Continuous field soil moisture content mapping by means of apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) measurement

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A soil moisture content map is important for providing information about the distribution of moisture in a given area. Moisture content directly influences agricultural yield thus it is crucial to have accurate and reliable information about moisture distribution and content in the field. Since soil is a porous medium modified generalized Archie’s equation provides the basic formula to calculate moisture content data based on measured ECa. In this study we aimed to find a more accurate and cost effective method for measuring moisture content than manual field sampling. Locations of 25 sampling points were chosen from our research field as a reference. We assumed that soil moisture content could be calculated by measuring apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) using the Veris-3100 on-the-go soil mapping tool. Statistical analysis was carried out on the 10.791 ECa raw data in order to filter the outliers. The applied statistical method was ±1.5 interquartile (IRQ) distance approach. The visualization of soil moisture distribution within the experimental field was carried out by means of ArcGIS/ArcMAP using the inverse distance weighting interpolation method. In the investigated 25 sampling points, coefficient of determination between calculated volumetric moisture content data and measured ECa was R2 = 0.87. According to our results, volumetric moisture content can be mapped by applying ECa measurements in these particular soil types.

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