Soil data and maps

Fundamental Soil Layers

Also known as the Soil Fundamental Data Layers

John Dando sampling forest soil cores. Image - Craig Ross
How to access

FSL data are available from Landcare Research's LRIS Portal. An FSL map viewer is also accessible from the link on this page.


The whole of mainland New Zealand.


Varies from 1960s to 2000


The sites linked to from this website have their own copyright/licence terms and conditions, and users should familiarise themselves with those terms and conditions.

Note: FSL predates and is being replaced by S-map, which is considered better quality and more reliable data. However, there is not yet national coverage for S-map so some people may still need to refer to the FSL.

The soil fundamental data layers (FDLs) contain spatial information for 16 key attributes. These soil attributes were selected through a consultation process with stakeholders, and fall broadly into three groups: soil fertility/toxicity, soil physical properties (particularly those related to soil moisture), and topography/climate. 

The 16 attributes described are

  • slope
  • potential rooting depth
  • topsoil gravel content
  • proportion of rock outcrop
  • pH
  • salinity
  • cation exchange capacity
  • total carbon
  • phosphorus retention
  • flood interval
  • soil temperature
  • total profile available water
  • profile readily available water
  • drainage
  • macropores (shallow and deep)

The New Zealand Fundamental Soil Layer originates from an expert derived join of attributes measured in the National Soils Database (NSD) and the polygon boundaries of the New Zealand Land Resource Inventory (NZLRI).

While every effort has been made to supply a nationally consistent data set, there may be variations in classification, attribute values, and scale and precision of mapping depending on time and region of soil data collection.