Role of Drones in Characterizing Soil Water Content in Open Field Cultivation

Antti Halla, Nathaniel Narra, Tarmo Lipping

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Soil water content is a central topic in open field cultivation. In Finland’s boreal region with four thermal seasons, it has many roles which alter throughout the year. Climate change is changing the weather patterns, affecting all water-related processes and challenging the current farming practices. Better understanding of soils and their characteristics regarding response to water processes is called for, and data collection has a key role in this. Precision agriculture has been driving data intensification in farming. Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have many applications and overall wide interest as an emerging technology in agriculture. Yet they lack an established role in day-to-day farming practices. Regarding data collection in open field cultivation, drones can be compared – or combined – with satellites, rovers, stationary devices, as well as plain old on-site observations by the farmer. In this study we give an overview of recent published literature, looking at data collection from the perspective of soil water information. We assess the opportunities and challenges of using drones in characterizing soil water content, mainly using soil and plant properties as proxies for it. Drones are useful in on-demand, nonintrusive, high-resolution spatial mapping of field properties. Soil moisture monitoring however requires frequent measurements, limiting the applicability of current drones.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Developments and Environmental Applications of Drones
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of FinDrones 2020
EditorsTarmo Lipping, Petri Linna, Nathaniel Narra
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-77860-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-77859-0
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventFinDrones - , Finland
Duration: 12 Nov 202012 Nov 2020



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