Types of GPS receivers used in agriculture

Today, more and more farmers are implementing the use of GPS devices in their day-to-day operations. Indeed, GPS systems can provide a lot of benefits for small, medium, and large farms, helping to optimize agriculture procedures and maximize profits. In this article, we will talk about the main types of GPS receivers that can be used on farms and discuss everything else you need to know before shopping for a GPS receiver for your farm.

What is GPS?

GPS stands for Global Positioning Systems and it’s a term used to describe the American NAVSTAR satellite system. Other countries and regions of the world use other satellite systems. For example, the EU has Galileo, while Russia operates GLONASS. Even though the combination of all satellite systems used around the world is known as GNSS or Global Navigation Satellite Systems, the terms GPS and GNSS are used interchangeably.

Satellites that make up the GNSS network are located in the orbit of the Earth. They constantly transmit signals to receivers located at or near the surface of the Earth. GPS receivers then use the information they receive to accurately determine their location on the ground. GPS receivers are widely used in agriculture to carry out different tasks.

Types of GPS receivers used in agriculture

There are many different types of GPS receivers that use various techniques to determine their position in space. Some of these technologies are more advanced, providing a higher level of precision of measurements, while others are more basic. Here are the 3 main types of GPS receivers used by farmers:
    • Stand-alone receivers. These devices are usually held by hand instead of being installed on a tractor or in the field. They have an accuracy range between 4 to 10 meters and cost between $100 and $1,000.
    • Differential receivers. These systems include a receiver and a separate reference station located on the ground to account for errors in the GPS signal. They have an accuracy range between 0.1 to 1 meter and cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.
    • Kinematic (RTK) differential receivers. These receivers also use a separate base station that sends correction signals in real-time. They have an accuracy range between 1 to 10 centimeters and cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. These are the only receivers suitable for tractor autosteer.

FieldBee RTK GPS receivers

As you can see, RTK receivers are the best option available to farmers, providing the highest degree of accuracy. However, these devices are usually too expensive for owners of small and medium-sized farms. Fortunately, one company is changing that. FieldBee manufactures affordable, reliable, easy to install and use RTK GPS receivers for farmers all over the world. FieldBee RTK receivers can be paired with an autosteer system, which allows farmers to automatically guide tractors around the fields, reducing the amount of time and expenses necessary to complete most farming tasks.

Final thoughts

The use of GPS receivers on farms is becoming more and more common. Today, many farmers are using GPS receivers to implement precision agriculture practices on their farms. There are three types of GPS receivers used in agriculture: standalone, differential, and kinematic differential receivers. Kinematic differential receivers such as FieldBee provide the highest degree of accuracy and even enable farmers to use autosteer devices.
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