Fuzzy logic-based digital soil mapping in the Laurel Creek Conservation Area, Waterloo, Ontario
The aim of this thesis was to examine environmental covariate-related issues, the resolution dependency, the contribution of vegetation covariates, and the use of LiDAR data, in the purposive sampling design for fuzzy logic-based digital soil mapping. In this design fuzzy c-means (FCM) clustering of environmental covariates was employed to determine proper sampling sites and assist soil survey and inference. Two subsets of the Laurel Creek Conservation area were examined for the purposes of exploring the resolution and vegetation issues, respectively. Both conventional and LiDAR-derived digital elevation models (DEMs) were used to derive terrain covariates, and a vegetation index calculated from remotely sensed data was employed as a vegetation covariate. A basic field survey was conducted in the study area. A validation experiment was performed in another area. The results show that the choices of optimal numbers of clusters shift with resolution aggregated, which leads to the variations in the optimal partition of environmental covariates space and the purposive sampling design. Combining vegetation covariates with terrain covariates produces different results from the use of only terrain covariates. The level of resolution dependency and the influence of adding vegetation covariates vary with DEM source. This study suggests that DEM resolution, vegetation, and DEM source bear significance to the purposive sampling design for fuzzy logic-based digital soil mapping. The interpretation of fuzzy membership values at sampled sites also indicates the associations between fuzzy clusters and soil series, which lends promise to the applicability of fuzzy logic-based digital soil mapping in areas where fieldwork and data are limited.