Predictive soil mapping: A review

P. Scull, J. Franklin, O. A. Chadwick, D. McArthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

351 Scopus citations


Predictive soil mapping (PSM) can be defined as the development of a numerical or statistical model of the relationship among environmental variables and soil properties, which is then applied to a geographic data base to create a predictive map. PSM is made possible by geo-computational technologies developed over the past few decades. For example, advances in geographic information science, digital terrain modeling, remote sensing, fuzzy logic has created a tremendous potential for improvement in the way that soil maps are produced. The State Factor soil-forming model, which was introduced to the western world by one of the early Presidents of the American Association of Geographers (C.F. Marbut), forms the theoretical basis of PSM. PSM research is being driven by a need to understand the role soil plays in the biophysical and biogeochemical functioning of the planet. Much research has been published on the subject in the last 20 years (mostly outside of geographic journals) and methods have varied widely from statistical approaches (including geostatistics) to more complex methods, such as decision tree analysis, and expert systems. A geographic perspective is needed because of the inherently geographic nature of PSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-197
Number of pages27
JournalProgress in Physical Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • GIS
  • Soil geography
  • Soil survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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