Trimble updates precision ag GPS service

By Emily Aasand | March 12, 2015

Trimble Navigation Ltd. released a new version of its CenterPoint Real Time eXtended (RTX) correction service—a product made for precision agriculture operations—that delivers convergence to 4 centimeter horizontal accuracy in less than five minutes. RTX combines several technologies to give real-time position accuracy anywhere near the Earth’s surface by using satellite corrections from orbit, clocks and other variables. The system transmits data through a satellite link or the internet.

Trimble CenterPoint RTX delivers global navigation satellite system (GNSS) corrections via satellite without the need for a reference station RTK infrastructure, mobile data plans or additional on-machine hardware. The services delivers real-time, high accuracy positions that help land preparation, planting, harvesting and other high precision agriculture applications, Trimble said.

The fast convergence is due to a new region-specific atmospheric model and a dense ground reference station network. Trimble said growers can expect roughly an 80 percent improvement in RTX convergence time compared to the standard service which averages 30 minutes. The new service is delivered via a new satellite broadcast which covers western and central Europe.

“We are continually advancing our Trimble RTX technology to improve productivity in the field,” said Patricia Boothe, general manager of Trimble positioning services. “Faster initialization times allow growers to start working more quickly, freeing up time to focus on other farm operations. No other satellite-delivered correction service today can offer better than 4 centimeter accuracy in less than 5 minutes.”

The latest version of Trimble CenterPoint RTX is expected to be available in April 2015.

Trimble was one of several companies who received exemptions for UAS operations in precision aerial surveying and agriculture. Trimble received permission to use the Trimble UX5 UAS, which weighs roughly 5.5 pounds with a wingspan of nearly 40 inches. The UAV requires little prep work and is able to fly for up to 50 minutes at speeds reaching 50 miles per hour. The catapult launch vehicle creates ortho-mosaic photo images from overlapping images taken while in flight.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx found that the UAS in the proposed operations didn’t need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because it doesn’t pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

“Unmanned aircraft offer a tremendous opportunity to spur innovation and economic activity by enabling many businesses to develop better products and services for their customers and the American public,” Foxx said. “We want to foster commercial uses of this exciting technology while taking a responsible approach to the safety of America’s airspace.”


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