Spatial prediction of USDA- great soil groups in the arid Zarand region, Iran: comparing logistic regression approaches to predict diagnostic horizons and soil types


S. Ayoubi. E-mail:


The main objectives of this study were to compare binary logistic regression as an indirect approach and multinomial logistic regression as a direct approach to produce soil class maps in the Zarand region of southeast Iran. With indirect prediction, the occurrence of relevant diagnostic horizons was first mapped, and subsequently, various maps were combined for a pixel-wise classification by combining the presence or absence of diagnostic horizons. In direct prediction, the dependent variable was the great group itself, so the probability distribution of the great soil groups was directly predicted. Among the predictors, the geomorphology map was identified as an important tool for digital soil mapping approaches as it helped to increase the accuracy. The results of prediction showed larger mean probability values for each great soil group in the areas actually covered by the great soil groups compared with other areas, indicating the reliability of the prediction. In most predictions, the global purity was slightly better than the actual purity for the models; however, both models provided poor predictions for Haplocambids and Calcigypsids. The results showed that soils with better prediction were those much influenced by topographical and geomorphological characteristics and soils with very poor accuracy of prediction were only slightly influenced by topographical and geomorphological characteristics. An advantage of the indirect method is that it gives insight into the causes of errors in prediction at the scale of diagnostic horizons, which helps in the selection of better covariates.