of the maps

Soil Survey and Soil Testing (SSST) wing of Department of Agriculture (DoA), Government of Maharashtra has the mandate of conducting soil survey, mapping, and classification of soil survey information into different soil series and its association along with Land Capability Classification at village level. Department is engaged in these activities since 1966, conducting soil surveys in non-command areas only. Cadastral maps have been used as a base to carry out the soil survey by experts from the SSST, DoA. Till date SSST has completed soil survey activities in about 26,000 villages in different districts of Maharashtra. Scale of these mapping varies from 1:5000 to 1:10,000 depending upon the availability of cadastral maps with Land Record Department. Final soil survey and land capability maps are produced on various medias ranging from paper copies, ammonia prints, tracing sheets and cloth mounted papers. Though this wealth of information is available with the department, their storage, handling and utilization remain a challenging task. Due to non availability of uniform coding system, scale and standard legend user often faces problems and is unable to utilise the maps as required. Damage during storage and handling of these valuable information is always a key concern for the DoA. Soil Survey and Soil testing Department is facing following problems in utilization of village wise soil survey maps because:                                                                         

  • Storage and retrieval of maps are difficult, as they are not properly indexed.
  •  Being on hard copies, maps are very difficult to multiply and  provide to user as and when required.
  • Maps are cumbersome to use for village level implementation as scales vary from  village to village and terrain to terrain
  • Maps are prone to damage during the storage as they are kept in unsecured condition, and are re- produced on vulnerable medias
  • As maps are not geo-referenced to a common projection system, cartographic and content matching with adjacent village has not been carried out.
  • Soil unit wise information extraction is cumbersome and time consuming
  • Maps can not be overlaid on other resources information due to non-availability of real world projection
  • Integration of present soil information with different natural resources and demographic themes are not possible
  • Updation and modification in the existing maps are difficult

Conventional inputs used for the project:

For this project conventional inputs like cadastral maps, village wise soil maps prepared by SSST, DoA, Government of Maharashtra and  geo-referenced village maps prepared under Geo-referencing of Village Map project (GVMP) at MRSAC are used.

Satellite Data:

Presently satellite data is not used for this project, as already geo-referenced maps available with MRSAC, prepared using PAN data, are utilized. In advanced phase of this project, It is proposed to use high resolution satellite data for updation of soil boundaries, for cartographic and soil content mosaicing with adjacent villages, so as to prepare a seamless soil cover of the State.


Methodology involves procurement of village wise soil maps from the DoA and checking them from scanning point of view. These maps are then scanned using A0 size scanner and are indexed as per the census 2001 village code. Soil boundaries are digitized and are transformed on already geo-referenced village maps available with MRSAC. Point information, profile details and legends are attached as an attribute to the geo-referenced soil covers. Updated parcel boundaries and parcel numbers after 'ekatrikaran' program of land record department,  available in cadastral maps are used. These final geo-referenced soil maps are printed on a common scale of 1:5000, having land capability classification boundaries in  universally accepted colour code standards.


Maharashtra being a large and prosperous state with rich tradition of innovative agricultural systems, the database of such magnitude is of paramount importance.  Soil survey and soil testing wing in particular, and other divisions of  agriculture department, in general have a direct and key relevance to the database generated under this project. Watershed based developmental activities, reclamation of salt affected soils, wasteland development, land degradation studies, horticulture development activities need soil information at cadastral level. The geo-referenced data generated in this project has following advantages:

  • Seamless soil information at  watershed, tahsil & district level can be utilized for on-going developmental projects
  • Soil Information System for Maharashtra state can be developed
  • Multi-theme integration for planning, implementation & monitoring along with
  • attribute information like socio-economic parameters & other census details can be obtained.
  • Generation of application specific soil derivative maps like depth, erosion, land capability, land irrigability etc.
  • Preparation of problems & potentials inventory of soils of Maharashtra
  • Extraction of village / parcel wise area of desired soil units
  • GIS data being compatible with Remote Sensing Data can be easily updated and modified
Quantum of work: 
Project Photographs: 
Old Geo Referenced Soil Map
New Geo Referenced Soil Map