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Subgrade--this is the native soil (or improved soil), usually compacted

Subbasethis is a layer of gravel on top of the subgrade

Base (or base course)this is the layer of material on top of the subbase and directly
under the slab

Subbases and Subgrades for Concrete Foundations
A concrete surface is only as stable and level as its subgrade and subbase. Weak subgrade
and subbase layers can settle differently across the surface and cause cracks in the concrete.
Any concrete project needs at least a compacted soil subgrade layer.

the subgrade soil needs to be flat and compacted

Where is compaction needed?
Use compaction whenever the soil is disturbed during construction or when its used for fill.
If organic soils are present, remove them first. Then compact disturbed soil

Preparation of Sub-grade and Placement of Sub-Base Material
.1 Compact the sub-grade after the bottom of the excavation has been approved by the
Contract Administrator.
.2 Compact areas of suitable sub-grade material, the full width of the excavation, to a
minimum of 95% Standard Proctor Density.
.3 Sub-base material shall not be placed over frozen subsoil.
.4 Place and compact suitable site sub-base material before placing any new sub-base
material, as directed by the Contract Administrator.
.5 Place and compact crushed sub-base material with or without geogrid as directed by the
Contract Administrator in accordance with CW 3135.