What’s a guy from New York City doing in Iowa? Just a little peek behind the curtain is enough to show what a juggernaut modern agriculture is and convince anyone that it’s worth studying, at least that’s what I think. We recognize that these systems are by-and-large centered around soil and it’s properties. As an agronomist, I’ll argue that it is our most important natural resource and worth lifetimes of research.
How many samples does one need to model a field? Which features are the most important on the landscape? How much attention should mappers give to small irregularities? These are the kinds of questions that I think about when mapping. Soil is fairly continuous but there are discontinuities which warrant our attention. My goals as a researcher are to understand the nature of spatial data, the limits of predictions and interpretations.
Iowa is a national leader in agronomic productivity. To reasonably satisfy demands, I am convinced we need to work harder by working smarter. Geographic information systems (GIS) can be coupled with classic pedology to package and deliver useful information to those who need it so we can be economically and environmentally sustainable.