Is GNSS real-time positioning a reliable option to validate erosion studies at olive grove environments?
Aim of study: Soil degradation in agricultural areas is a widespread problem. In this framework, a data validation methodology is presented, including a study of the spatial resolution of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) measurements, the calculation of erosion/deposition models, and the contribution of dual frequency and low-cost single frequency GNSS receivers.
Area of study: A test olive grove in SE Spain.
Material and methods: The study is based on three observation campaigns, between 2016 and 2018, using different GNSS receivers and working modes. The comparison between different surveys provide the volumetric variation over the analyzed period.
Main results: Considering the dual-frequency receiver, there was no statistically significant difference between the means and the variances from 1.5 m and from 4.5 m data resolution at the 0.05 significance level. In order to estimate vertical differences from successive GNSS campaigns a differential digital elevation approach was applied. Although the differences depended on the zone of the test area and they changed along the monitoring period, the erosion rate could be catalogued as very low. The dual-frequency receiver satisfied the vertical centimetric precision limits for high accurate Digital Elevation Model (DEM), making it a reliable and accurate option to validate erosion studies in small areas.Research highlights: The results have allowed the characterization of multi-annual spatial redistribution of the topsoil at local scale, being of great help to design future prevention actions for the “tillage erosion” in olive grove environments. However, more tests are needed to guarantee the feasibility of low-cost receivers.
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