Machine learning techniques for estimating soil moisture from smartphone captured images

Muhammad Riaz Hasib Hossain, Muhammad Ashad Kabir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
99 Downloads (Pure)


Precise Soil Moisture (SM) assessment is essential in agriculture. By understanding the level of SM, we can improve yield irrigation scheduling which significantly impacts food production and other needs of the global population. The advancements in smartphone technologies and computer vision have demonstrated a non-destructive nature of soil properties, including SM. The study aims to analyze the existing Machine Learning (ML) techniques for estimating SM from soil images and understand the moisture accuracy using different smartphones and various sunlight conditions. Therefore, 629 images of 38 soil samples were taken from seven areas in Sydney, Australia, and split into four datasets based on the image-capturing devices used (iPhone 6s and iPhone 11 Pro) and the lighting circumstances (direct and indirect sunlight). A comparison between Multiple Linear Regression (MLR), Support Vector Regression (SVR), and Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) was presented. MLR was performed with higher accuracy using holdout cross-validation, where the images were captured in indirect sunlight with the Mean Absolute Error (MAE) value of 0.35, Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) value of 0.15, and R2 value of 0.60. Nevertheless, SVR was better with MAE, RMSE, and R2 values of 0.05, 0.06, and 0.96 for 10-fold cross-validation and 0.22, 0.06, and 0.95 for leave-one-out cross-validation when images were captured in indirect sunlight. It demonstrates a smartphone camera’s potential for predicting SM by utilizing ML. In the future, software developers can develop mobile applications based on the research findings for accurate, easy, and rapid SM estimation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number574
Number of pages25
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


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