How to improve the accuracy of GPS in agriculture?

GPS is one of the most important modern technologies used in agriculture, and it is especially crucial for precision farming techniques. Without GPS, farmers would not be able to use field sensors, tractor autosteer devices, agriculture drones, farm mapping apps, and other technology. While the use of precision farming technology in the field can help increase your yields, reduce costs, and minimize the amount of manual labor used on your farm, you need to ensure that your GPS devices are as accurate as possible. In this article, we will take a look at several tips and tricks you can use to improve the accuracy of GPS antennas in agriculture.

Common reasons for inaccurate GPS positioning

Before we get into different methods you can use to improve the accuracy of GPS positioning, it’s important to explain different things that can have a negative effect on the accuracy. Some of the most common reasons for mistakes in GPS accuracy include:
    • Blockage of satellites by trees, bridges, buildings, etc.;
    • Signal reflection off obstructions;
    • Use of GPS indoors or underground;
    • Solar storms;
    • Interference with radio signals;
    • Maintenance or changes in the position of satellites which create gaps in coverage;

Ways to improve the accuracy of GPS

Follow proper procedures when installing the GPS device

Correct installation is key to making sure that your GPS-enabled device provides accurate positioning data. You need to ensure that there’s nothing obstructing the line of sight between the device’s antenna and the satellites in the sky.

Keep a distance between the GPS device and obstructions

If possible, you should try to stay away from buildings, trees, hills, power lines, and other obstructions when operating a GPS device. This will ensure that the location of the device is determined as accurately as possible. If you can’t avoid the areas that have obstacles, you should keep in mind that the location data in those areas may not be completely accurate.

Keep the device charged

By ensuring that your GPS device’s battery is fully charged, you can prevent it from going into power-saving mode and decreasing its accuracy.

Use modern GPS devices

Modern devices contain hardware that works significantly better than older GPS technology.

Use an RTK system

While the methods described above can improve the accuracy of your GPS antenna’s signals, it still has inherent limitations. So if you want to achieve 1 cm accuracy when carrying out operations with a tractor in your field, you should opt for a FieldBee RTK system.

Final thoughts

If you’re utilizing precision agriculture technologies on your farm, one of the most important tasks you have is ensuring the accuracy of GPS devices. This can be done by following the correct procedures when installing the GPS device, staying clear from obstructions when operating it, keeping your GPS-enabled device charged at all times, ensuring that you use only modern technology in your fields, or upgrading to an RTK system.
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