Technical characteristics of global navigation satellite systems and their role in precision agriculture

Róbert Barna, Katalin Tóth, Mónika Zita Nagy, Kristóf Solymosi


Originally developed for military applications, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have become a part of our daily lives. It is also essential in modern agricultural production. For example, precision crop production and precision livestock farming work with a lot of position (stationary or dynamic) data provided by navigation systems. The first global navigation system was called Global Positioning System (GPS). Since then, a number of similar independent systems have been developed because of the fact that the service can be restricted or even disabled due to an event. Modern terrestrial navigation devices measure their position across multiple GNSS systems, thus increasing accuracy.
In this article we will illustrate the general operational features with an example of the oldest navigation system, the NAVSTAR GPS of the USA. In addition, we present the main features of Galileo, the system set up by the European Union, which is expected to be fully operational in 2020. We present the market situation for GNSS systems and illustrate its use through some precision farming applications.
We conducted in-depth interviews to learn about farmers’ knowledge and motivations about GNSS technology and precision farming. All those who are not yet or only partially precision farmers want to switch to full precision farming in the long run. Respondents have all heard of Galileo, but their knowledge is partial. Users are waiting for Galileo to be fully operational.

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DOI: 10.17700/jai.2020.11.1.573

Journal of Agricultural Informatics