Your behavior appears to be a little unusual. Please verify that you are not a bot.

Precision Agriculture: GNSS Is Now Standard on Most Tractors

January 25, 2023  - By and
(Photo: CHC Navigation)

(Image: CHC Navigation)

The earliest article about GPS and agriculture that I found in my collection of this magazine(*) is from the July/August 1992 issue: “Using GPS in Agricultural Remote Sensing,” by Eileen M. Perry of the Remote Sensing Research Laboratory of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Thirty years later, you cannot buy a tractor from a major manufacturer that does not come equipped with a GNSS-based guidance system, and precision agriculture routinely makes use of remote sensing data and geographic information systems (GIS). The data are collected by Earth observation satellites, manned aircraft, UAVs and sensors on farm machinery. The GIS are used to collect, manage and analyze these data and create maps for the variable-rate machines to follow when seeding, irrigating, spraying fertilizer, herbicide and pesticides, and harvesting.

In this cover story, managers at Trimble, Tallysman Wireless, and ComNav Technology give their perspective on precision agriculture. Additionally, Gavin Schrock explains recently introduced options for tiered precise point positioning (PPP) services, using Trimble’s CenterPoint RTX as an example.

Proponents of precision agriculture and equipment vendors have always claimed that it reduces inputs (water, seeds, fertilizer and pesticide) and environmental impacts while increasing yields and profits. However, I have never been able to find any independent, reliable and comprehensive study of precision agriculture’s return on investment. If you are aware of any, please let me know, at

— Matteo Luccio, Editor-in-Chief

Check out these perspectives on precision agriculture:


Tallysman Wireless

Comnav Technology

* I have the entire collection of GPS World’s print edition, except for the first issue, the 10 issues in the second year (1991), and the September through December 1993 issues. I would be thrilled to receive those missing issues, or facsimiles, from anybody who has them.

About the Author: Matteo Luccio

Matteo Luccio, GPS World’s Editor-in-Chief, possesses more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for GNSS and geospatial technology magazines. He began his career in the industry in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World, then as editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. His technical articles have been published in more than 20 professional magazines, including Professional Surveyor Magazine, Apogeo Spatial and xyHt. Luccio holds a master’s degree in political science from MIT. He can be reached at or 541-543-0525.

About the Author: Gavin Schrock

Gavin Schrock is a practicing surveyor, technology writer and operator of a cooperative GNSS network.