Choosing a GPS guidance system

No matter the size of your operation, having a GPS system when planting, spraying, and other field operations gives you better accuracy and efficiency. You can choose between several levels of accuracy, depending on what your needs are.

Morgen Dietrich is the market manager for embedded technology at John Deere. He says the type of GPS receiver needed for your operation depends on the intended use because it determines repeatability and pass-to-pass accuracy.

"SF1 is our base signal, and that is pass-to-pass accuracy in 15 minutes within 6”. So, if you would come back to that same place within 15 minutes you should still be within the 6”. Once you’re past that time frame you could be further away," says Dietrich. "Then when we step that up to SF3, that would be 1.2” in 15 minutes but it actually allows repeatability of that 1.2” for a full nine months." 

Another option is called RTK – Real Time Kinematic.

"And that essentially allows you to come back to the same point year after year with 1” accuracy," he says. "That’s the beauty of RTK and it allows customers to do things more repeatable than would an SF1 or SF3. There are additional costs for RTK. You need to have a radio that essentially helps you triangulate where your signal is coming from."  

You also need a display, and the software that enables the system. How easy it is to use is another important factor. Consider how intuitive the menus, buttons, and touch interfaces are and how easy it is to train other operators.

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