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Journal Articles Computers & Geosciences Year : 2009

Wavelet-based detection of clods on a soil surface

Edwige Vannier
Valérie Ciarletti
Frédéric Darboux


One of the aims of the tillage operation is to produce a specific range of clod sizes, suitable for plant emergence. Due to its cloddy structure, a tilled soil surface has its own roughness, which is connected also with soil water content and erosion phenomena. The comprehension and modeling of surface runoff and erosion require that the micro-topography of the soil surface is well estimated. Therefore, the present paper focuses on the soil surface analysis and characterization. An original method consisting in detecting the individual clods or large aggregates on a 3D digital elevation model (DEM) of the soil surface is introduced. A multiresolution decomposition of the surface is performed by wavelet transform. Then a supervised local maxima extraction is performed on the different sub surfaces and a last process makes the validation of the extractions and the merging of the different scales. The method of detection was evaluated with the help of a soil scientist on a controlled surface made in the laboratory as well as on real seedbed and ploughed surfaces, made by tillage operations in an agricultural field. The identifications of the clods are in good agreement, with an overall sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 94%. The false positive or false negative detections may have several causes. Some very nearby clods may have been smoothed together in the approximation process. Other clods may be embedded into another peace of the surface relief such as another bigger clod or a part of the furrow. At last, the low levels of decomposition are dependent on the resolution and the measurement noise of the DEM. Therefore, some borders of clods may be difficult to determine. The wavelet-based detection method seems to be suitable for soil surfaces described by 2 or 3 levels of approximation such as seedbeds.

Dates and versions

hal-00429144 , version 1 (31-10-2009)



Edwige Vannier, Valérie Ciarletti, Frédéric Darboux. Wavelet-based detection of clods on a soil surface. Computers & Geosciences, 2009, 35 (11), pp.2259-2267. ⟨10.1016/j.cageo.2009.03.007⟩. ⟨hal-00429144⟩
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