In September 2010, MyWay RTK set out to launch a broadly compatible real-time kinematic GPS network in Illinois that would provide end-users with signal access regardless of the color of equipment they use. As implementation progressed and word spread about the system, the potential to expand beyond Illinois became clear. Now, MyWay RTK is racing full tilt toward expanding its reach west and south where RTK demand is high.
Last month, precision ag technology expert Andy Hill joined MyWay as vice general manager to help keep the expansion moving forward. He says that making RTK GPS access as open as possible is a critical factor both for extending the adoption of high-accuracy global positioning, and the adoption of precision practices in general.
“We’ve seen RTK adoption continue to evolve and grow, and we are really still in the early phases,” says Hill. “What we have witnessed is a change in the way it is delivered, at the start it was radio based, and several companies built out radio-based systems. But they are expensive to maintain and they can be challenging to set up. Now is a good time to invest in an RTK delivery mechanism that uses the power of the Internet.”
The biggest thing Hill says that the company wants to do is deliver the signal in more of a standardized message format. “Lots of sources out there are proprietary and only work with certain equipment. We want to see RTK go out as a standardized message that anybody can use with whatever equipment they purchase. The system needs to allow the user to retain information and move it from device to device year after year.”
Hill says that MyWay is trying to promote the use of RTCM V3, which delivers RTK correction data for both GPS and GLONASS. The only exceptions to compatibility with the MyWay RTK signal are John Deere, which uses a completely proprietary signal, and Trimble, whose receivers are not yet compatible with the RTCM V3 protocol.
Hill understands that equipment manufacturers create proprietary systems to make the user experience as even as possible across the entire country, and to maintain as much control over that experience as possible. Hill hopes that if MyWay reaches its goal of coast-to-coast coverage that manufacturers will be less inclined to be proprietary in their approach to GPS.