With modern technology, almost everyone has access to GPS tracking. However, there are advanced GPS tools that can be used for more sophisticated tracking needs. One of the most accurate options is RTK GPS. RTK is short for Real-Time Kinematic, and this technique generates GPS signals through a fixed base station and a moving receiver. Due to the way the technology works, RTK can generate GPS coordinates that are accurate to the centimetre. This advanced technology has a lot of potential, but you need to know how to take care of it properly.
Start By Gathering The Right Supplies
To make your RTK GPS system work, you need to get all the supplies. Your system needs a pair of receivers. One receiver is situated as a base station. The other is a rover receiver, which is usually affixed to a vehicle. You also need a computer with the QGroundControl software. This software is critical to transmit and process the data to make GPS calculations. Finally, you need a vehicle. This vehicle must have some wireless access to your computer or laptop. It is particularly important to perform all maintenance on the vehicle, and you should get regular software updates for your computer system to keep your unit fully functional.
You Will Need A RTK Base Station
There are two options for your RTK GPS base station. In some cases, you may opt for a wireless station. These stations are provided to the public, and they are accessible via your wireless connection. You do not need a direct internet connection to access these base stations, but they may not be functional in all locations. Because of this, some people opt to create their own RTK base station. In order to set up a base station, you want to pick a location that is near your work area. It is best if it is within 25 miles of your site. All you need to set up your station is a GNSS base receiver, the appropriate RTK software and a computer with internet access.
Set Up Your Rover RTK Module
You also need a specialized rover module for your RTK system. This will be set up in your vehicle like any GPS module. Pick a system that is compatible with your GPS port. You need secure cables to connect the device to the port. Most people use a laptop to give them more flexibility. The laptop must be equipped with internet access, and it should be in good working order to support the data. You can also rely on a telemetry radio link. For the most efficient usage, set up your connection with MAVLink2.
Establish A Connection Between The Rover And The Base
Your home base must constantly communicate with your rover module. This is the only way to receive accurate GPS updates in real-time. Fortunately, the RTK connection process has been streamlined. Once you set up QGroundControl, you attach the base unit via a USB connection. The device should automatically be recognized. Then, start your vehicle and establish its connection with QGroundControl as well. To know if you are connected, look for the RTK status icon in the top icon bar. At this point, QGroundControl should start the Survey-In process, and you are ready to go.