Proximal soil sensing. An effective approach for soil measurements in space and time

Viscarra Rossel, R. A. and McKenzie, N. J. and Adamchuk, V. I. and Sudduth, K. A. and Lobsey, C. (2011) Proximal soil sensing. An effective approach for soil measurements in space and time. Advances in Agronomy, 113. pp. 237-282. ISSN 0065-2113


This chapter reviews proximal soil sensing (PSS). Our intent is for it to be a source of up-to-date information on PSS, the technologies that are currently available and their use for measuring soil properties. We first define PSS and discuss the sampling dilemma. Using the range of frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum as a framework, we describe technologies that can be used for PSS, including electrochemical and mechanical sensors, telemetry, geographic positioning and elevation, multisensor platforms, and core measuring and down-borehole sensors. Because soil properties can be measured with different proximal soil sensors we provide examples of the alternative techniques that are available for measuring soil properties. We also indicate the developmental stage of technologies for PSS and the current approximate cost of commercial sensors. Our discussion focuses on the development of PSS over the past 30. years and on its current state. Finally, we provide a short list of general considerations for future work and suggest that we need research and development to: (i) improve soil sampling designs for PSS, (ii) define the most suitable technique or combination of techniques for measuring key soil properties, (iii) better understand the interactions between soil and sensor signals, (iv) derive theoretical sensor calibrations, (v) understand the basis for local versus global sensor calibrations, (vi) improve signal processing, analysis and reconstruction techniques, (vii) derive and improve methods for sensor data fusion, and (viii) explore the many and varied soil, agricultural, and environmental applications where proximal soil sensors could be used. PSS provides soil scientists with an effective approach to learn more about soils. Proximal soil sensors allow rapid and inexpensive collection of precise, quantitative, fine-resolution data, which can be used to better understand soil spatial and temporal variability. We hope that this review raises awareness about PSS to further its research and development and to encourage the use of proximal soil sensors in different applications. PSS can help provide sustainable solutions to the global issues that we face: food, water, and energy security and climate change.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 30 May 2017 06:57
Last Modified: 30 May 2017 06:57
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electrical conductivity; Electrochemical sensing; Electromagnetic induction; Gamma radiometrics; Geophysics; Mechanical sensors; Mobile soil sensors; Multisensor platform; Proximal soil sensing; Sensor data fusion; Soil analysis; Soil measurement; Soil sampling; Soil spectroscopy;
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050303 Soil Biology
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410603 Soil biology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961499 Soils not elsewhere classified
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