Top 5 Best RTK GPS Receivers for Agriculture

Finding a good GPS antenna for your agriculture  projects can be difficult and time consuming. With more and more brand entering the market won’t make it any easier.

Normally you would have gone to your local dealer and he would tell you he has the best receiver for you, but is this really true? Most local dealers only have 1 to 2 brands and probably just offer you what they want to sell you, not which receiver is best and most cost-effective for you. 

Active users of RTK GPS equipment in the agriculture business use the equipment for several reasons. Besides using it for machine control and/or autonomous driving, a lot of farmers use a GPS surveying set to stake out their property. Collection of coordinates and mapping of the workable area are also included in the day to day job. 

The RTK GNSS receiver sets are pretty similar to the GPS sets used by land surveyors however the big difference is, farmers normally don’t work in challenging conditions like urban environments.

Most GNSS interferences a farmer will come across are from trees or standalone building. I mean you would still need a good performing GPS antenna but the best of the best is just overkill and a waist of money

 

Performance and price are 2 of the key ingredients of finding a good GPS receiver. Of course there are more components that play a role which we take in consideration as well. 

Here is our review process in detail:

  1. Performance
  2. Price
  3. Connectivity
  4. Compatibility
  5. Features  

Top 5 Best RTK GNSS Receivers For Farmers in 2022

Below is a list of the top 5 best RTK GNSS receivers for farmers that we think are cost effective and work well in the environments common in the agriculture industry.

Please note: As you probably know, a GPS surveying set is not complete without a good surveying software solution. Where the GNSS antenna determines the location its the software that allows you to determine what to do with this location. Wether this is uploading your DTM (digital terrain model) for staking out, or for point collection. In this review we focus on the GNSS antenna only because this is responsible for the performance. Please read the article below for a good software solution: 

  • Software Help Guide – Top 5 software for land surveying

 

1. South Galaxy G7 – Best overall

 

Galaxy G1 Pros

+  1598 Channels 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  60° IMU tilt sensor

+  8 km “Farlink” radio solution

+  410-470 MHz range internal radio 

+  Robust aluminum housing

 

South g7
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The South Galaxy G7 is the RTK GNSS receiver we recommend for the agriculture industry. It is the cheaper version of the high performance South INNO7 GPS receiver.

The reason we have picked the Galaxy G7 as the number one receiver is first of all its price. You won’t find a GNSS receiver with this performance for the same price very quickly. 

The South Galaxy G7 RTK GPS receiver isn’t as strong as some other GPS receivers like for instance the South INNO7, but in the agriculture business you’ll have more than enough power with this GPS antenna.  

Its standard NMEA protocol allows you to connect the GNSS receiver to any software or machine you like. Within its intuitive user interface you can choose which parts of the NMEA string you want to include or not. This is good to reduce noise when you only need the GGA data. Connect the GNSS receiver to any software package via bluetooth, cable or via WiFi.

Last but not least the South Galaxy G7 RTK GNSS receivers internal radio uses the 410-470 MHz range and can use the protocol Farlink which allows it to achieve a working range of 8 kilometers. This allows you to set up another GNSS receiver as a base station and be able to connect the two receivers with eachother for a distance of 8 kilometers. 

Here are some possible Galaxy G7 setups

South Galaxy G7 Rover set

South Galaxy G7 Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options
Galaxy-G7-1

South Galaxy G7 Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

 

2. Emlid Reach RS2+ – Cheapest price

 

Reach RS2 Pros

+  4G internet 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  Free surveying app (Reachview)

+  Internal battery (+10 Hrs)

+  Ublox GNSS chip 

 

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The newest RTK GPS receiver of Emlid is the Reach RS2+. This GPS antenna is an upgrade of the previous Emlid Reach RS2. Emlid has upgraded the 3.5G internet modem in the RTK GNSS receiver to a 4G internet modem. 

The Emlid RTK GNSS receivers are possibly one of the most user friendly devices currently on the market. The Reach RS2+ comes standard with a free Surveying app called Reachview. This app is downloadable from the Google Play store and Apple store. With this app you can access the Emlid’s user interface where you can do your surveying jobs but also setup and change the settings of the GNSS receiver itself. Since the app connects to the GNSS receiver via WiFi it is also possible to access it via a web browser. This means that you can run the free application on any device you like. 

The price is also very attractive on the Emlid RS2+ GPS antenna. With around €2145 it is one of the cheapest GNSS receivers on the market. In terms of performance they are surprisingly good as well. 

In terms of connectivity the Emlid RS2+ RTK GPS receiver is able to connect via Bluetooth, USB or via the internet. This allows you to connect the device to any other software you want it to. Its internal battery is good for around 10 to 12 hours of continuous surveying. 

 

Here are some possible Reach RS2+ setups

Reach RS2+ Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options

Reach RS2+ Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

 

3. EFIX F7 – Affordable

 

EFIX F7 Pros

+  824 Channels 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  12 hours battery life in RTK mode 

+  Able to charge from a mobile power bank

+  IMU tilt sensor up to 60°

 

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The EFIX F7 is a great RTK GNSS receiver for its price. With its 824 channels you’ll have more than enough to get a quick fix which makes the EFIX F7 GNSS receiver a great choice for the agriculture business. 

