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Dynamic Soil Moisture Maps

GROW has developed the Dynamic Soil Moisture Map to provide information to farmers, scientists and policy makers for applications in agriculture and climate forecasting. GROW sensor data is interpolated with satellite data to generate a continuous estimation of water content over a terrain. GROW is working with renowned data visualiser Moritz Stefaner to visually represent the gridded product (model) data, and correlations with point measurements from sensors.

Dynamic Soil Moisture Maps have been created for clusters of sensors within GROW Places. Below is a video presentation of a soil moisture map, followed by an explanation of its features and functionality.

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What functionality does the visualisation offer?

The preview video above shows a cluster of sensors at a site in Hungary. The sensor locations are seen on the map at the bottom. The blue section above the sensors shows continuous soil moisture values across the piece of land. The vertical axis represents the moisture level not the height of the terrain.

Values between each of the sensor locations have been interpolated to display continuous soil moisture values across the site.

The map can be rotated and viewed from different angles.

The visualisation also shows change over time, during a time period of several weeks.

The time series on the right show light, moisture and temperature readings. A specific sensor can be selected from the map and is then highlighted in the graphs on the right.

Data

  • Dynamic: Soil moisture, temperature, light.
  • Static (per sensor) covariates: Soil texture, slope, elevation.
  • Third party: Meteorological.

The GROW Observatory relies on its participants for the data used in this visualisation. The more sensors deployed within a certain area on representative sites, the more detailed and accurate the soil moisture map is.
The GROW Observatory is not an automated soil moisture monitoring system. The temporal resolution depends on data upload frequency. The more frequently data is provided by participants, the more up-to-date the database will be.

Why is this information useful?

The visualisation is for farmers, scientists and policy makers to interrogate spatial patterns of soil moisture for applications in agriculture and climate forecasting.

It is designed to answer questions such as:
How variable is my land? Are there areas with different soil moisture regimes?
Are there drier and more wet areas?
Which areas can retain more water for a longer period?
Where should I plant drought tolerant species?
Where should I plant the water saturation tolerant species?
How large is the area within my land that needs to be irrigated?

Soil moisture is a changing property that needs to be mapped over time in order to respond to the needs of crops. The initial version of this visualisation is intended as a demonstration of the types of services that could be developed within the GROW project.

How can farmers use the soil moisture maps?

High tech farmers invest in precision agriculture equipment but this equipment often requires knowledge of spatial variability of the soil across their farmland. Small scale growers tend not to have access to precision farming services, which are often linked to the industrial supply of additives. The information provided by the Dynamic Soil Moisture Map is developed as a part of an open and collaborative project, and can enable farmers large or small to manage their crops with great precision.

Updated on 22nd March 2019