Trimble has for some time been working on an information management solution that would serve as connective software tissue to tie together its myriad hardware components, and 2010 is the year it will roll out in earnest.
Connected Farm is the name of this new system for managing precision agriculture data, which will be transported and collected wirelessly from the field to the farm office by a host of new capabilities and product offerings.
Underneath it all is EZ-Sync , a solution that delivers wireless connectivity throughout the entire farming cycle and fulfills a key component of the Connected Farm solution. Information flows seamlessly between the mobile handheld device, the display on the vehicle, and a computer in the office for efficient record keeping and reporting.
Trimble scouting devices work with the EZ-Sync solution to enable users to map field operations data while on foot, in a pickup truck or from an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and wirelessly transmit mapped data to and from the office.
EZ-Office Mobile 2010 software is compatible with the EZ-Sync solution, and is available bundled with the Trimble Nomad 800XC or compact Trimble Juno SC handheld computers that feature integrated 3G GSM wireless modems.
Support for CDMA wireless technology can be provided for use with the Nomad 800LC or Juno SB handheld computers via third party hardware.
Virtually any data can be collected and dispatched wirelessly between handheld units, in-cab displays, and the home office, including soil sample points, field boundaries and obstacles and agronomic notes such as pest infestations in season. Trimble Nomad and Juno handheld devices feature built in digital cameras that allow the user to capture geo-referenced pictures of problems such as weeds and insects, streamlining the process of acquiring complete information.
The EZ-Sync solution provides the FmX integrated display with the ability to wirelessly send data files like variable rate prescriptions and guidance lines from the field to the office or from the office to the field. A Sierra Wireless modem can be used in conjunction with the FmX display. The Connected Farm solution offers two types of modems (CDMA or GSM) for the FmX integrated display, depending on the user’s cellular needs.
This capability allows for the sharing of FmX-generated data such as collected AB lines and yield data wirelessly with the home office or other vehicles. It also extends to Trimble’s topography suite — data collected in the FieldLevel II mode of the FmX integrated display can be transferred to the office to create tile lines using the EZ-Surface software. Those lines can then be sent back to the FmX integrated display to control tile installation with Autoslope.
Back at the home base, Trimble EZ-Office 2010 software combines powerful mapping features with enhanced importing and exporting functionality. Information from the EZ-Sync solution on field displays wirelessly links to EZ-Office software for easy-to-use record keeping and reporting solutions that include field and crop management, vehicles, operators, staff, and crop inputs.
The package includes: tools for guidance line management, editing, and creation for Trimble displays; Google Maps background images and support for other imagery; Detailed supply tracking to show how much seed, fertilizer, and crop protection chemical has been applied; and data import and export from many popular yield monitors and third party systems.
An Update Service Plan (USP) for EZ-Office 2010 provides the customer with 12 months of software updates, as well as 12 months of telephone support.
As a step-up option, EZ-Office Pro 2010 software includes all the features of EZ-Office software, plus additional tools for information analysis. These include: formula-based prescription map generation for use with the EZ-Guide 500 lightbar, FmX integrated display, or other compatible displays; automated multi-year yield map averaging that allows users to identify consistently high and low yield areas of a field; and integration of financial data with precision farming operations for profit map analysis.
Finally, EZ-Surface software is an add-on water management module for EZ-Office Pro software. This surface analysis and design tool assists with the optimal placement of tile and surface drains and provides a host of 2D and 3D visual tools to help the user better understand field problems and select the best solutions.
The available 3D views and water flow analysis tools can be used to decide where surface ditches or subsurface tile lines should be installed to optimally drain the field, and ultimately increase crop yields. EZ-Office software drawing tools also allow the user to draw the lines right over the map on the screen.
Drainage lines drawn on the screen then produce a vertical profile of the existing surface along any line. This lets the operator quickly envisage if the location of the design will be an ideal place to put a ditch or install drainage pipe.
Exporting these designs back to the FmX integrated display lets you use the Autoslope feature of the FieldLevel II system to design the vertical component of your surface or sub-surface designs by defining slope and depth constraints. This allows the FieldLevel II system to automatically instruct any drainage machine or implement to install in the right place at the right depth and slope.
For more information on Connected Farm and its integrated components, visit www.trimble.com/agriculture