The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), developed by USDA scientists, is the world’s most widely used tool for calculating soil erosion rates by water. The equation calculates estimated soil loss rates as a function of rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, the effect of vegetation cover and management, and the steepness and lengths of hill slopes. Geographical Information Systems are used routinely now to conduct analyses and representation of many different types of spatially distributed characteristics of the landscape. The GISus-M is a plug-in module for the most commonly used GIS software, ArcGIS Desktop, which allows the user to apply the USLE across large areas. The tool allows the user to construct the data bases and automatically make the calculations necessary for building the layers, which are the spatial maps of information used in the equation, and then calculating estimated soil erosion rates over the area of interest. It also allows the user to map and visualize results. Information for vegetation cover is generated from readily available remotely sensed satellite data, and factors of slope steepness and length are derived from available topographic information. Soil and rainfall erosivity information may be incorporated from many sources. The tool provides a variety of options for making calculations of input values for the equation, dependent on the environment being assessed. This tool is easy to use and readily available, and would be valuable for a wide variety of applications associated with soil conservation and land management.
The GISus-M is Add-in for ArcGIS Desktop and it was built using an integrated development environment (IDE) and programming in C# with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. To install the system by simply double-clicking add-in file. A requirement to load of GISus-M is that the user has previously obtained the necessary layers to apply the USLE model (Oliveira et al., 2015).