Remote Sensing of Terrain Strength for Mobility Modeling & Simulation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences; Keweenaw Research Center


Knowing the soil’s strength properties is a vital component to accurately develop Go/No-Go mobility maps for the Next Generation NATO Reference Mobility Model (NG-NRMM). The Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) and soil strength of the top 0-6” and 6-12” of the soil are essential terrain inputs for the model. Current methods for the NG-NRMM require in-situ measurement of soil strength using a bevameter, cone penetrometer, or other mechanical contact device. This study examines the use of hyperspectral and thermal imagery to provide ways of remotely characterizing soil type and strength. Hyperspectral imaging provides unique spectrums for each soil where a Soil Classification Index (SCI) was developed to predict the gradation of the soil types. This gradation provides a means of identifying the soil type via the major divisions within the USCS classification system. Thermal imagery is utilized to collect the Apparent Thermal Inertia (ATI) for each pit, which is then correlated to the soil strength.

Publication Title

2020 NDIA Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium