[permaculture] Using Google Earth to zone your farm - Almost a farmer | Web Soil Survey (USA) - Almost a farmer

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Sat Jan 3 04:52:41 EST 2015

Using Google Earth to zone your farm - Almost a farmerAlmost a farmer
Using Google Earth to zone your farm
Posted on September 5, 2014
<http://www.almostafarmer.com/using-google-earth-to-zone-your-farm/> by Gaz
*Using Google Earth to zone your farm is a great planning tool.*

Google Earth is a wonderful tool for planning your farm permaculture
zones.  Its simple to use, yet powerful interface, can be mastered in a few
steps and provide you with a map you can print or share online.
*To start ….*

Permaculture zones (0-5) are a great way to divide your farm up into “use”
zones.    If you are not familiar with the zones, you can find my take on
them here <http://www.almostafarmer.com/using-permaculture-zones/>.

Google Earth is a free mapping tool that you can download for your computer
or mobile device from here <https://www.google.com/earth/explore/products/>.
*Using Google Earth to zone your farm – the steps!*

Step 1. Finding your farm
Open Google Earth.  In the search box in the upper left hand corner, type
in the address of your farm….then click search and watch it zoom in!
Google Earth will place a red pin
<http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/p_10151_10104_021V004971523000P> and display
the address of your search on the image.  You can zoom in and out and
change the orientation using the zoom bar tools on the right hand side of
the image.   To remove the red pin
<http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/p_10151_10104_021V004971523000P> (which I find
annoying) and address you just click the blue X under the search results
box on the left hand side.  For now, zoom to a level so you can see the
entire outline of your farm in the image.

Search your farm address

Step 2. Adding the farm boundaries.
Google Earth has a tool bar that sits at the very top of the image.  You
can hover over each of the tools and it will tell you what they are.  Find
the *Add a polygon* tool and click on it.  A box appears in which you
describe what feature you are adding.  In this case type ‘Farm Boundaries”
in where it says *Name* (you may be over typing the words ‘untitled
polygon’).  Click the box called *Style,Colo*r.  This is where you can
change the color of your lines.  If you click the color box it will bring
up a pallet that allows you to select the line color
 You can also change the line thickness etc.  You can come back and make
changes later – so don’t worry if you don’t get it right at first.  I like
to use yellow as my boundary lines as it shows up well against the image
for my area.  In other drier and sandy areas, red is a better selection.
Change the *Area* box so it says just ‘Outlined”.

Setting the polygon name, color and outline

When you are ready to draw the farm boundary lines don’t click ok on the
box!   Drag this box away from your farm image
to the side so you can see the entire outline of your farm.   Click on any
corner of your farm boundary on the image.  A small blue box will mark
where you have clicked.   Move to the next corner of your farm and click.
A line will now appear between those two points.  Click the next corner and
so on until your boundaries are complete.

Boundaries now complete. I used yellow and changed the line thickness to 2.

When you are finished, you can change the color and thickness of the
lines.  When you are happy with your boundaries, then click OK on the box
in the bottom right corner.

The boundaries you just added is a data layer that is now added to your
image and you can see it in the *Places* box on the left hand side
navigation.  You can turn it on and off by clicking the little box next to
its name.  If you right click on the name you have some more options.   *Get
Info* brings back the box so you can change the name, color etc.  If you
want to do it again, you can delete the old one here too.

Step 3. Adding a zone.
To add a ‘zone’ is almost the same as adding the boundaries.  The
difference is you want a shape rather than a series of lines.  It is still
a polygon (so we use the same tool), but we set it up to be filled with a

So select the *Add a polygon* tool again.  This time change the name to the
zone you are adding like “Zone 5″.  You could also use your own zone names
or descriptions.  Select the *Style/Color
button and change the color of the lines AND the color of the area.  I use
a different color for each area.  Make sure the *Area* option is set for
“Filled+Outlined” and set the *Opacity* to 50%.  That will allow the zone
to have a color, but you can still see through it and see features on the image
underneath <http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM10723874213>.

Zone 4 (purple) and Zone O (orange) on my farm image

Just like before, drag the box to the side then outline the shape of the
zone you want to add.  If you have a zone that is spilt  – that is two or
more areas that are separate but you want them in the same zone, you can
set treat them as separate and just label them Zone 1 (A) and Zone 1 (B)
etc and use the same colors and fills.

You will end up with a list of zones for your farm on the left-hand side
navigation under the *Places* category – like this:

Zones listed under Places
*Using Google Earth to zone your farm – the final product.*

Your final farm plan using the zones with Google Earth may look like this:

Final farm zone map

You can keep this in your Google Earth program and can turn on and off the
zones just by clicking on the little ticks next to the Zones.

A few zones turned off!

Once you are happy with your map, you can print it off, email it of save it
as an image using the tools at the top of the image.

The super thing about this tool is that you can add more information as you
go.  You can add detailed descriptions in the Zone boxes as well as small
images that you have uploaded to the web.    You can even create an
interactive tour video of your farm….but now we are talking fun rather than
planning [image: :)]

I hope this has been a useful tutorial for using Google Earth to zone your
farm using permaculture zones.


Web Soil Survey (USA) – Steps to use this soil tool!

The *Web Soil Survey* is a fantastic tool to get information on the types
of soil you have on your farm…and is especially helpful if you are looking
to purchase a property to see what you might expect to find in the ‘soil

The *Web Soil Survey* is a tool developed by the National Cooperative Soil
Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS).   The Web Soil Survey currently provides soil data for around 95%
of the USA and they hope to get 100% of the country shortly.

How to use the Web Soil Survey

*Step one* – open up the Web Soil Survey (click here)

*Step two* – use the tools to navigate to your farm.  When you first open
the Web Soil Survey it will show you a map of the USA.   The easiest way to
zoom into your farm is to use the Address function…..click on address and
then type in your farm address (number street, town, state).   It will then
zoom the map into your place.

If it does not find your place, you can always click on the “+” tool and
use your mouse (button down) to draw a box on the map around roughly where
you live.  When you lift the mouse button the map will zoom into your
selection.  Keep doing this till you have your place filling the screen.

Experiment with the other tools – you won’t break it!

*Step three* – this is the part that confuses most people.   The rest of
the functions requires you to choose an AREA OF INTEREST..or an AOI.  This
is a box or a shape that defines the boundaries of your farm.    You can
pick any area you want…I use a box drawn larger than my farm so I get a
feel for how the soils change around me.

To select an AOI in the Web Soil Survey you have to click on the tool bar
for the AOL tool. There is two of them – a red rectangle and a red
triangle.  One allows you to draw a box around the area you want to
examine, the other a more complex shape.

Once you draw the box the Web Soil Survey takes a minute to load the
coordinates into its system and then shows the area on your screen with a
box like this:

Now the power of the Web Soil Survey is in your hands!

*Step four *- Click on the Soil Map tab on the top navigation of the Web
Soil Survey.

This will replace the AOI box with a map of the soils.  The soil codes
appear on the map and the corresponding soil types in the legend on the
left hand side.

If you click on the soil types in the legend, you get a fantastic summary
of what that soil is like.

*Step five *- The final nice feature is that you can create a printable map
of the soils on your farm.  Click on the “Shopping Cart Free” tab.  You can
make loads of choices of what you want the map to display when you print it.

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