Pedometrics Forums 10 PM challenges Can we develop communicable measures of uncertainty? Reply To: Can we develop communicable measures of uncertainty?

Nicolas Saby

[by Philippe Lagacherie]

Actually, the uncertainty of our map has the same status as the special clauses that are written in small letters at the bottom of a selling contract or as the Personal Data Protection protocols that you should read before using any web tool: They are theoretically accessible but nobody cares. Obviously, when setting the GlobalSoilMap specifications, we naively overestimated the ability of the users to get to grips the uncertainty information, yet clearly provided by prediction intervals. My personal experience is that most of them simply dislike any uncertainty and the others do not know how to use it. We should force the users to open their eyes, even if the price to paid is to produce less attractive maps. The solution would be to degrade the map resolution at locations where uncertainty is higher than a given RMSE value or confidence interval width or simply not to provide predictions at these locations (like “terra incognita” of the old maps). I even suggest that the user provides him/herself the error threshold from his/her knowledge of his/her requirement so that the final map could be more acceptable for him (her).