What is Pedometrics?

The following is abstracted from the Preface to the collection of papers published in Geoderma (1994: 62) following the first Pedometrics Conference.

"This might be the first occasion on which many readers will have encountered 'pedometrics' and its meaning. The term was coined by A.B. McBratney, and to explain it we can do no better than quote from his original communication:

Pedometrics is a neologism derived from the Greek roots, pedos [soil] and metron [measurement] and is formed and used analogously to other words such as biometrics, psychometrics, econometrics, chemometrics and the oldest of all geometrics." This definition covers two main ideas associated with pedometrics but in a highly restricted way. We see that measurement has been restricted to mathematical and statistical methods, and the soil p[art corresponds to that branch of soil science we call pedology.

An alternative (problem-oriented definition is 'soil science under uncertainty'. This then says that pedometrics deals with soil science and soil related problems when there is uncertainty due to deterministic or stochastic variation, vagueness and lack of knowledge of soil properties and processes.

This definition allows for both mathematical, statistical and numerical methods. It can include numerical approaches to classification -- ways of dealing with a supposed deterministic variation. Whereas simulation models per se might not be considered pedometrics (though to dismiss models of pedogenesis would be inappropriate, even foolish) models that incorporate uncertainty by adopting chaos, statistical distributions or fuzziness should be embraced.

The definition is certainly incomplete but as the subject grows its core will become well defined. Nevertheless, it will always intergrade to all areas of soil science and quantitative methods and no definition by circumscription or complete enumeration of methods can be unequivocal."

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