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A comparison between two methodologies for environmental gamma-ray spectrometry were carried out. Laboratory analyses on soil samples were used to test the accuracy of a hand-held portable instrument. Numerical simulations were performed to calibrate detectors and evaluate the actual response of the instrument in the field. Measurements were carried out in a volcanic area, in order to detect the presence of natural radionuclides such as 238U and 232Th chains daughters and 40K. Results show a good agreement between the two methodologies. Some discrepancies are correlated to the presence of vegetation in the monitoring area, and can give a proxy to infer the presence of 222Rn degassing.