Realising the benefits of precise positioning: Agriculture

Wednesday, 22 March, 2017
Use Type 
Use Case

Precise positioning technology offers an exciting opportunity for all Australians. The ability to identify a location anywhere in Australia with a real-time accuracy of three centimetres enables a range of activities to be conducted more efficiently, from growing crops to constructing roads and navigating transport networks. The industries that have been early adopters have already realised the benefits of their investment — economically, environmentally and socially.

Widespread access to precise positioning technology is estimated to boost the national economy by between $7.8 and $13.72 billion1 by 2020. Geoscience Australia is playing an important role in fostering the uptake and ongoing development of this technology through the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability.

This program will establish the necessary infrastructure on the ground that provides the foundation for the technology.

The National Positioning Infrastructure Capability will ensure all Australians have an opportunity to access continuous, reliable and precise positioning information.

To better understand these benefits and how this technology is currently being used in Australia, read the five case studies. They provide a snapshot of the new and innovative uses that will continue to arise as the technology continues to evolve and more industries get involved.

[1] ACIL Allen Consulting, 2013, The value of augmented GNSS in Australia., Accessed 24 August 2015.

Use Case-Requirement Category 
Agency/Working Group or Committee 
Associated Stakeholder or System 
Geoscience Australia
Benefit Realised 

...Improves yield

Grain and cotton growers have readily adopted precise positioning technology for controlled traffic farming and interrow sowing activities. It enables tractors to be accurately guided along designated wheel tracks, maximising the cropping area and, as a result, improving yields.


...Reduces waste

Accurate guiding of machinery allows seeds to be sown precisely between rows, meaning inputs such as water, fertiliser and herbicide can be applied directly over the crop with less wastage. This negates the need to clear crop stubble from previous harvests, bringing additional cost savings to the farmer.


...Benefits the environment

Precise application of inputs has important environmental benefits. There is less risk of chemicals entering waterways and degrading water quality. Following the same wheel tracks means there is less damage to the soil.