Standoff electromagnetic induction (EMI) measurements of complex conductivity and complex permittivity for engineering soil properties have the potential to revolutionize the way the US Army handles route planning and infrastructure assessment. An unmanned aerial system (UAS) based EM platform for soil interrogation would have wide reaching impact in a variety of applications including: civil infrastructure inspection, in-theater ingress and egress routing, reduction of false positives in IED detection, and permafrost mapping, among many others. Traditional frequency domain EMI instruments assess conductivity at low-frequencies, generally in the range of 1–20 kHz; however, recent advancements have resulted in instrumentation targeting a broadband range of frequencies, from 10 kHz through 20 MHz. This advancement, known as high-frequency electromagnetic induction (HFEMI) allows the potential to evaluate frequency domain relaxation effects in soils by acquiring both the in phase and quadrature response of the secondary field from the soil. Relaxation phenomena such as induced polarization and dielectric permittivity are related to important soil properties that can potentially be exploited using this HFEMI system. While conductivity measurements using the quadrature component of the EMI response are well established in EMI instrumentation, understanding of the relationship between direct electrical measurements and standoff HFEMI measurements is lacking. In an effort to illuminate this relationship between various electrical and electromagnetic methods at a scale suitable for soil property estimation, we perform side-by-side measurements using galvanic geoelectrical methods (ERT, IP), electromagnetics, time-domain reflectometry (TDR) and ground penetrating radar (GPR). We compare HFEMI obtained quadrature and in-phase responses to ERT, IP, TDR and GPR measurements. A tank-scale test cell was developed for comparison of the above methods and allowed assessment of sand at varying saturation levels. Further, the HFEMI response at varying heights above the sand surface was also assessed. Qualitative observations are reported in an initial attempt to relate the HFEMI response to important soil parameters.

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