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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Tech Note

Air Date: Week of

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Just ahead, cleaning up the dry cleaning industry and sustainable wood stoves. But first, this environmental tech note from Cynthia Graber.

(Music up and under)

GRABER: Farmers can't drive their tractors at night or in heavy fog, but they probably never thought that help would come from a satellite. Usually, global position system, or GPS, technology can pinpoint a location to within a few feet. This isn't good enough for farmers who need to know within inches where they're driving. Now, NASA scientists may have a solution. Researchers studying the earth wanted more precise GPS systems to help pinpoint the effects of natural disasters and target relief efforts, among other goals. So scientists developed a computer system that actually corrects the positioning errors of the GPS satellite. With this new system, GPS can pinpoint your location to within only about four inches. When employees of an American tractor manufacturer heard about this technology, they immediately thought about how it could help American farmers. If the tractors are equipped with this new system, drivers will be able to navigate through inclimate weather and even at night. A little help from the heavens could give farmers the option to work in all conditions. That's this week's technology note. I'm Cynthia Graber.

TOOMEY: And you're listening to Living on Earth.




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