June 23rd, 2024

Hanlon Ag partners with college in GPS data project


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 18, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A group of Lethbridge College Engineering Technology students will be able to take advantage of some new technology once they are back on campus this semester.
Second year students of the Lethbridge College’s Geomatics Engineering Technology program will benefit from a partnership between the college and Hanlon Ag, by gaining access to Hanlon’s HPRTK Network.
The initiative launched in December 2021 when Mike Parker from Hanlon Ag brought the SIM cards necessary for the hardware configuration to instructor Andrew Bowen and technologist Jim Pinches.
This High Precision Real Time Kinematic (HPRTK) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) operated by Hanlon Ag, offers instantaneous GNSS data corrections to their subscribers in southern Alberta through the Internet.
“If it’s not corrected you’re wandering around within three to five meters so it has to be corrected with some known value,” said Jim Pinches, technologist for the Lethbridge College Engineering Technology department.
Pinches said it is basically like the GPS in your phone, your location is not 100 per cent accurate and it usually has a margin of error of about three meters, therefore it needs to be corrected for accuracy.
“If you’re out surveying, you usually take your own GPS receiver and it’s a base, and it is set up on a known point. That’s getting satellite information and it knows where it is, so it can correct the information on the satellites down to a specific point,” said Pinches.
He said that a lot of surveying companies now have a permanent base set up on their building that transmits these corrections.
“Mike from Hanlon approached us and asked if we were interested and gave us the SIM cards to get the signal to get on the Internet, and then now we’re getting his signal coming to our data collectors,” said Pinches.
Pinches said the college is benefiting from this partnership as they do not have to pay as those in precision agriculture have to.
Pinches said since students are not on campus they have not been able to use the system yet, but tests have been conducted as there is a margin of error due to a difference in the coordinate system used by Hanlon Ag and the one the college uses.
“I think for student work it’s going to be close enough. We do all that stuff in the south field here, so for what we’re doing it’s going to be close enough,” said Pinches.
Pinches said students are scheduled to be back on campus by Jan. 24, but it all depends on COVID-19 cases. If that is the case, students will be able to use the new technology by sometime in early February.

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