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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 54 No. 5, p. 1402-1406
    Received: Sept 11, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Portable Laser Scanner for Measuring Soil Surface Roughness

  1. Chi-hua Huang  and
  2. Joe M. Bradford
  1. National Soil Erosion Research Lab, Purdue Univ., Bldg. SOIL, W. Lafayette, IN 47907



Soil surface elevations are commonly measured along a profile at relatively large grid spacings between 5 and 50 mm. This limitation in measurement technique allows the description of surface roughness due to tillage marks and large clods only on the order of ≥20 mm. A portable scanner was designed to measure soil topography at variable grid spacings down to submillimeter scales. The scanner consisted of an optical transducer for measuring soil surface elevation, a motor-driven X-Y traversing frame, a set of processing and control electronics, and a personal computer. The optical transducer was mounted on the carriage of the X-Y traversing frame and was programmed to scan a maximum area of 1 by 1 m. The personal computer controlled the scanning and recorded elevation data. The system had no static noise and the combined frame vibration and spot size produced a positional and elevational resolution on the order 0.1 to 0.3 mm. This scanner can be used to digitize surfaces at fine grid spacings and the detailed surface topography can then be used to study surface boundary processes such as soil erosion.

Contribution from Agronomy Dep., Purdue Univ. and USDA-ARS. Purdue Agric. Exp. Stn. no. 12387.

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