Exploratory Data Visualization of Soil Variables of the Land Systems Survey in Tropical South America

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Committee Chair

Tarek Rashed, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Glenn Hyman, Ph.D.


The purpose of this project is to identify areas of soil suitability for specially bred crop varieties and to predict possible areas of wild crop variants. The data used includes the Land System Survey conducted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) which contains detailed information on climate, vegetation and soil attributes of the tropical lowlands in South America. The soil data includes attribute data with its attributes structured in a many-to-one relationship with the geographic data, creating problems for performing analysis. The project involves creating tools for Exploratory Data Visualization (EDV) within ArcMap. In the process of creating tools for data exploration the main functions used are attribute selection, displaying of raw values, and creating fuzzy sets from the data. Approaching the goal from the direction of visualization provides the tools needed to explore the data. These tools could be combined to form a more formal tool for EDV. The use of fuzzy logic allows analysis to be conducted based on common linguistic variables, rather than crisp numbers. Fuzzy logic is not ideal for data that is in a nominal format, but over a large dataset such as this it becomes more reasonable. The use of this system helps researchers find areas suitable for different seed varieties, and identify areas of potential genetic adaptation to be used in producing more diverse varieties of seed technology.

Full text is available at the University of Redlands


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