In 1936–1937 the US Soil Conservation Service conducted a reconnaissance survey of the Dust Bowl, the area of worst wind erosion on the southern Great Plains. Providing farm-level detail and covering twenty-six counties in five states—some twenty-seven million acres or forty-two thousand square miles—this survey represents our best record of land use and soil erosion at the peak of the 1930s crisis. The project generated well-designed and information-rich maps for each county, but their graphic nature and large size has left them virtually unknown to agricultural and environmental historians of the Dust Bowl. The Historical Geographic Information Systems Laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan has now digitized these maps and built an HGIS that will allow analysis of this information for the first time in seventy-five years.

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