Soil spectroscopy has shown to be a fast, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, non-destructive, reproducible and repeatable analytical technique. Soil components, as well as types of instruments, protocols, sampling methods, sample preparation, spectral acquisition techniques and analytical algorithms have a combined influence on the final performance. Therefore, it is important to characterize these differences and to introduce an effective approach in order to minimize the technical factors that alter reflectance spectra and consequent prediction. To quantify this alteration, a joint project between Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) and Tel-Aviv University (TAU) was conducted to estimate Cox, pH-H2
O, pH-KCl and selected forms of Fe and Mn. Two different soil spectral measurement protocols and two data mining techniques were used to examine seventy-eight soil samples from five agricultural areas in different parts of the Czech Republic. Spectral measurements at both laboratories were made using different ASD spectroradiometers. The CULS protocol was based on employing a contact probe (CP) spectral measurement scheme, while the TAU protocol was carried out using a CP measurement method, accompanied with the internal soil standard (ISS) procedure. Two spectral datasets, acquired from different protocols, were both analyzed using partial least square regression (PLSR) technique as well as the PARACUDA II®
, a new data mining engine for optimizing PLSR models. The results showed that spectra based on the CULS setup (non-ISS) demonstrated significantly higher albedo intensity and reflectance values relative to the TAU setup with ISS. However, the majority of statistics using the TAU protocol was not noticeably better than the CULS spectra. The paper also highlighted that under both measurement protocols, the PARACUDA II®
engine proved to be a powerful tool for providing better results than PLSR. Such initiative is not only a way to unlock current limitations of soil spectroscopy, but also offers considerable efficiency and cost- and time-saving possibilities, which lead to further improvements in prediction performance of spectral models.
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