• History of soil geography in the context of scale

    Categories of cartographic scale correspond to the selection of environmental soil predictors used to initially create historical soil maps. Paradigm shifts in soil mapping and classification can be best explained by not only their correlation to historical improvements in scientific understanding, but also by differences in purpose for mapping, and due to advancements in geographic technology. Although the hierarchy of phenomena scales observed in this study is generally known in pedology today, it also represents a new view on the evolution of soil science.

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  • CLORPT: Spatial Association in Soil Geography

    From as early as 500 BCE, humans have recognized that some things vary together in space. This is essentially correlation, but the spatial aspect sometimes adds a special twist. The first scientific application of spatial association to soil mapping that we know about was by E.W. Hilgard. He observed that knowledge of the geology and type of vegetation were useful indicators for predicting soil type. Today in digital soil mapping, we still utilize these concepts, but because we use much more quantitative variables, we typically describe this method as spatial regression, or a little more specifically, environmental correlation.

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  • The Value of Soil: A Spatial Perspective

    Soil scientists like to remind everyone that “soil is not dirt,” but what is the difference? One way to answer that question is to identify where it is. Is it somewhere that it is useful, fulfilling its role as supporting life and improving environmental quality? Or has it been moved to a place where it actually causes problems, while the place it came from is also handicapped by the loss of functional ability?

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  • Types of Scale

    When you read the phrases “large scale” or “small scale,” do you know what they mean? Sometimes “large scale” is describing a large area and sometimes it is describing a small area, depending on if the author was thinking about process scale or cartographic scale. This is a problem for communication. In this post I describe the different types of scale that geographers recognize, which will hopefully encourage others to be specific when they are discussing scale.

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  • Fundamentals of Spatial Prediction

    In the process of creating a map, geographers often have to engage in the activity of spatial prediction. Although there are many tools we use to accomplish this task, they generally boil down to the use of one or two fundamental concepts: spatial association and spatial autocorrelation.

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  • Why Geography?

    Because addressing modern problems require system approaches, understanding the time and space components of the processes involved is more important than ever. Unfortunately, for many people the study of geography ended with location facts and they have never been exposed to the fruitful endeavor of scientific geography. The opportunities to increase scientific knowledge from geographic research are so immense that the discipline of geography has struggled to define a focused mission.

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