Systems and Methods to Downscale Resolution of Coarse-Resolution Soil Moisture Data


Available for Licensing

IP Status

US PCT Patent Pending


Jeffery Niemann

Equilibrium Moisture from Topography, Vegetation, and Soil (EMT+VS)

The figure shows an example application of the EMT+VS model to the Reynolds Creek Watershed in Idaho, USA.  Part (a) shows the watershed elevation, and part
(b) shows the vegetation cover (represented by the soil adjusted vegetation index or SAVI), which are both inputs to the model.  Part (c) shows the soil moisture pattern
that is generated by the model using a single spatial average soil moisture for the whole watershed as the key input (along with the elevation and vegetation data).

At A Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering department have developed a new method to increase resolution of soil moisture maps by incorporating fine-resolution information on topography, vegetation, and soil. Estimated soil moisture patterns are becoming more readily available at coarse (9 km – 50 km) to intermediate (500 m – 1 km) spatial resolutions. However many applications, such as water management and agriculture production, require finer resolutions (10-100m). It is now possible to estimate fine-scale variations in soil moisture with CSU’s EMT+VS model.

Licensing Director

Mandana Ashouri

Reference No.: 15-027

The Problem

Soil moisture can be estimated over large regions with spatial resolutions greater than 500 m, but many applications require finer resolutions (10 – 100 m grid cells).  Several methods use topographic data to downscale, but without the incorporation of vegetation and soil patterns, these methods are problematic and unreliable.

  • Water management
  • Forestry
  • Infectious Disease
  • Military Tactics and Logistics
  • Mobility Assessments
  • Flood Forecasting
  • Landslide Prediction
  • Decrease training costs
  • Land Management

Last updated: October 2019