Inakwu OdehIt is with great sadness I write to inform you that Associate Professor Inakwu Odeh (1956 – 2018) passed away on the 4th of February 2018.

Odeh, as he was known to many, was the Sesquicentennial Associate Professor in Rural Spatial Information Systems (2004-2018) in the School of Life & Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. He first joined the University in the early 1990’s as a Senior Research Fellow for the CRC for Sustainable Cotton Production (1993-1999). Owing to his strong leadership he was appointed Program Leader in the Australian Cotton CRC (1999-2005).

As a researcher some of Odeh’s best known work began with his PhD, which he undertook while based at the University of Adelaide and supervised by a hydro-pedologist by the name of David Chittleborough, and in collaboration with Alex McBratney, who had just started his tenure as Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. Odeh, along with his supervisors, set about developing innovative techniques and applying these ideas on soil sampling schemes and landscapes of the rolling hills of the Mount Lofty Ranges. He was also one of the first to apply the fuzzy sets theory to mapping the soil continuum as a continuous land surface body which has been widely used and cited by many researchers in the field. The paper, which presents this seminal work is entitled “Further results on prediction of soil properties from terrain attributes: heterotopic cokriging and regression-kriging” and was published in Geoderma in 1995. Today, it is his most highly cited paper with a grand total of 361 citations.

During his time at the University, he produced the baseline soil data sets and maps for cotton growing regions and also laid out a suite of spatial prediction methods which now are regularly used for Digital Soil Mapping. He showed how landform attributes derived from a digital elevation model can be used for prediction of soil properties. He further developed regression kriging techniques to combine geostatistical and deterministic landscape models. He took advantage of rich and novel data sources, including remoting sensing data such as LIDAR, Landsat TM7 and gamma radiometric data but also proximal sensing data acquired from instruments such as the Veris3100 and an electromagnetic induction instrument known as the EM38. All significant contributions to advances in soil science, landscape information systems, and land management. Internationally, he had strong research ties with Africa and China and in recent years, he developed GlobalSoilMap maps for Nigeria.

Odeh was one of the early pioneers of Pedometrics and GIS teaching at the University of Sydney. Odeh was a lecturer of some reputation, leading and presenting courses at both under-graduate and post-graduate level. He taught aspects of Pedometrics, Digital Soil Mapping and Proximal Soil Sensing into courses including but not limited to Environmental GIS, Biometry, Remote Sensing and Land Management and Rural Spatial Information Systems. He trained and mentored many local and international PhD students. He was also a consistent driver in building and maintaining the enjoyable social fabric of our agriculture community at the University over the years.

Odeh was also an enthusiastic member of Soil Science Australia, including being President of the NSW branch in 2010 and vice-president in 2008-09. He was also an Associate Editor to some of the top-ranking soil science journals including European Journal of Soil Science and Geoderma.

He is survived by his devoted wife and four daughters. Odeh's friendliness, kindness, energy and joy will be sadly missed.

By Damien Field et al.


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Page created: 18.07.2019 | Page updated: 18.07.2019

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