TopicsTopics

Stay Connected

Follow ERS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS feeds
Subscribe to ERS e-Newsletters.aspx
Listen to ERS podcasts
Read ERS blogs at USDA

ERS GIS Map Services and API User Guide

All of the ERS mapping applications, such as the Food Environment Atlas and the Food Access Research Atlas, use map services developed and hosted by ERS as the source for their map content. These map services are open and freely available for use outside of the ERS map applications. Developers can include ERS maps in applications through the use of the map service REST API, and desktop GIS users can use the maps by connecting to the map server directly. 

General Map Service Documentation

Over 30 ERS map services have been created, each containing anywhere from 4 to 70 map layers. The majority of the services consist of national maps displaying data at the county-level. The Food Access Research Atlas service is Census-tract based. A good way to discover and browse the available services and maps is to use the ERS map applications themselves. The Food Environment Atlas, The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America, The Farm Program Atlas, and the SNAP Data System all use a similar data organization scheme of “Categories” and “Maps.” Each category in the application corresponds to a map service; each map is a layer in that map service. The Food Access Research Atlas is the exception to this scheme as it uses only a single ERS map service, plus an ESRI-hosted background map.

The ARC GIS REST Services Directory lists all available map services. 

Summary of ERS map services and where they are used:

Map service

Description, type of content

Where used

background_cache  
background

Generic landmass/waterbody used for map backgrounds

All ERS map atlases except the Food Access Research Atlas

fa_access

fa_assistance

fa_health

fa_insecurity

fa_local

fa_prices_taxes

fa_restaurants

fa_socioeconomic

fa_stores

Access and proximity to grocery stores

Food and nutrition assistance

Health and physical activity

Food insecurity

Local foods

Food prices and taxes

Restaurant availability and expenditures

Socioeconomic characteristics

Grocery store availability

The Food Environment Atlas

 

 

Foodaccess

 

Food access measures used in the Food Access Research Atlas

The Food Access Research Atlas

fsn_acre

fsn_ci

fsn_crp

fsn_crssprg

fsn_dcp

fsn_milc

fsn_mlb

fsn_sure

Average Crop Revenue Election Program

Crop Insurance Program

Conservation Reserve Program

Cross program comparisons

Direct and Countercyclical Program

Milk Income Loss Contract

Marketing Assistance Loan Program

Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program

The Farm Program Atlas

ra_cntyclass

ra_filter

ra_income

ra_jobs

ra_people

ra_veterans

ra_query

County classifications

Used to mask metro/nonmetro counties

Income

Jobs

People

 

All Rural Atlas map variables

Atlas of Rural and Small Town America

snap_benefits

snap_participation_poverty

snap_participation

SNAP benefits

SNAP participation per person in poverty

SNAP participation

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Data System

Reference2

referenceWM

State and county boundaries and labels

Web Mercator version

All ERS map atlases

NASS 2012 Ag Census Map Services

In partnership with NASS, ERS developed the 2012 Ag Census Maps application, and is also hosting the map services for that application.   Documentation for those map services is here.

Desktop User Instructions

To use the ERS map services in a desktop application, such as ArcMap or ArcGIS Online:

  • Browse the service description and REST directory to determine which services and maps meet your needs, and
  • Follow the instructions here to add the maps to your document. Use ‘gis.ers.usda.gov’ as the server specification.

Developer API Instructions

The services can be accessed through ArcGIS Server REST API. JSON and SOAP interfaces are also available. See the detailed documentation, including general usage instructions, service properties, and methods.

Last updated: Friday, September 26, 2014

For more information contact: David Nulph

Share or Save this Page