The ACPF is intended for intermediate to advanced GIS users who are familiar with Esri’s ArcGIS platform. Users should be comfortable with geodatabase naming and storage, editing procedures, geoprocessing tools, multiple data formats, and basic spatial troubleshooting. In addition, anticipate roughly two days of practice and training to become an effective user. Find ACPF training and support resources.
To use ACPF, you’ll need ArcGIS and TauDEM software, the ACPF toolbox, soils and land use data, and elevation data.
TauDEM is a suite of tools for the extraction and analysis of hydrologic information from topography. The ACPF is compatible with TauDEM 5.3.7. To run ACPF, TauDEM 5.3 Complete Windows Installer is also needed.
The GIS toolbox analyzes high-resolution land use, soil and terrain data and generates output maps that identity a menu of possible locations for a variety of conservation practices within fields, below fields and riparian zones. Included in the toolbox are practice placement tools that can be tailored to the setting of your individual watershed. Save the download zip file to a local file location on your computer and read the “installation instructions” text file that is included.
The various toolsets allow users to:
SOILS AND LAND USE DATA
The USDA provides soil and land use data through the ACPF Watershed Database.
The database include:
- Agricultural field boundaries
- Land use and field-specific crop rotations, based on the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Cropland Data Layer
- Soils data extracted from the NRCS gSSURGO soils database
Interested in ACPF but don’t have soil and land use data for your area? Using the ACPF Utilities Suite you can create your own ACPF database complete with watershed boundaries, field boundaries, elevation, soils and land use data and run the ACPF tools anywhere in the conterminous United States.
To create your own geodatabase, watch Lecture 29 in the ACPF training videos or check out our newly developed Story Map. Both resources take you step by step through using the ACPF Utilities Suite within ACPF Version 3 to create your own ACPF geodatabase.
A key data requirement for many of the ArcGIS tools is a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM), typically derived from light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensor surveys. The horizontal map unit of the DEM must be in meters, although any horizontal or vertical resolution is accepted. A horizontal resolution of 2 or 3 meters has been found to be effective, as higher resolution does not improve output quality and substantially increases processing time. The ACPF toolbox also requires that all input layers be in the same projection. The ACPF database is maintained in a Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection, with UTM zones being determined by the centroid location of the watershed boundary of each HUC12. The DEM should extend beyond the watershed boundary enough (e.g. 1,000 meters) to ensure coverage of all fields that may lie only partly within the watershed.
DEM data for many states is available through state agencies or universities. For example, Iowa DEM data is available through the Iowa State University GIS Facility and Minnesota DEM data is available through the Minnesota DNR.
Not sure where to find your state’s DEM data? Ask the ACPF Forum. The ACPF Forum is a Google Group of ACPF users from around the region where you can share results, ask questions, and report issues. This is also a great way to find out about ACPF updates. You can also find out about ACPF updates through the ACPF mailing list where we email out the latest ACPF news and events. Subscribe to our mailing list.