Pedometric mapping of soil organic matter using a soil map with quantified uncertainty

B. Kempen, G.B.M. Heuvelink, D.J. Brus, J.J. Stoorvogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper compares three models that use soil type information from point observations and a soil map to map the topsoil organic matter content for the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands. The models differ in how the information on soil type is obtained: model 1 uses soil type as depicted on the soil map for calibration and prediction; model 2 uses soil type as observed in the field for calibration and soil type as depicted on the map for prediction; and model 3 uses observed soil type for calibration and a pedometric soil map with quantified uncertainty for prediction. Calibration of the trend on observed soil type resulted in a much stronger predictive relationship between soil organic matter content and soil type than calibration on mapped soil type. Validation with an independent probability sample showed that model 3 out-performed models 1 and 2 in terms of the mean squared error. However, model 3 over-estimated the prediction error variance and so was too pessimistic about prediction accuracy. Model 2 performed the worst: it had the largest mean squared error and the prediction error variance was strongly under-estimated. Thus validation confirmed that calibration on observed soil type is only valid when the uncertainty about soil type at prediction sites is explicitly accounted for by the model. We conclude that whenever information about the uncertainty of the soil map is available and both soil property and soil type are observed at sampling sites, model 3 can be an improvement over the conventional model 1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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