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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbus, Ohio » Soil Drainage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357035

Research Project: Agricultural Water Management in Poorly Drained Midwestern Agroecosystems

Location: Soil Drainage Research

Title: Delineation of agricultural drainage pipe patterns using ground penetrating radar integrated with a real-time kinematic global navigation satellite system

Author
item Allred, Barry
item Wishart, Debonne - Central State University
item Martinez, Luis - Rene
item Schomberg, Harry
item Mirsky, Steven
item Meyers, George
item Elliott, John - Veselka Farms
item Charyton, Christine - Veselka Farms

Submitted to: Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2018
Publication Date: 10/24/2018
Citation: Allred, B.J., Wishart, D., Martinez, L.R., Schomberg, H.H., Mirsky, S.B., Meyers, G.E., Elliott, J., Charyton, C. 2018. Delineation of agricultural drainage pipe patterns using ground penetrating radar integrated with a real-time kinematic global navigation satellite system. Agriculture. 8, 167. https://doi:10.3390/agriculture8110167.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8110167

Interpretive Summary: Ground penetrating radar integrated with a Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) Global Navigation Satellite System (GPR-RTK/GNSS) successfully determined drainage pipe patterns at three agricultural field sites. At one site, a rectangular pattern of drain lines was mapped, at the second site, a herringbone pattern was delineated, and at the third site, random drain lines were found. A novel field data collection approach was developed, taking advantage of GPR-RTK/GNSS, by which spiral or serpentine GPR measurement transects (or spiral/serpentine segments of GPR measurement transects) were employed to establish presence and direction of drain lines. Using GPR-RTK/GNSS to map drain lines can therefore provide useful information needed for retrofitting or repair of agricultural subsurface drainage systems. Furthermore, in areas where GPR can detect drainage pipes, GPR-RTK/GNSS is a substantial improvement (faster, better able to resolve drain line trends, and causes no pipe damage) over the traditional tile probe and trench excavation methods for finding drainage pipes.

Technical Abstract: Better methods are needed for mapping agricultural drainage pipe systems. Prior research on small test plots indicates that ground penetrating radar (GPR) is oftentimes capable of detecting buried drainage pipes; however, the feasibility of employing this geophysical technique in larger field areas has not been adequately evaluated. Ground penetrating radar integrated with a Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) may be an effective and efficient means of mapping drain lines within agricultural fields. Therefore, GPR-RTK/GNSS was tested in three agricultural settings; with Site 1 and Site 2 located in Beltsville, Maryland, U.S.A and Site 3 near Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. Soils at the three sites ranged from silty clay loam to loamy sand. A GPR unit with 250 MHz antennas was used to detect drainage pipes, and at Sites 1 and 2, a physical GNSS base station was utilized, while a virtual base station was employed at Site 3. The GPR-RTK/GNSS configurations used in this study delineated a complex rectangular drainage pipe system at Site 1, with one set of drainage pipes oriented southwest-northeast and a second oriented southeast-northwest. At Site 2, a herringbone drain line pattern was outlined, and at Site 3, random drain lines were found. When integrated with RTK/GNSS, spiral or serpentine GPR transects (or spiral/serpentine segments of a GPR transects) were utilized to provide insight on drain line directional trends. Consequently, given suitable field conditions, GPR integrated with RTK/GNSS can be a valuable tool for farmers and drainage contractors needing to map subsurface drainage systems.