Last week scientists from ICT International visited researchers from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, at their field site in Central Luzon, about 4 hours drive north of Manila, in the Philippines. The researchers are undertaking a remote sensing project using satellites to measure agricultural parameters such as soil moisture and NDVI across rice fields in northern Philippines. The data gathered from this study is crucial for an upcoming and exciting project. Shortly, the Philippines will be sending their first micro satellite into orbit, significantly boosting scientific research in the Philippines.
As with any data measured via satellites in remote sensing science, validation of the data with ground measurements is crucial. To validate soil moisture data, the scientists are measuring soil moisture on the ground with the MPKit-406. Ground measurements are made periodically throughout the year, particularly when sky conditions allow for accurate satellite measurements. Transects across the rice fields are traversed and soil moisture measurements are made every 10 metres. With these data, the data gathered by the satellites can be cross checked and calibrated.
Out in the field, we trudged through the rice fields in knee-high mud taking measurements. At the time the fields were saturated and there was ponding on the soil surface. The measured data was consistently between 46 and 48% volumetric water content. The MPKit-406 has been pre-calibrated so these numbers are most likely not the exact volumetric water content for the particular soil type measured in the Philippines. For exact values, the MPKit-406 can be easily calibrated for any soil or substrate type and the procedure is outlined here.
A rice field in the Philippines where soil moisture and remote sensing data are being collected.
Dedicated scientists from University of the Philippines, Diliman, measuring soil water content in a rice field.
The MPKit-406 can be used to measure soil volumetric water content. It is a highly accurate, robust and rugged instrument with a sensor lifespan of 20+ years.