TracMap TM335 GPS
TracMap NZ Ltd’s GPS systems are suitable for the difficult and irregular terrain that is found on many New Zealand farms
- Can be used for irrigation, effluent, spraying, fertilizer, and staff management
- Coverage map for proof of placement
- User-friendly interface
- Mapping of obstacles to save time
- Base unit upgradeable
TracMap was established in 2005 by farmer and ag consultant, Colin Brown, after he spotted an opening in the market for an easy to use system suited to New Zealand conditions. Operators were finding the mostly American-designed GPS systems were more suited to large, flat, regular-shaped paddocks rather than the rolling to steep country that a lot of Otago and Southland bulk spreaders operate on.
With creeks, gullies and odd-shaped paddocks to contend with, the GPS needed to be easy to use and enable operators guidance at a glance.
TracMap now has about half the bulk spreader market in NZ and a large number of spraying contractors and farmers using TracMap units. It has continued to develop its products in consultation with its customers and recently developed the easy to use TracMap Flight system for aerial operators.
The company also makes the TM465 model, suited to farmers and municipal contractors, and used for irrigation, effluent, spraying, fertiliser and even staff management.
I was in Rangiora with Amberley-based spraying contractor, Chris Ensor, who has two sprayers fitted with TracMap TM335 units. The system is used for guidance and is accurate enough that the foam marker is not used.
The unit is very easy to set up, as menu headings are used instead of icons and once operating it is simply a matter of "colouring in" the map on the screen. It shows blue for overlaps and green if you drive too wide, but does take some getting used to if, like me, you are used to having the foam to give a guide. With foam you generally take a line on something in your line of sight, to the left may be the top of the RUC holder and to the right the top of the mirror, giving you a visible reference to line up on the foam. With no foam, on GPS you have to anticipate a bit more as when turning on the headlands you are using the image on the screen as a guide instead of the foam, but you soon get used to it.
The TracMap updates five times per second so the image is always accurate, but as with foam you are always focusing on a mark at the end of the run and watching the screen out of the corner of your eye.
Soon to be released is the ability to display area covered, speed and area remaining on the main screen.
Hazards, such as hydrants or troughs, can be marked on the move if required, as can gateways and sources of water. This means a driver can be sent to do future jobs and not waste valuable spraying time looking for water as it’s already in the GPS.
Advantages of GPS
Proof of placement is one advantage of GPS, as a record is created of the sprayer operating at that particular time and place, allowing a coverage map to be provided when the job is invoiced. The TM335 also sends coverage maps via a cellular modem to the TracMap server, where they can then be uploaded into mapping software and displayed on a farm map or as a Google Earth image.
A sprayer clocks up a lot of offroad RUC and the GPS allows these to be claimed as it gives an accurate record of these.
The system can be purchased as the base model TM333 unit, which can then be upgraded if required to higher specifications. Existing customers are offered any upgrades that are developed at the cost difference plus a technical fee. TracMap offers a two-year warranty and a two-month money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.