ICAR short course on Digital soil mapping through geostatistical approaches using QGIS and R was successfully organized at ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur for a period of 10 days during June 24 – July 3, 2015. The training programme was inaugurated on 24 June at Shami Bhavan of CAZRI, Jodhpur in presence of Dr. R.P. Dhir, Ex-Director CAZRI as Chief Guest, Dr. A.K. Mishra, Director (I/C), CAZRI as Chairman and Er. D. Mishra, Head, Division of Agricultural Engineering for Arid Production System. In the Chief Guest address, Dr. R.P. Dhir presented an overview on soil mapping programme in the country starting from survey based mapping using topo sheets, aerial photographs, and remote sensing images to the present day use of hyperspectral signatures of soil. Dr. A.K. Mishra presented his views on the training programme and stressed upon the relevance of digital soil maps in present era and its potential in natural resource management. Participants were addressed by the Division Head and briefed about the course. Scientists/Researchers/Professors from ICAR Institutes and SAUs from different parts of the country representing National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) participated in the training programme. The valedictory function of the training programme was held on 3rd July 2015 with Dr. L.N. Harsh, Ex-Vice Chancellor of Jodhpur Agriculture University, acting as the Chief Guest and Dr. R.K. Bhatt, Director CAZRI as Chairman along with divisional heads, section in-charges and all resource persons of the training programme. Certificates were awarded to participants for successful completion of the training programme and they also shared their views and feedbacks. DR. L.N. Harsh pointed out the importance of digitization of soil information in light of the national programme of ‘Digital India’. Dr. R.K. Bhatt stressed upon the practical importance of digital soil maps in the present era for best management of natural resources especially under situation of their fast depletion and also appreciate the best integration of theoretical knowledge and practical applications during the programme. Er. D. Mishra, the Head of the Division highlighted the importance of soil mapping using advanced mathematical tools considering the variations in space and time and congratulated the participants for successful completion of the training programme. Earlier, Dr. P. Santra, Sr. Scientist ICAR-CAZRI Jodhpur and the Course Director of the training programme, briefed about the course contents covered during the training, which comprised the topics on basics of geostatictics, semivariogram fitting and kriging in R through ‘gstat’ package, introduction to open source GIS e.g. QGIS and case studies on digital soil maps. The training programme was conducted by Dr. P. Santra as Course Director and Dr. N. R. Panwar and Dr. Mahesh Kumar as the Course Co-Director. Vote of thanks of the inaugural and valedictory functions were proposed by Dr. Mahesh Kumar.
(Source: ICAR-CAZRI, Jodhpur)