Georeferenced soil provenancing with digital signatures

M. Tighe*, N. Forster, C. Guppy, D. Savage, P. Grave, I. M. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The provenance or origin of a soil sample is of interest in soil forensics, archaeology, and biosecurity. In all of these fields, highly specialized and often expensive analysis is usually combined with expert interpretation to estimate sample origin. In this proof of concept study we apply rapid and non-destructive spectral analysis to the question of direct soil provenancing. This approach is based on one of the underlying tenets of soil science - that soil pedogenesis is spatially unique, and thus digital spectral signatures of soil can be related directly, rather than via individual soil properties, to a georeferenced location. We examine three different multivariate regression techniques to predict GPS coordinates in two nested datasets. With a minimum of data processing, we show that in most instances Eastings and Northings can be predicted to within 20% of the range of each within the dataset using the spectral signatures produced via portable x-ray fluorescence. We also generate 50 and 95% confidence intervals of prediction and express these as a range of GPS coordinates. This approach has promise for future application in soil and environmental provenancing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3162
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, project AH/2011/032. The authors thank Dr. Farzin Shabani for assistance with ArcGIS.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Georeferenced soil provenancing with digital signatures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this