RTK Solution Providers
RTK Correction signals can come from many places. Some operators choose to operate their own local base stations, others choose a service provider to acquire a signal. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Self Operated Base station
Owning an RTK base station is an investment. The hardware itself costs $10,000-$15,000. Paired with a radio to broadcast the signal you can access your base station for a 6-8 mile radius. The 900mhz radio has limited penetration when around tree's and buildings, which can cause your monitor to fall back to WAAS level accuracy at times. After the initial investment and setup, there are few on going costs.
A CORS network is a Continuously Operating Reference Station. This is essentially a way to buy access to another operators RTK network. In some parts of the country these are operated by state agencies and offered to the public for free, here in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey we do not have such a luxury. CORS networks packetize the RTK correction signal and push it over the internet. This helps extend the reach beyond the 6-8 miles of a 900Mhz radio. Many CORS networks employ VRS (Virtual Reference Station) technology to improve accuracy between the towers. CORS towers are spaced 50-60 miles apart, VRS helps improve accuracy for users at longer distances from the towers by averaging the correction results. While VRS has its merits, there are drawbacks induced by tower averaging. Repeatability, perhaps the biggest appeal of the RTK can be harmed as the topology of the base stations changes. For this reason you don't see providers publishing firm promises on the exact accuracy and repeatability like you do for static RTK connections. Examples of popular CORS networks are Keynet, MyWayRTK, and DigiFarm.
Messick's RTK Network
Messick's owners and operates our own RTK base stations and software to push the corrections over the internet. We've chosen to pass up expensive VRS software in favor of a allowing you to choose the tower your connecting to, ensuring predictable performance. We can move the correction signal in one of two methods. Popular tractor modems like the Trimble DCM300 or Intuitcom products can be used for an always on - set it and forget it connection. We also offer a NTRIP app for Android allowing you to use your existing cell phone and data plan to connect to the service. This method offers considerable savings negating the need for an expensive modem and extra data plan.
We broadcast both Trimble CMR+ and the industry standard RTCMv3 Protocol. Our NTRIP caster software resides on a cluster of air conditioned servers with a diesel backup generator. Internet service is provided over fiber with the capacity to scale to thousands of users.
Messick's price for our RTK correction service is $495\Year.
Half the price of competing CORS networks.
Price is per concurrent connection. New accounts require a $500 setup and connection fee, including reprogramming of existing DCM300 or other modems. Monitors may require unlocks to RTK level service at an additional cost.
If you see further application for RTK in you operation, contact a Messick's precision farming specialist.
In late 2015, we started building our network out of our main location in Elizabethtown, PA. We expect to add more base stations in the near future. If you have interest in using our network. Please email SethG@Messicks.com. Further network expansion will be based upon interest from different geographic areas.