Remember that preschool exercise of putting the square pegs in the square hole?
Interestingly enough the same rules apply when it comes to precision agriculture data management – the square pegs have to fit the square hole.
The square hole in the case of precision agriculture is simply a field’s GPS boundary. The digitized boundary is unique and so are the latitude and longitude coordinates that go with it. No other location on planet Earth shares those same coordinates – in other words each field is unique.
Because of such uniqueness – every geo-referenced byte of data that belongs to a field fits perfectly within a field’s GPS boundary. In layman’s terms that means every combine yield map, planter variety map and every GPS grid soil sample point that belongs to that field will fit seamlessly within that digitized field boundary. Think of it like Legos that stack perfectly on top of each other.
As more and more GPS data is collected from field operations and other sources it is vital that producers have a master set of field boundaries that can be used to “sort through the laundry” of data. When a producer asks where he should start when it comes to precision agriculture the answer is simple – start with the field boundary. The field boundary is the foundation – the square hole – of everything to follow.
With today’s sophisticated mapping programs like the one’s Prime Meridian uses – all data from almost any sources can be sorted by a field boundary. But be careful – not all GPS field boundaries are created equal. Some can be created literally without even going to the field by just clicking a computer mouse around an aerial image of your field – just like how it is done down at the local USDA office. Better than nothing but certainly not the best square hole when it comes to digital field boundaries. The best field boundaries are still obtained by being onsite and physically running the boundary with a GPS device.
Because of its importance – Prime Meridian offers a specific field boundary service called Precision Boundary to make sure field boundaries are accurate, up-to-date and named properly to make sure that all the square pegs to come has a perfect square hole to call home.