S-map Online is a web site where you can view soil maps and soil information and obtain detailed soil data by viewing and downloading soil fact sheets for specific locations. S-map now covers 37.1% of NZ, including 67.7% of “multiple use land”.

This short guide will introduce you to the core features of this site including how to navigate and explore the maps, how to query and view soil data, how to use 'Search by soil name', how to compare and match information from your own soil profile observations with information from S-map and other useful features.

Be aware that some features are unavailable when S-map Online is used on tablets or mobile phones. Also the Reporting feature does not work in Internet Explorer 11.

The Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ) contains answers to specific questions about the website.

In a hurry? Get a feel for the main features of S-map Online mapping application by using our simple step-by-step tour. It will guide you round some of the most important aspects of that tool.

The rest of this page contains an overview of how to get started with the features of the site. 



To use the features of the S-map Online fully you must first register. Registering is quick and easy, and completely free (for non-commercial use). To register, click here.


The Mapping application

What it is

The S-map mapping tool allows you to view soil maps for locations within New Zealand, and to place pins or polygons on a New Zealand base map to retrieve soil information relating to a variety of soil properties at that location. This information can be saved, shared and reused. The mapping tool's primary map layers are soil properties or classes, i.e. delineated areas that are labelled with the soil family name. Each soil family is defined as a unique combination of attributes (NZSC classification, parent material, rock type, dominant texture and permeability class).

What it can tell you

Using S-map Online you can

  • explore interactive soil maps of soil properties such as soil drainage and available water
  • learn about the soil in your backyard or paddock
  • view detailed information about a soil class or attribute
  • for specific locations, view and download soil factsheets that provide more detailed knowledge of soil properties and information relevant to a variety of potential uses
  • generate a report of the areas of key soil properties within a land parcel or other boundary
  • create custom PDF soil maps for printing
  • use your soil observations  to identify S-map siblings that are a close match.

How you use it

The maps are interactive so you can navigate the map and easily explore its content. You can find your area of interest by searching by location, address or coordinates or just navigate to a location using the zoom and pan features. You can place pins on the map, draw polygons or select land parcels to define an area you are interested in obtaining soil information for. 

An introduction to the mapping tool can be accessed here, and a more detailed walk-through of the features of the mapping tool is available.


Browsing soil factsheets

What it is

Factsheets, or soil reports, contain information about the key properties of a particular soil along with interpreted information derived from a suite of models that classify various environmental risks.

What it can tell you

A soil factsheet can describe the typical average properties of a specified soil type found in a region.

How you can use it

If you know the name of a soil, select the region you are interested in then type in the soil name or part of the name into the search box and click the Search button.

Clicking the Search button with no text in the search box results in a list of all soils currently in S-map in that region. A soil symbol (a short code that was used in local soil surveys) can also be entered into the search box.

From the resulting list of matching soils, click on the factsheet link in the Reports column to view/download the factsheet (PDF). Depending on how your computer and browser are set up, you will either be able to view the PDF file directly or save it on to your computer. 

You can also download a sibling correlation table for all the siblings in the current list.


Soil sibling finder

What it is

A soil sibling is a S-map soil type. This is the most detailed level of soil classification in NZ. The Sibling Finder allows you to enter a range of soil properties that you can easily observe. By using a series of filters the Sibling Finder provides you with a suggested range of soil siblings that match those properties.

What it can tell you

You can compare and match information from your soil profile observations with information from S-map soil siblings to help you more accurately identify the most relevant soil sibling for your paddock.

How you use it

You can search for your area of interest using the map tool on the left side of the Sibling Finder screen starting in the “Location” tab and choosing either to display all siblings in S-map by the extent of the map window or by drawing a polygon within the window: your suggested soil siblings are displayed in the right side of the screen. You can also click on the “Property” tab and (further) constrain your search by rainfall, soil order, sibling depth, texture, soil drainage, topsoil stoniness or pan/rock layer. You can also compare up to any five of the results of your search by checking the box on the right of each soil sibling and clicking the “compare” button. Finally, by clicking on the download fact sheet icon to the right of the sibling names you can download the related soil sibling factsheet.

Note that Sibling Finder is not designed to be used on Smart Phones.


Last updated: 25 August 2020