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[by Philippe Lagacherie, INRA, France]
The main driver of the map accuracy is the density of locations with known soil properties. For anyone that went once in the field for studying the soil variations, it is easy to understand that these soil variations cannot be captured with a density of one observation for several tens or hundreds of square kilometers, however good the covariates are. We should therefore densify our soil observations. This means first of all fighting for conserving, sometimes restoring and developing across the world teams of experienced soil surveyors able to collect good soil data. This means also developing optimal sampling schemes and feeding our models with less expensive soil data such as soil sensing data or qualitative soil characterizations, both legacy or participative ones. However, could these data be collected for the global level? Even, must we make a significantly more accurate Global Soil Map? (see Challenge 12)