Comparison of instruments for geoelectrical soil mapping at the field scale
In precision agriculture geoelectrical methods have shown their capability to detect spatial variation of important physico-chemical soil parameters in an efficient way. Nevertheless, relationships between the electrical parameters (electrical conductivity or resistivity) and other soil properties are not always consistent over different fields. This can, to some extent, be due to the characteristics of instruments used for soil mapping. However, a limited amount of research has addressed this issue. In this study, seven instruments for mobile mapping (continuous geoelectrical measurements) available on the market were tested (ARP 03, CM-138, EM38, EM38-DD, EM38-MK2, OhmMapper and Veris 3100). Instruments were employed on a sandy site in north-east Germany. Measurements were compared to a profile, which has been investigated with a high accuracy reference. Additional investigations were conducted concerning the influences of temperature drift, seasonal variations and soil properties on soil EC. Marked differences between the instruments were found with respect to depth of investigation, accuracy and handling that have to be taken into account when geoelectrical surveys are planned or interpreted. Regarding depth of investigation and robustness of the measurements, ARP 03 and Veris 3100 seem to be the most suitable instruments for precision agriculture.