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Mapping Tile Lines with GPS

by Nov 10, 2010Guidance & Steering

Now that the crops are out of the field and fall field work is beginning, it is time for those fortunate enough to have a problem with excess moisture to get in the field and start repairing and laying new tile.  For those of you who have tiled fields in the past, you can likely draw upon at least a few memories of searching for an existing line with a probe to either repair or connect to that tile line.  With today’s GPS technology, we have the tools at our disposal to make finding tile lines easier by mapping them when they are placed.  We recommend using a repeatable GPS differential correction source to map your tile lines, either during or after a new line is placed. By using a repeatable correction source you will be able to go back to your tile lines in the future if needed. (For more information on differential correction sources, click here.)

Elevation Map from SMS software.
The first step to this process is planning where you want to place your tile lines; a good way to do this is by using your precision ag desktop software, such as SMS, to print an elevation map of your field. You may find it useful to include more ranges than usual when creating this map, as it will make the elevation changes more apparent.
After you are in the field and ready to lay your tile, set up a tillage configuration in the display with an implement width of the actual vehicle width.  If your tile lines will be straight you can use your lightbar’s Straight AB or A+ guidance pattern to guide you to your next tile line, just make sure to input the desired tile spacing as your guidance width when setting up the pattern.
Ag Leader's INTEGRA display offers a built-in guidance lightbar.
Once the pattern is set up, it is then time to map your tile. To do so, simply enable coverage logging while the tile is being placed.  At the end of a run, disable coverage logging and set up for the next run.  If multiple tile sizes are used, the user can define a different region for each tile size; this is a great feature available in the Ag Leader® Integra display.

When you are finished mapping your tile lines, you can then export your maps to a memory card for importing into your precision ag desktop software.  If you would like to navigate back to these lines in the future, you can export this logged information to a product like SMS Mobile. As you can see, mapping data in the field, such as tile lines, can be a useful tool, especially when you will need to find those locations several years down the road.