Special Issue "Bridging the Proximal and Remote Sensing Spectroscopy for Soil Properties Estimation and Monitoring"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Knadel
Guest Editor
Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele, Denmark
Interests: vis–NIR spectroscopy; proximal soil sensing; on-the-go spectroscopy; soil characterization and mapping
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Sabine Chabrillat
Guest Editor
Section 1.4 Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre For Geosciences, Germany
Interests: visNIR–SWIR–LWIR spectroscopy; digital soil mapping; hyperspectral remote sensing; soil erosion and degradation; satellite imaging spectrometers
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Dr. Johanna Wetterlind
Guest Editor
Department of soil and environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Interests: visNIR and MIR spectroscopy; proximal soil sensing; soil characterization and mapping; plant nutrition; organic matter characterization and turnover; precision agriculture; translating science into policy and practice
Dr. Asa Gholizadeh
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, 16500, Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: soil spectroscopy; proximal and remote sensing in soil morning; Earth observation; soil contamination; chemometrics; machine learning in soil parameters analysis and monitoring
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sustainable management of soil health and its state require constant assessment and monitoring of a high number of soil properties at different time frames and spatial scales, which presents a challenge when utilizing costly and time-consuming conventional analytical methods.

Reflectance spectroscopy has proven to be a reliable, cheap, and environmentally friendly technique for the estimation of basic and some functional soil properties. Its application extends from the laboratory benchtop and in situ portable or on-the-go sensors to the most recent remote (drone, aircraft and spaceborne) sensors, enabling a much bigger scale of investigation and potentially enabling a mapping of the spatial distribution of soil properties.

In this Special Issue, we would like to invite contributions reporting on the application of soil spectroscopy across visible near infrared; vis–NIR (400–2500 nm), mid-wave infrared; MWIR (3000–5000 nm) and long-wave Infrared; the LWIR (7000–12000 nm) spectral range; and focusing on:

  • Broadening the spectrum of proximal spectroscopy towards assessment, monitoring, and mapping of soil functional and advanced properties;
  • Presenting novel approaches to monitoring soil properties using remote sensing spectroscopy (also known as hyperspectral remote sensing–imaging spectroscopy);
  • Contributinf to the application of current and upcoming satellite hyperspectral missions for soil properties monitoring.

Moreover, considering the inevitable perspective of the fusion between proximal and remote soil spectroscopy, we would like to invite contributions bridging the two areas of research and the related challenges together. The relevant topics, among others, may include:

  • Spectral libraries (both laboratory and in situ), their standardization, and harmonization methods;
  • Calibration transfers between instruments and among different communities;
  • Examples of fusion between spectral libraries and remote spectroscopy for soil properties estimation;
  • Novel modeling techniques;
  • Multiscale and simulation approaches.

This includes research and applications within precision agriculture, pedology, soil health monitoring, soil management, and environmental protection.

Dr. Maria Knadel
Dr. Sabine Chabrillat
Dr. Johanna Wetterlind
Dr. Asa Gholizadeh
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Proximal soil spectroscopy
  • Remote sensing spectroscopy
  • Imaging spectroscopy
  • Vis-NIRS
  • MWIR
  • LWIR
  • Soil monitoring
  • Soil mapping

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Soil Color and Mineralogy Mapping Using Proximal and Remote Sensing in Midwest Brazil
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(7), 1197; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071197 - 08 Apr 2020
Soil color and mineralogy are used as diagnostic criteria to distinguish different soil types. In the literature, 350–2500 nm spectra were successfully used to predict soil color and mineralogy, but these attributes currently are not mapped for most Brazilian soils. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Soil color and mineralogy are used as diagnostic criteria to distinguish different soil types. In the literature, 350–2500 nm spectra were successfully used to predict soil color and mineralogy, but these attributes currently are not mapped for most Brazilian soils. In this paper, we provided the first large-extent maps with 30 m resolution of soil color and mineralogy at three depth intervals for 850,000 km2 of Midwest Brazil. We obtained soil 350–2500 nm spectra from 1397 sites of the Brazilian Soil Spectral Library at 0–20 cm, 20–60, and 60–100 cm depths. Spectra was used to derive Munsell hue, value, and chroma, and also second derivative spectra of the Kubelka–Munk function, where key spectral bands were identified and their amplitude measured for mineral quantification. Landsat composites of topsoil and vegetation reflectance, together with relief and climate data, were used as covariates to predict Munsell color and Fe–Al oxides, and 1:1 and 2:1 clay minerals of topsoil and subsoil. We used random forest for soil modeling and 10-fold cross-validation. Soil spectra and remote sensing data accurately mapped color and mineralogy at topsoil and subsoil in Midwest Brazil. Hematite showed high prediction accuracy (R2 > 0.71), followed by Munsell value and hue. Satellite topsoil reflectance at blue spectral region was the most relevant predictor (25% global importance) for soil color and mineralogy. Our maps were consistent with pedological expert knowledge, legacy soil observations, and legacy soil class map of the study region. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Digital mapping of soil color and minerals using proximal and remote sensing in Brazil

Authors: Raul Roberto Poppiel 1, Marilusa Pinto Coelho Lacerda 1, José Lucas Safanelli 2, Rodnei Rizzo 2, Benito Bonfatti 2, Nelida E. Silvero 2, José Alexandre Melo Demattê 2,*

Abstract: The Midwest region in Brazil has the largest and most recent agricultural frontier in Brazil, where there is no currently detailed soil information to support the agricultural intensification. Producing large-extent digital soil maps demands a huge volume of data and high computing capacity. This paper proposed to map soil color and mineral at three different depths with 30 m-resolution in a large area of Midwest Brazil. The study area comprises about 851,000 km2 in the Cerrado biome (savannah) in Brazilian Midwest. We used soil data from the Brazilian Soil Spectral Library. We determined soil color (Munsell system), goethite, hematite, gibbsite, kaolinite and 2:1 clay minerals for mapping into three depth intervals: 0-20, 20-60 and 60-100 cm. A total of 33 soil predictors were prepared using Google Earth Engine (GEE), such as climate, terrain and geologic features and two new covariates with finer-resolution, based on satellite measurements of the topsoil reflectance and the seasonal variability in vegetation spectra. We used Random Forest regression for mapping the selected soil attributes and 10-fold cross-validation for assessing the model’ performance. We used the model-based optimization by tuning RF hyperparameters and calculated the scaled permutation importance of covariates in R software. Our results were promising, with a satisfactory model’ performance. We concluded that soil color and minerals determined from reflectance spectroscopy attributes at multiple depth increments can be mapped using remote sensing data and machine learning methods with good performances.


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