Visible and near-infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy has been demonstrated to be a fast and cheap tool for estimating a large number of chemical and physical soil properties, and effective features extracted from spectra are crucial to correlating with these properties. We adopt a novel methodology for feature extraction of soil spectroscopy based on fractal geometry. The spectrum can be divided into multiple segments with different step–window pairs. For each segmented spectral curve, the fractal dimension value was calculated using variation estimators with power indices 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0. Thus, the fractal feature can be generated by multiplying the fractal dimension value with spectral energy. To assess and compare the performance of new generated features, we took advantage of organic soil samples from the large-scale European Land Use/Land Cover Area Frame Survey (LUCAS). Gradient-boosting regression models built using XGBoost library with soil spectral library were developed to estimate N, pH and soil organic carbon (SOC) contents. Features generated by a variogram estimator performed better than two other estimators and the principal component analysis (PCA). The estimation results for SOC were coefficient of determination (R2
) = 0.85, root mean square error (RMSE) = 56.7 g/kg, the ratio of percent deviation (RPD) = 2.59; for pH: R2
= 0.82, RMSE = 0.49 g/kg, RPD = 2.31; and for N: R2
= 0.77, RMSE = 3.01 g/kg, RPD = 2.09. Even better results could be achieved when fractal features were combined with PCA components. Fractal features generated by the proposed method can improve estimation accuracies of soil properties and simultaneously maintain the original spectral curve shape.
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