It's cold, it's late, you"re driving home from the public speaking contest when suddenly, BAM, you hit a patch of ice and your car slides out of control. Across the road, through the ditch, into the left over stubble of a corn field, finally stopping at an old tree. Then it happens. You hear the voice .
"Your name are you all right?" You pause and wonder Where is the voice coming from? "Your name, this is Angie with On-Star. Our system indicates that your airbag have been deployed. Are you in need of assistance?" You try to answer, but no words will come out. "your name, this is Angie with On-Star. We have identified the position of your vehicle, and since you are unable to respond at this time, we have contacted the local police department and help is on the way.".
Now I bet you are wondering what any of this has to do with agriculture. Well sit back, relax, and let me tell you a story of how the same technology used by On-Star has changed the face of farming.
In the 1980s, everyone wanted to talk about sustainable agriculture. In the 1990s, it was precision agriculture (Thompson). Now, GPS and remote sensing have moved precision agriculture to the forefront. .
To many people, the Global Positioning System, or GPS, was once thought to be a mega system used by the government and military and not something that the average Joe would ever see up close. Well, things have changed! Many people today are familiar with GPS systems, such as On Star, that they can install in their vehicles or GPS programs available for your cell phone and your Palm Pilot as well. Yet, the average citizen may not think of GPS as something that has helped the agricultural industry.
Even those that are familiar with the name, GPS, probably can not tell you what it really is or how it functions, so here's the quick introduction course. According to renowned physicist Edward Taylor, GPS includes 24 satellites that circle the Earth every 12 hours.