Soil data and maps

National Soils Database

New Zealand's largest site information database

Upukeroa, Manapouri. Image - Sam Carrick
How to access

NSDR Data Viewer


Mainland New Zealand.


Site records go back to the late 1950s.


The NSD data available through the National Soils Database Data Viewer are ©Landcare Research New Zealand Limited 2015 CC BY-ND 4.0.

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.


The National Soils Database is a crucial part of our soil data legacy in New Zealand. While our legacy of soil maps and reports and the new information products delivered in S-map Online and the LRIS Portal are the most visible manifestations of our national soil dataset, the NSD sits in the background, a less visible but a crucial foundation underpinning all other datasets.

It comprises the profile data collected in soil pits scattered throughout New Zealand that are the record of almost all we know of the soil chemistry and soil physical properties of our soils. From it we have derived our soil classifications, interpretations of our soil maps, land management models, and our understanding of how soil properties vary with geology, rainfall, vegetation, topography, and land management across the major gradients of the New Zealand landscape. It is the fundamental dataset that underpins our soil knowledge of New Zealand.

The 'legacy' system: NSD

The National Soils Database (NSD) is a 'point' database containing descriptions of about 1,500 New Zealand soil profiles, together with analytical data on their chemical, physical, and mineralogical characteristics. The information is obtained from physically sampling and observing the soil on site.

The National Soils Database (NSD) is a crucial part of our legacy soil data in New Zealand. The first database was created in the 1980s and contained records back to the 1950s.

The NSD is available through the National Soils Database Viewer or by contacting the NSDR team (see bottom of this page).

Using the National Soils Database Viewer you can search for sites using either a Site ID number, by New Zealand Soil Classification, e.g. soil order, by land use, by date, and by location. Site reports comprise locality and landform data, soil classification, soil profile morphology, and a subset of soil chemical and particle size analysis.

The new system: NSDR

With a renewed focus on the importance of soils information and associated funding successes, Manaaki Whenua is now building a next generation, world-class soils observation data system.

The resulting National Soils Data Repository (NSDR) is a versatile soil observation database that now hosts the original NSD, plus a growing number of 'legacy' and more recent soil datasets. The total number of soil sites covered across New Zealand and the Pacific currently stands at 18,000 sites (August 2019).

More information

Read more on The 'traditional' NSD dataset or The new NSDR system.

Contact details

Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, Lincoln & Palmerston North

P +64 6 353 4914
Email NSDR