The EFIX F7 RTK GPS antenna has an IMU tilt sensor which allows you to tilt up to 60°. Having an IMU tilt sensor in your RTK GNSS receiver will save you a lot of time because you don’t have to make sure your GNSS receiver is held plumb and ready to measure all the time. 

This GNSS receiver has a magnesium alloy housing which makes the GNSS receiver light and strong. With its IP67 rating you know the EFIX F7 can handle some dust and water, perfect for working on the land.   

In RTK mode you’ll be able to work 12 hours non-stop thanks to the optimized power consumption this GPS receiver has. The EFIX F7 GPS receiver also let’s you charge the device with a mobile power bank, allowing it to be recharged anytime and anywhere. 

Here are some possible EFIX F7 setups

EFIX F7 Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options

EFIX F7 Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

 

4. South Galaxy G3 – Newest South model

 

South Galaxy G3 Pros

+  1598 Channels

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Connect via IP, Bluetooth, Cable

+  IMU tilt sensor up to 60°

+  Built-in 6800mAh high-performance battery

+  15 hours of continuous operation and fully charged in 3 hours

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South is currently the biggest geospatical manufacturer in China and has over 3000 employees. They exist for over 15 years now and deliver very good and reliable products. So it’s no surprise you find them twice in this list.

The South Galaxy G3 RTK GNSS receiver is their newest model and also uses the new Farlink protocol. The Farlink protocol let’s your South Galaxy G3 GPS receiver have a radio with a maximum range of 15 kilometers. Also the power consumption of your GNSS receiver is reduced by 60% with this protocol. 

Thanks to the IP68 rating this RTK GPS receiver is protected from long time immersion to a depth of 1 meter and fully protected against blowing dust. The IMU tilt sensor let’s you tilt the GNSS receiver up to 60° which will make working with this device way smoother. 

With the new function ‘RTK Keep’ the South Galaxy G3 GNSS antenna is able to keep centimeter-level accuracy for a few minutes when the RTK correction is missing. 

You can ofcourse connect this GNSS receiver with an RTK VRS or CORS nework to get centimeter level accuracy but you can also connect the GPS receiver with another GPS receiver to setup a rover and base set to get your correction data from your own base station.

Here are some possible South Galaxy G3 setups

South Galaxy G3 Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options

South Galaxy G3 Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

 

5. Stonex S850 – Good performance

 

S850A Pros

+  4G internet 

+  Fast FIX (CM accurate in 5 sec)

+  Hemisphere GNSS board with L-band

+  Connect via Bluetooth, Cable

+  E-bubble and tilt sensor (up to 60° angle)

+  Easy to use Cube-a software (optional)

 

Stonex S850ANew
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Stonex is a well-known company in Europe and is based in Italy. It is correlated with the China based company Unistrong which on its own is connected to Hemisphere again. The Stonex S850A is probably not the most sold RTK GNSS receiver from the company but in terms of performance and price it is a good alternative for the agriculture industry. 

Same as the previous GPS antenna’s it is a full constellation GNSS receiver with 800 channels. Triple frequency satellite tracking with centimeter accuracy. One of the upsides of the S850A is its versatility. You can use it like any other GPS antenna as a network rover where you connect to an existing VRS RTK- or CORS network but you can also set it up with another S850A GNSS receiver which acts as a single base station. It then transmits the data via the internal radio of the GNSS receivers for when you are working in remote areas where there is no internet reception. 

Another feature of the S850A RTK GPS is the L-band correction. Since it has a Hemisphere GNSS chip inside you can use the Atlas correction service. This satellite based correction service can provide you an accuracy of approximately 10cm. It is not as accurate as RTK but for some applications this accuracy might not be needed. 

In terms of data connectivity the Stonex S850A RTK GPS receiver works the same as all other GPS receivers. Connect the GNSS receiver via Bluetooth to your data collector and start measuring. Stonex offers its own survey application which is Cube-a. This is a paid version but is relatively easy to use. of course you can connect your own application if you like since it uses the standard NMEA protocol.

Here are some possible S850A setups

Stonex S850A Rover set

A standard RTK GPS set for mapping your terrain, staking out or collecting points.

Check options

Stonex S850A Rover and Base set

When you live in a remote area a second GPS receiver is needed to act as a base station for correction data. 

Check options

Things to consider when choosing an RTK GPS receiver for Agriculture purposes

 

1. Besides The GPS Antenna You Will Need Surveying Software As Well

With just a GNSS receiver you are not going to get far. Yes the GPS antenna provides you with the positioning data and the accuracy that you need but you’ll still need a place to process all of this. 

This is what land surveying software is for. Within the software you can attach data to your GPS positioning data. By uploading DTM (Digital Terrain Models) into your software you can stake out these points based on the positioning data your GPS system provides. 

The receivers listed above are all compatible with most of the GPS survey software packages so connecting should not be an issue. Now the questions remains, Which software package do I need? You can read the article below to find a good solution:

  • Software Help Guide – Top 5 software for land surveying

 

2. Internet connection and Radio

Since farming and agriculture mostly happens in rural areas the change you will have a stable internet connection is small. 

What does this mean for you? Well if you want to use a VRS RTK- or CORS network you might run into some issues. These networks send the correction data via the internet which means you won’t be able to receive any. 

For this reason most farmers will place their own base station which they can use. These base stations send the data via UHF radio which always works. So before making a decision on which RTK GPS receiver to buy, check if your area has stable internet and if there is an existing CORS network

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