#1 THE NETWORK DigiFarm is a privately owned company offering GPS corrections for all brands of GPS rovers. Our rich background in GPS architecture, IT, and networking offer a unique perspective into high end GPS correction deployment, where uptime and performance are maximized.
DigiFarm operates a Virtual Base Network, sometimes referred to in the industry as a VRS style network. This means we have an array of base stations, usually spaced 40-50 miles apart, all simultaneously feeding data to clusters of servers. This type of service provides better redundancy than single base networks and higher accuracy levels as the client moves further away from physical base stations.
#2 THE BASE STATION RECEIVER There are several options when it comes to choosing a base station, but not all bases are created equal. Most base stations today come standard with GPS and GLONASS. However, in an effort to “future proof” a network as much as possible, you should consider a base station that also supports Galileo and Beidou so you are set up when the industry is ready to take advantage of these four constellations.
The GNSS base stations that DigiFarm recommends and sells are multi-constellation receivers using proven Trimble GPS engines. These are four constellation receivers capable of tracking all existing signals available today. DigiFarm may accept other brands of bases into the network but they must meet specific standards. Every base station within the network is required to track GPS and GLONASS at a minimum.
#3 ANTENNA AND HARDWARE Hardware and installations are important attributes that cannot be overlooked in a network solution. Multipath is a common error source that base stations are left to deal with in many common installations. Several measures can be taken to overcome this obstacle, the most common being an antenna upgrade. Some network service providers today are using low-cost rover style antennas that use controversial antenna mounts that have no ability to deal with multipath. Though these GPS solutions might have an attractive low cost of entry, there is a very high price to be paid if the network does not function correctly.
DigiFarm has chosen to use robotically calibrated NGS certified (National Geodetic Survey) high end choke ring antennas. DigiFarm works hard to ensure installations are held to standards that yield accuracies expected by the survey and construction industry.
#4 COVERAGE AREA When considering a GPS network, coverage area is obviously important. Be sure that you can travel across your entire coverage area without inconveniences, such as having to:
Please check DigiFarm's latest coverage maps to verify that you have coverage in your area. If you fall inside the coverage area, a DigiFarm subscription allows you seamlessly roam across the entire network without incurring any additional fees.
#5 TECH SUPPORT DigiFarm has a diverse history in precision agriculture. Not only do we operate a diverse network to deliver high accuracy GPS corrections, but our techs also have hands on experience installing, programming, and troubleshooting DigiFarm's products and services. They’ve spent time in the cab to understand the needs and desires of end users during their busiest times of the year. That knowledge level and support is key to supporting and training DigiFarm dealers so that they can provide excellent tech support to you.
Make sure your service provider has a PROVEN TRACK RECORD, not just a good sales pitch. DigiFarm strives to always be there for our customers. We encourage all tech support calls to be channeled through our support line where an operator will direct your requests to the correct technician. Outside of business hours, our staff answers support calls on their personal cell phones to ensure that your needs are always met. High quality after-hours support is a rare commodity to find in most of the OEM offerings today.
#6 ABILITY TO WORK WITH ALL BRANDS RTK corrections are broadcast in several different formats. RTCM is the most widely adopted by most rovers, however, some still prefer to use CMR as well. It is important to verify which formats a network supports when trying to determine if a rover is able to be serviced by that network.
One of DigiFarm’s strengths is our ability to support all major brands of GPS receivers. Many GPS service providers broadcast a default CMR and RTCM message for rovers to use. Not all GPS receivers are created equal, so we don’t treat them as such. DigiFarm customizes the data stream for each brand of GPS rover in an effort to optimize the performance of that rover.
DigiFarm is the only 3rd party company to support an in-house GPS and GLONASS John Deere network solution for John Deere 3000 and 6000 GPS receivers. This means that you have a one stop shop for JD cellular hardware as well as the RTK signal, all supported under one roof. Also, DigiFarm is the only network to create customized data streams for Ag Leader Paradymes and GeoSteers, providing enhanced performance over other “network solutions” within the industry.
DigiFarm is the first company to offer compatibility with iOS devices. DigiFarm is proud to support the Beacon Bluetooth, capable of plugging into any major GPS rover available on the market in order to stream GPS corrections via the iPad, taking advantage of the iPad's already existing data plan...another industry first!
Proprietary server architecture and software, all developed in-house, give DigiFarm an upper hand over standard “off the shelf” software solutions which are limited in functionality by the vendors’ capabilities. Be sure that your network provider is flexible in their ability to react to market changes in hardware and functionality.
#7 CONTRACTS When considering a GPS service provider, it is always important to read the fine print. As more players enter the GPS market, some companies use wording in their contracts that should raise concern. You should be concerned when a service provider:
The list goes on, but why would a service provider put such strict provisions in place if they are confident in their product and their ability to provide good service?
DigiFarm has contracts to protect bases, dealers, and customers, and are not restrictive in manner or limit dealer options. It is DigiFarm’s mindset to offer a highly functional tool that is competitively priced, and if it works well, you will reach for that tool most often. There are no hidden stipulations or fine print that other networks carry.
#8 ACCURACIES This is one of the more difficult specs to put in writing as it varies greatly depending on many factors. Things such as installation integrity, quality of hardware used, and distance between base stations are the factors most commonly thought of. However, there are several additional factors that DigiFarm takes into account to optimize performance that many other networks overlook. When more variables are read, a more accurate model can be created.
When paying close attention to all of the millimeters that can influence error, a network service provider can offer a GPS correction source capable of servicing all industries to meet or exceed their expectations. With clients running in all regions of North America are making use of both horizontal and vertical GPS corrections from DigiFarm, the proof of performance is on the coverage map. Without success, the map wouldn’t be expanding at the rate it is.
#9 HARDWARE COMPATIBILITY When choosing a network service provider, it is important to ensure that the network is compatible with all brands of modems that customers may use. OEM modems will do telematics or data transfers, but when it comes to RTK, every modem other than Deere will work on any RTK network. DigiFarm works with most brands of modems on the market today. Find a list of tested and verified modems that are confirmed compatible with the DigiFarm network here and here.
DigiFarm also features very cost competitive hardware solutions that plug and play with ALL major brands of GPS rovers. Some OEMs will explain that DigiFarm RTK corrections are not compatible with their modem, which is incorrect. They might also state how difficult it is to activate data plans and manage RTK subscriptions. This is also incorrect.
The fact is, DigiFarm has the industry's easiest and most hassle-free subscription program, offering both cellular data plans as well as GPS subscriptions without the hassle of worrying about client’s services being terminated because they’ve exceeded their service window. All GPS subscriptions automatically renew unless canceled or no payment is received within billing terms. No data plans or subscriptions will ever be turned off without prior notice.
#10 PRICE Price is an important factor in your decision but shouldn’t be the primary reason when deciding on a network service provider. There are many different pricing methods based on accuracy, length of subscription, type of data requested, area of coverage, and access to additional data other than real time corrections. All corrections providers should be able to provide pricing information for comparison.
There are two things to think about when considering DigiFarm as a network service provider:
#11 COMPLETE SOLUTION The factory OEM solution might be pushed as the best fit, but if you look between the cracks, there are several shortcomings in terms of performance, flexibility, compatibility with legacy systems, support, and network experience. All of these should be important factors when determining a network provider, and DigiFarm provides them all.
Unlike many network service providers on the market today, DigiFarm is a privately owned company whose owners are from the farm. DigiFarm's products and services are developed from the ground up, with close attention to ease of use, functionality, and cost, all with the farmer’s best interest in mind. In a competitive industry, DigiFarm continues to bring new innovative solutions to market to answer farmers' requests.