Urban, as well as rural planning, are necessarily influenced by certain soil properties such as drainage, permeability, type of parent material, soil texture, and depth to bed rock, water table, or an indurated horizon. These properties affect both sanitary measures and development costs. Information concerning soil characteristics of an area is contained in, or can be interpreted from, a soil survey map and report.
The Fairfax County (Virginia) soil survey is being made largely because of requests from the Fairfax County Planning Commission, a commercial planning firm, and a real estate agent. Local funds are made available to the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station to defray a part of the costs. The Planning Commission and the commercial planning firm consider soil survey information vital for preparing an overall or master plan for Fairfax County. They feel that it is especially useful in zoning, planning septic tank sewage disposal systems, and agricultural planning, and that the same information is also useful in planning highways, recreational areas, and in arriving at equitable tax adjustments. If this survey meets their expectations in helping them answer questions related to rural and urban planning, it may lead to increased future demands for soil surveys.
It is desirable that persons trained in soil classification, management, and interpretation assist the various users of soil surveys. This assistance can be provided by personal consultation and carefully prepared descriptive legends and reports to accompany the map. The reports should include examples of how soils can be grouped for special purposes.
The expanding use of soil surveys presents a challenge to the soil scientist. It emphasizes the need for adequate classification of soils, closer field observations, improved field techniques, basic research, and careful interpretation of data.