Pedometrics, Landscape Analysis, and GIS Core Resarch Lab ('GIS and Spectral Lab')


What we do

In the Pedometrics, Landscape Analysis, and GIS Core Research Laboratory research is conducted using geographic information systems, geostatistical and statistical methods, remote and soil sensing (e.g. visible/near-infrared and mid-infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy). Research goals are to describe the spatial distribution of soil and environmental properties and their spatial covariation to gain insight into complex environmental systems. Modern quantitative methods are used to support digital soil mapping and modeling projects.


Geographic Information

What is a GIS ?
A powerful set of tools for collecting, storing, retrieving, transforming, and displaying spatial datafrom the real world' (Burrough, 1986).

Burrough P.A., 1986. Principles of Geographical Information Systems for land Resources Assessment. Oxford University Preess, Oxford.


Location of the Laboratory

The Pedometrics, Landscape Analysis, and GIS Laboratory is located in McCarty Hall A 1184 and G197, Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida.



Equipment - Description of Laboratory

Pedometrics, Landscape Analysis & GIS Laboratory (Dr. Grunwald’s lab):
The Laboratory provides state-of-the art setup for landscape modeling, soil and remote sensing, and environmental data analysis (statistical analyses; geostatistical modeling; space-time modeling; geographic information systems (GIS); remote sensing; and mechanistic simulation modeling). It consists of data file server for storage of large data (currently: 25 Terabyte), raid-arrays and several Virtual Machines (VM) which provide capabilities for remote access and to run multiple operations/models simultaneously. Data are backed up on a rotational basis (maintained by the IFAS-IT University of Florida Unit). In the computer lab there are ~22 PCs with dual and quad core processors (all with dual monitors), 1 large format (poster) color printer HP DesignJet 2500CP, 2 color laser printers, 4 HP black/white printers, and HP flatbed scanners. Available software packages: MS Office Suite; SQL database; GIS software (ArcGIS Suite, ESRI; and IDRISI-Selva); ERDAS IMAGINE and ENVI (incl. FLAASH)for remote sensing analysis; ISATIS for geostatistical and statistical analyses; Adobe Photoshop; Adobe Acrobat; CART for tree-based regression analysis (Salford Systems Inc.); DreamWeaver for development of web applications; UNSCRAMBLER for spectral analysis (chemometrics). Several differential global positioning systems (GPS) units (among them a Trimble Geo 7X with cm accuracy) for georeferencing of sampling locations and several handheld GPS units are available for field data collection. The open source R environment is used extensively in Dr. Grunwald’ lab for statistical and geostatistical analysis, as well as programming in Python. 

Geospatial and remote sensing resources: Grunwald’s research team has harmonized and standardized a large set of geospatial soil-environmental variables covering the conterminous U.S. (200+ variables; about 750+ space-time variables) (Grunwald et al, 2014a).  This space-time dataset consists of various remote sensing derived properties averaged/aggregated over different time intervals to represent short and long-term fluctuations (such as leaf area index, LAI; fraction of photosynthetically active radiation, fPAR; gross primary productivity, GPP; net primary productivity, NPP; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, NDVI; Enhanced Vegetation Index, EVI; and more), long-term historic climate records from 1971-present (temperature, precipitation, vapor pressure, and others; Parameter-elevation regression on independent slope mode, PRISM climate data), climate projections (6 contrasting downscaled climate scenarios, North American Regional Reanalysis, NARR), land use/land cover (various sources and time periods), above-ground wooden biomass carbon (Woods Hole Research Center), soil carbon and multiple other soil properties from gSSURGO (Natural Resources Conservation Service), digital elevation models, soil moisture (European Space Agency), gamma ray (U.S. Geological Survey), and other environmental data. A detailed description of these digital data can be found in Grunwald et al. (2014). In addition several sequences of remote sensing images (RapidEye, GeoEye, IKONOS, ASTER, SPOT, Pleiades and Worldview-2) are available for regions in Florida, U.S. (and Andes (Peru) and southern India).

Spectral Laboratory (Dr. Grunwald): The lab houses a spectroradimeter (QualitySpec Pro; Analytical Spectral Devices, Inc.) for hyperspectral visible/near-infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopic measurements and a FTIR (with drift accessory) 600 series (Agilent Technologies Inc.) for hyperspectral mid-infrared sensing.

Environmental Pedology Laboratory (shared by Drs. Harris and Grunwald): The laboratory is equipped with drying oven, muffle furnace, block digester, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, a new x-ray diffractometer, and a Shimadzu Carbon-Nitrogen Analyzer. It has a well-equipped wet laboratory with much of the necessary experience and equipment for standard soil analysis including nutrient extraction, soil texture (pipette), carbon fractionation, organic carbon quality measurements and other. In addition there are available: Chemical storage cabinets, ball mills, sieve shakers, controlled temperature baths, two refrigerators, UV-visible spectrophotometers, bench space and paraphernalia for chemical analyses, and polarizing- and dissecting microscopes which can accommodate a camera for digital photographs. It houses excavation equipment (augers, shovels, probes, etc.) used for soil sampling, as well as materials (color books, clinometers, etc.) used for describing soils in the field. It is set up to perform physical and chemical soil characterization used in soil classification and interpretation.

Virtual machines (VMs): Besides the physical computer lab VMs (SWS-GIS VMs) are also used to provide convenient remote access to a secure work environment, software and workspace.



Lab Director: Dr. Sabine Grunwald
Office: McCarty Hall A Room 2171
Email: sabgru @
Phone: 352-294-3145

Lab Manager: Christopher Clingensmith
Office: McCarty Hall A Room G197
Email: c.clingensmith @
Phone: 352-294-3123


Access and Services

User Access - Pedometrics, Landscape Analysis and GIS Laboratory
To gain access and use the equipment provided by the Research Laboratory contact Sabine Grunwald (McCarty Hall A, room 2171) or the Lab Manager Christopher Clingensmith. Priority access is given to students in Dr. Grunwald's research team and through collaboration.

There are multiple services that the laboratory provides including geospatial analysis, data processing, poster printing, and spectral scanning. A complete list of services "GIS and Spectral Lab Services" and costs can be found here.


Interdisciplinary Concentration in Geographic Information Systems (ICGIS) - "GIS Certificate"

The Soil and Water Science Department is participating member of ICGIS. Dr.Grunwald is the appointed Representative of the Soil and Water Science Department to ICGIS. The goal of ICGIS is to integrate existing GIS resources on campus, to establish a standard set of courses and activities that  allow graduate students to become experts in the creation, study, and use of GIS/geospatial sciences. More information about ICGIS is available at: