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Computer Graphics Procedural Modeling of Soil Structure (2016)


(a) Photograph of subangular blocky soil structure
(b) Procedural model of subangular blocky soil structure
(c) Photograph of prismatic soil structure
(d) Procedural model of prismatic soil structure

Abstract

Soil scientists in the USA have created a large national database of written soil profile descriptions that follow a well-defined set of rules for describing soil morphological properties. Interpreting these soil descriptions is a skill that requires considerable practice and experience. While writing a soil description is straightforward, recreating a visual representation of a soil profile from a written description is very difficult. So far, there is no generalized approach for translating written or tabular soil descriptions into visual representations. We propose a novel procedural modeling approach inspired by procedural models commonly used in the field of computer graphics. Our framework takes tabular soil morphological data (i.e., soil profile descriptions) as textual input and translates it into visual features based on parametric models. These models can be used to generate two dimensional soil profiles or to generate threedimensional interactive models that allow rotation, scaling, and other forms of visual explorations. The procedural modeling technique enables the user to generate the soil profile visual representation with only a small amount of data. The images do not need to be stored because they are generated as needed. The goal of our work is to allow a user to click or touch a particular spot on a digital soil map and thereby obtain a realistic representation of the soil profile at that location, in essence allowing the user to dig a virtual soil pit.

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