1. The Importance of GPS Accuracy
With the spreading of precision agriculture, GPS technology has gradually gained popularity.
Because it can be applied to many aspects: tractor auto steering systems, field sensors, drones, etc.; Therefore, the higher the accuracy of GPS, the more helpful it is for farm operations to gain profits.
To ensure that the GPS maintains high-precision work, it is necessary to understand the following factors.
2. Main Factors That Affect The Accuracy Of GPS
Understanding the factors that affect GPS accuracy can help you effectively troubleshoot and fix problems when encountering accuracy issues during daily work.
2.1 Satellite Position
Satellites are fundamental for positioning. At least 3 satellites are required to locate an object, and 1 more satellite is to eliminate errors. So the more satellites connected, the higher level of GPS accuracy there will be. In order to achieve the highest accuracy, it is also necessary to disperse the satellites as much as possible.
2.2 GPS Receiver Quality
GPS receivers differ in the number and frequency bands of GNSS systems they can support. Devices that can support a larger range of frequencies and GNSS systems will be more accurate than those that can operate in a smaller range. What's more, a low battery can also affect the proper functioning of the GPS on any device.
2.3 Installation Mistake
To achieve 2.5cm high accuracy and avoid errors, you'd better install the GPS device on the centerline of the tractor, and keep away from things that disturb the signal transformation between the GPS antenna and the satellite.
Following are some tips about the installation of GPS receivers (FJD GNSS antenna):
- Mount receiver on the tractor roof after antenna calibration;
- Make sure you have calibrated the whole vehicle;
- Make sure the GNSS antenna is located at the centerline of the tractor roof.
If there is no NTRIP network covered nearby and you're planning to use the RTK Base Station, then you need to know the following requirements to find a perfect installation position:
- The maximum radius of your field is 20 meters;
- Flat ground;
- Wide open view of the sky;
- Away from electromagnetic radiation sources (generators, power lines, etc.), large metal constructions and tall buildings;
2.4 Radio interference
Sometimes, coverage lapses caused by satellite moves and maintenance may affect positioning accruacy. Such a situation might lead to GPS software misfunctioning, casuing GPS positioning to make mistakes, such as:
- drawn maps incorrectly;
- Mislabeling of companies and other locations;
- Missing roads, buildings, communities, etc;
- Incorrectly estimated street addresses.
2.5 Signal Obstruction
Signals from satellites to GPS receivers need to travel a long way. Therefore, signal strength and positioning accuracy are closely related to the propagation environment. When physical structures get in the way of GPS satellite signals and GPS receivers, position errors may occur.
These obstacles include, but are not limited to:
- Tall buildings;
- Human bodies;
- Power lines.
In the case of insufficient signal reception, the device may have difficulty calculating accurate location information, and indicate "GPS signal loss" at some points.
To fix this, try positioning your GPS device where you have an open view of the sky. Some people benefit from keeping the GPS receiver in the outside pocket of their clothing or backpack.
2.6 Cold Start
Did you ever take a satnav device out of the car glove box, clean it off, turn it on and stick it to the car windscreen, then yell at it for taking too long to let you know where you are?
This is because, when GPS is turned on or if it is inactive in the background for a long time, GPS needs to download data from satellites describing the position and time of all satellites in the system. This may take up to five minutes or even more to be corrected, and this may result in incorrect GPS tracking.
Now you understand that accurate GPS positioning depends on several aspects. Hopefully, the following tips will help you ensure accurate positioning on your tractor:
- Make sure the GPS device is mounted correctly;
- Be sure to keep the GPS device high up and in an open area;
- Make sure the driving range has strong and full network coverage;
- Try to avoid places with poor GPS reception (wilderness or city-created valleys and canyons, dense forests, walls, etc.).
Last but not least, because GPS is a crucial technology in precision agriculture, it is highly necessary to ensure that a suitable and affordable auto steering system is selected. In this case, the FJD Autosteering Kit will be the perfect choice for you.