Trimble (TRMB.Q) acquired the MidStates VRS network from Butler Machinery and Frontier Precision earlier this week.

The purchase of the North and South Dakota based network increases the reach of Trimble’s VRS Now GNSS corrections service to over one million square miles in North America.

“The MidStates VRS network covers significant farmland, oil fields and rapidly developing urban areas, providing farmers and surveyors in the region with the real-time GNSS correction services they need to improve their day-to-day work. The purchase of the MidStates network demonstrates Trimble’s ongoing commitment to provide a wide range of correction services for autonomous solutions—delivering unmatched access to fast, reliable and highly accurate positioning in more areas than ever before,” said Patricia Boothe, senior vice president of Trimble’s Autonomy Sector.

First, VRS stands for virtual reference station and they use real-time kinematic (RTK) solutions to provide high-accuracy RTK global navigation satellite systems. They use data from several permanent reference stations to compute corrections, and are generally more accurate than stations using only one single reference. These corrections are broadcast over the internet.

Specifically, Trimble networks consist of a global network operations consisting of GNSS system engineers, geodesy experts and IT professionals. The team monitors the networks all day every day from operation centres spread out over three contingents, and provide reliable service uptime and performance integrity.

The coverage for the VRS Now service assists users in three different categories—productivity, overhead reduction through operating costs and security improvements. The service will help professionals working in agriculture, geospatial and construction, but also emerging applications including lane-keeping for passenger vehicles, Vehicle-to-Anything (V2X) position identification an unmanned aerial system guidance.

The acquisition also adds 105,000 square miles of coverage to Trimble’s VRS Now Network, expanding the total reach to over one million square miles, and making the network one of the largest in North America and contributing to their move towards an emphasis on software, services and subscription business.

The Trimble VRS Now service gives land and construction surveyors, GIS professionals and farmers the ability to use instant high accuracy corrections delivered via cellular network to improve productivity. It lets users work without a GNSS base station, using a service that’s both cost-effective and user friendly, and ideal for applications that require sub-inch level accuracy. It’s also an important component of the connected construction site and connected farm workflows.

—Joseph Morton

Written By:

Joseph Morton

Joseph is a Vancouver-based author and journalist with both a communications degree and journalism diploma (and a few novels) under his belt. His joie de vivre is to spin difficult technical topics into more human-centric narratives. Buy him a coffee and he'll talk your ear off for hours about privacy issues, blockchain, cryptocurrency and martial arts. Don't talk to him if you're either a tomato, a bully, or if you're not a fan of either 1984 or Tender is the Night. No. You can still talk to him. Just be prepared to be told why you're wrong.

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geospatial and construction
global navigation satellite systems
MidStates VRS
real-time kinematic solutions
Trimble VRS Network
virtual reference station
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