iSOIL - Interactions between soil related sciences -
Linking geophysics, soil science and digital soil mapping

Work Package 1: Platforms: technical integration of sensors

Lead Partner: UFZ

GEophysical platforms
GEophysical platforms

One objective of iSOIL was the development of new and the improvement of existing methods, including geophysical, spectroscopic and monitoring techniques. An important focus was the integration of geophysical technologies in measuring platforms, allowing rapid and economically feasible mapping of large areas with complementary parameters to be achieved. Some of the applied geophysical sensors and equipment (electromagnetic induction (EMI), gamma-ray spectrometry, magnetics, humidity, and temperature) are commercially available and ready to use. However, their combined use for the collection of data from different techniques by a single data logger system and on integrated sledges is not currently standard practice. These mobile geophysical platforms were tested at different field sites to verify if successful application of such systems was possible from a technical point of view and with the aim of devising a method for the application of measurements from plot scale to ‘small catchment scale’, with respect to soil relevant questions.

Data comparability between results from different sensor types, as well as the reproducibility of this data, is not self-evident. Different sensor testing experiments were designed as a first step towards flexible and efficient mobile sensing. A special focus in mobile sensing was put on EMI, GPR and gamma-ray spectrometry, since a combination of these methods is viewed as being highly promising for soil sensing. In particular, operation of sensors must be carried out accurately, e.g. with consistent calibration. This is of special importance, since data gathered will form the basis of maps for soil parameters and soil functions. Reproducibility is one of the most important conditions for monitoring tasks. After several sensor tests and comparisons, it was shown that absolute measuring results are in some cases different. Even with careful calibration and operation of the equipment, data values obtained yield deviations, especially for EMI-data. Therefore, special attention was placed upon the development of measuring arrangements and post-processing algorithms, in order to make data comparable for interpretation.

We developed a field PC prototype to comfortably integrate and facilitate work with instruments from two technological fields, geophysics and geodesy. This field was used during all field activities, either for positioning or acquisition of geophysical data.

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Important Information

Project ended in November 2011

CWA 16373 "Best Practice Approach for electromagnetic induction measurements of the near surface" is published and available at CEN or DIN Berlin

iSOIL data are available at

iSOIL is a member of the SOIL TECHNOLOGY CLUSTER of Research Projects funded by the EC

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