High Accuracy Mapping with Trimble and Avenza Maps provide Improved Agriculture Irrigation Systems

The island of Tasmania, located just off the Southern coast of Australia has become a hot spot for agriculture and especially wine production in the region which is renowned for its cool climate wines. This is where Luke Taylor began his consulting company, AgAssist, after spending more than 25 years working in the farming industry. Taylor advises clients on various aspects of vineyard design and spends a great deal of his time mapping soil types, match varieties to soil types and generating block designs. He uses a combination of Trimble Geospatial GNSS devices, GIS software, and the Avenza Maps app to provide clients with a working blueprint of their proposed production areas. 

Irrigating crops

The first step in the process is obtaining elevation data from LIDAR collected by their local State Government. From this elevation data, contour, aspect and slope analysis are generated to help with the vineyard block design. Watershed and rainfall simulation analyses are also generated to help with the drainage design.

A site survey is then conducted to collect spatial data using a Trimble TSC3 device paired to an R8 Model 2 GPS to collect data points with a high degree of accuracy. This data is fed into QGIS which is used for the whole design process.

A field soil survey is then conducted with a deep soil probe to assess soil types so that blocks and varieties can be designed around soil type. The soils collected are analyzed and the results are used to generate a fertilizer and lime program.

Once the block and vineyard row design has been finalized, Taylor will then generate an end assembly and trellis post stakeout plan which will be marked out on the ground with a bio-degradable plastic spoon using a number of RTK GPS rovers linked to a base station.

Throughout the vineyard design process, it is critical for Taylor’s clients to be across the design. This is where Avenza Maps comes into play.

Irrigation Map

After the vineyard design has been generated, blueprints of the vineyard block layout, the irrigation system and the drainage plan are exported as a geospatial PDF which can be uploaded onto Avenza Maps. This allows Talor and his clients to navigate the field and visualize the vineyard layout using Avenza Maps on an iPhone, iPad or Android device. When a higher level of accuracy is required, Taylor has a Trimble R1 GPS available for the clients to pair with their phone to give them sub-meter accuracy.

Clients then use the intuitive mapping features in Avenza Maps to draw lines, mark points or take photos of areas of concern. This information is sent back to Taylor to refine and finalize the design plans. The collaborative and iterative approach to vineyard design has a tremendously beneficial impact on reducing the time and cost to complete the project. More importantly, the end result is a better and more efficient design that has fewer impacts on the environment and land.

Woman using irrigation device in a field
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