This functionality it now available in the soilDB and sharpshootR packages. All code on this page is now superseded by the fetchOSD() and SoilTaxonomyDendrogram() functions.
I have been thinking about a URL-based interface to basic Official Soil Series Description (OSD) data for a while now… something that when fed a URL, would return CSV-formatted records to the calling process. These type of interfaces can later be used to support more complicated systems, such as our smartphone interface to SoilWeb. URLs can be accessed like files in R, making it possible to do something like this: