The Virtues of High Precision

Kurt Lawton

During the recent Galileo Appreciation Days held in Brussels, the high degree of accuracy and precision that’s possible with EGNOS, Galileo and other GNSS technologies were celebrated, as reported by the European GNSS Supervisory Authority.

EGNOS is already a success story in the agricultural sector,” said Aguilera. “It already has 50% market share, which is expected to reach 70% by 2010. The ultimate result will be increasing yields, conservation of resources and materials, and lower costs. The benefits are there, the EGNOS signal is already being exploited by farmers, and it is available free of charge.”

The Galileo Application Days ‘High Precision’ session highlighted a number of GNSS applications already being used in the agriculture sector.

Michael Quinckhardt of Claas Agrosystems outlined how his company is exploiting advanced GNSS-based applications. “Precision farming includes automatic steering for tractors and monitoring of all our machines,” he explained. “We can help farmers to know where their machines are and what they are doing at any given moment.”

Tracking and yield analysis can also help to optimise the use of fertilisers. “One can understand that different fields across a wide area will differ in terms of various qualities and in their abilities to support crops,” said Quinckhardt, “But the fact is there is a degree of variability in terms of soil quality even within a single field.”

By recording information from harvesters about what the soil is producing from one patch to the next within a field, and matching that information with precise GNSS-based location information, farmers can pinpoint very accurately where they need to apply more fertiliser and where they can save money by applying less.

Rob Kiernan of Leica Geosystems discussed the three phases of action in agriculture: planting, crop protection and harvest. “Maximising production in agriculture is all about doing the right thing at the right time in the right place,” he said. “Systems like Galileo and EGNOS tell us about place with a high degree of accuracy throughout the production cycle, and this is revolutionising the way we work.”

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