The suitability of a smartphone camera for the structure from motion (SfM) reconstruction for monitoring variations in soil surface characteristics and soil loss originated by a low intensity erosive event was evaluated. Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) was used to validate the SfM model. Two surveys of the soil surface, one before and one after the rainfall event, were carried out for SfM and TLS. The point clouds obtained by the SfM were compared to the TLS point clouds (used as reference). From the point clouds, digital elevation models (DEMs) (0.01 m × 0.01 m) were obtained. The differences of the DEMs (DoDs) obtained from the two surveys for SfM and TLS were compared. To assess the uncertainty of the DEMs, from the DoDs the minimum level of detection was derived. The soil loss was evaluated from DoDs (for SfM and TLS, respectively) considering negative values as erosion and positive values as deposition. The SfM appears appropriate and sensitive for detecting small soil surface variations induced by low erosive events. The SfM estimated correctly the measured soil loss, while TLS underestimated 26%. Further studies could be carried out to consolidate these first results.

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