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A high-tech tool gets a better price

In our December issue we carried a feature from a Madison, Wis., conservation expert who advised that Google Earth Pro would be the best tool for pulling together a wide range of information for better decision-making on the farm.

The key, of course, was Google Earth Pro. This higher end version of Google Earth software will auto-convert files for better layer management, and you get access to a wide range of free maps that you can pull together for your operation. It's a solid way to turn all that data into geospatial knowledge about your farm.

Of course, Google Earth Pro had a cost - $399 per year - but it turns soon after we ran that story, Google did what it often does - it changed the rules. And at the end of January the company announced that Google Earth Pro would be free.

So if you're interested in pulling your maps and information into a single, easy to manage, location, the plan just got more reasonably priced (like how can you beat free!).

You can check out my story with Noel Anderson to learn more about how he sees Google Earth Pro as an advantage for your farm.

And soon after Google's announcement a Forbes blogger offered some information about what separates the old Google Earth from Google Earth Pro. That's helpful if you want to know what you've been missing by using only the free version.

With all the data you're amassing on your operation - someone once said every acre is 2.5 megabytes of information each year - pulling the information into one overarching graphically enabled tool makes sense. Decision making may just be getting easier.

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