My last blog was on precise position, and I had a lot of response to that topic so I thought I would continue with this theme, however, moving to the vertical market of agriculture or precision agriculture. While I tend to work on geospatial applications at perhaps a county-size type of scale rather than at a farmer’s field or crop-scale, geospatial location in the x, y, and z are at the heart of both scales. I am, however, intrigued by the advances in positioning technologies that are helping farmers become more successful in terms of efficiency, productivity, and costs. The ability to utilize satellite-based auto guidance systems to improve crop productivity or the use of on-the-go vehicle-based solid sensors, used in conjunction with GPS to develop field maps or to control variable rate application equipment in real-time, are the products of advances made in GPS technologies. The integration of agriculture field practices with GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) technology and farm equipment has afforded increased productivity, increased crop yield, reduced costs of seeding (e.g. GPS enabled seeding prevents seeding duplication), and more efficient fertilization (based on more accurate information about soil conditions). Such applications are achieving accuracies in the order of centimeters, which is important at a crop-type scale. Check out some of the devices available for tractors today! Quite impressive really.
Source of illustration below: http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/farm/az1558.pdf
Interesting read about GNSS in Agriculture that goes into the specifics about the available technologies used to enhance all phases of farm operations: http://gnssconsulting.vva.it/2013/03/14/gnss-in-agriculture-a-market-and-technological-assessment-on-north-america-eu-australia-and-brazil/
Excellent webinar on GNSS and Agriculture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpfwLRUHT0I&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1