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Portable GPS Systems

Ease your workload while saving money in the long run with two new GPS innovations.

A little ingenuity can reduce trips to the field when scouting for pests or spraying your fields. One company has added features -- such as laser technology used by the police force -- to update its portable GPS system. And a creative farmer mounted his GPS system inside a toolbox so he can move it from implement to implement.

Virtual field scout. In our January 1998 issue, we featured a backpack GPS unit that, used with a souped-up camcorder, recorded weeds and other pests along with their field location. Now this video mapping system, the VMS 200, has new features for reporting observations in the field.

Location is recorded by a small black box about the size of a wallet and is corrected by government-owned signals transmitted over the Internet once you download the data to your office PC.

Using the same technology found in the laser guns police use for speed detection on highways, the system allows you to lock in the field coordinates of objects up to 1,000 ft. away through the camera's viewfinder. Price range: 3,995 dollars to 4,995 dollars, depending on equipment. Contact Red Hen Systems Inc., Dept. FIN, 800 Stockton Ave., #2, Ft. Collins, CO 80524, 970/493-3952.

Technology in a toolbox. Installing a GPS system in a toolbox saved Ted Shambaugh of Cerro Gordo, IL, thousands of dollars.

Shambaugh says his desire to be more accurate and more at ease in applying fertilizer in a swath-type determination motivated him to design his portable GPS system. He installed a parallel swath guidance unit in a toolbox, which allows him to transfer it between implements.

By installing the system in a toolbox, he avoided buying several GPS systems. He uses the system on his ATV, tractors, sprayers, planter and floaters and says the system is ideal for spraying because it allows him freedom to pay more attention to the sprayer gauges and less attention to the sprayer's booms.

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