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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

Pedometrics 2007

From August 27 to 30 Eberhard Karls University, Tubingen, Germany played host to the biennial Pedometrics conference. Following previous events at Ghent, Reading and Florida, the 2007 conference covered many topics such as digital soil mapping, proximal soil sensing and geostatistics. The conference hosted approximately 100 attendees from various occupations such as soil scientists, surveyors, geographers, environmental scientists, mathematicians and statisticians.

The conference was preceded by a workshop run by Gerard Heuvelink and James Brown which saw approximately 20 attendees cover many aspects of the theory and application of Spatial Uncertainty Propagation. The workshop also provided an excellent means for networking, particular as many in attendance where students on their maiden pedometrics conference.

Alex McBratneys keynote presentation ‘Developing Pedometrics: a history and geography of ideas’ on Monday morning got things underway, followed by sessions on digital soil mapping, soil sampling and geostatistics. Upon completion of the day’s oral presentations, a revamped poster presentation session was held where authors were allowed 3 minutes to surmise their work. Overall, the new format was successful in bringing greater focus to the posters albeit with the occasional ‘time penalty’. After a full first day, some opted for the guided tour of the historic town whilst others settled down in the ‘old town’ for a couple of local hefeweizen.

Pedometrics chair, Murray Lark provided some food-for-thought on day 2 with his keynote, ‘On not data mining in Pedometrics’ with oral presentation sessions on digital soil mapping, uncertainty and soil sensing completing the day. The Tuesday night saw attendees head to the Casino am Neckar alongside the Neckar River for the conference dinner. The pedometrics best paper awards for years 2005 (Savelieva, E., V. Demyanov, M. Kanevski, M. Serre, G. Christakos. BME-based uncertainty assessment of the Chernobyl fallout. Geoderma, 128 (2005): 312-324) and 2006 (Heuvelink G.B.M., Schoorl J.M., Veldkamp A., Pennock D.J. Space-time Kalman filtering of soil edistribution. Geoderma 133 (2006):124-137.) were awarded along with Gerard Heuvelink being named winner of the conference pedometrics quiz.

The conference reconvened for the final day, starting with Dick Brus, keynote ‘Sampling for soil survey and Monitoring. Examples from the Netherlands’ with fuzzy logic and mixed topic sessions completing the oral presentations.

A brown soil soil derived from basaltic tuff on display in the field (Wilma, open the door!)

A brown soil soil derived from basaltic tuff on display in the field (Wilma, open the door!)

Following the completion of the conference proper, a field trip of the Baden-Wurttemberg region was run by conference organisers Thorsten Behrens and Thomas Scholten. The day gave resident soil scientists a chance to get there hands dirty with the trip including numerous soil pits representing some of the more important and interesting soilscapes of the region. The day was completed with a tour of a local cooperative winery and some product testing.

After my first pedometrics conference, I was thoroughly impressed by the comradery of attendees at a professional and social level. Of particular note, question time following oral presentations highlighted the healthy competitiveness amongst the pedometrics fraternity. The keynote speakers are to be congratulated for preparing engaging and interesting talks that applied to all in attendance. Of particular note, I found Murray Larks presentation stimulating in challenging our approach to simulation and modelling.

The resounding success of the conference was due to the organisation of Thorsten Behrens and Thomas Scholten and on behalf of all in attendance I’d like to extend my thanks.

Grant Tranter
The University of Sydney