Here we present work on using different types of soil profile imagery (topsoil profiles captured with a smartphone camera and full-profile images captured with a conventional digital camera) to estimate the structure, texture and drainage of the soil. The method is adapted from earlier work on developing smartphone apps for estimating topsoil organic matter content in Scotland and uses an existing visual soil structure assessment approach. Colour and image texture information was extracted from the imagery. This information was linked, using geolocation information derived from the smartphone GPS system or from field notes, with existing collections of topography, land cover, soil and climate data for Scotland. A neural network model was developed that was capable of estimating soil structure (on a five-point scale), soil texture (sand, silt, clay), bulk density, pH and drainage category using this information. The model is sufficiently accurate to provide estimates of these parameters from soils in the field. We discuss potential improvements to the approach and plans to integrate the model into a set of smartphone apps for estimating health and fertility indicators for Scottish soils.
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