SMS Map Skills: From Coordinates to a Map

SMS Map Skills is a series of step by step instructions for unique mapping tasks to get the most out of the extensive power of AgLeader’s SMS software suite.

Selected Points in a Field

Someone gave you some coordinates to find in a field…… So how do you get a bunch of coordinates into a more usable format for mapping and navigation?

Intro: When you have been provided with some coordinates to find in a field, it is usually because they have used some barely capable ‘free’ app that cannot make a transferable file, such as an industry standard shapefile set. Or they do not know how, or do not have the tools for this common practice of making shapefiles to communicate with others who have geographic programs that “speak” in mapfiles. Two of the most common shareable files are Shapefiles (a 3 or 4 file set all of which must be sent and stored together), or KML (KMZ) files which are the Google format.

  1. Create a spreadsheet and enter or copy / paste the coordinate pairs. Give yourself a header with latitude, longitude and a location number such as sample ID or other identifier. Your column order does not really matter. Be logical. NOTE that the coordinates are expressed in decimal degrees. This is the most common format used in agriculture. The beauty of this format is that the coordinates are NUMERICAL, whereas coordinates expressed as degrees minutes seconds are treated as text and not as easily used for this method.**
Create a Spreadsheet to contain the coordinate Pairs and Header

2. Next save this created file as a CSV, not an xls or xlsx. CSVs or Comma Separated Values is a widely understood simple text format that many programs, including Google Earth can import. Pay attention to where you are saving the file so you can find it when ready to import into SMS.

Save coordinate file as a CSV format

3. Next open your SMS project. Select READ FILES and select Text files, and highlight the CSV format.

Read this File into SMS via Text File Import

4. You will be presented with a preview of the file and since it is a CSV, SMS will know it and the correct settings, like knowing there is a header line should be set for you.

CSV Import Setup

5. The next window that opens in a text file import is the one where we indentify which column is latitude and which is longitude. (Many files come in with variations such as x, y or lon, lat as the header so you are confirming it.) Once selected, tap finish.

Confirm which columns are Latitude and Longitude

6. You will now be presented with a preview of the file’s geography. Tap next.

Import Map Preview

7. Choose the type of SMS operation you want to make with the file. Generic is fine or if these are sample locations that will eventually receive soil test data from a lab, select soil sampling operation.

Choose the kind of SMS Operation to Create with Imported File (Generic or Soil Sampling)

8. You will be presented with an optional items to import, and if you had a column (as in the example) of a location number you can assign it to an SMS attribute such as Soil Sample ID or description etc.

Assign any other columns to an SMS Attribute i.e. Location ID = Soil Sample ID

9. Lastly, add it to your management hierarchy, where it will be stored and available for you to EXPORT as a shapefile in a customary manner to send to your logging device of choice. This layer can also be sent out to AgLeader AgFiniti map view!

Add to Management Hierarchy

10. Display in map form as you would any other layer, print or export as required.

The Imported Map Ready for Legend, Print, Long Term Storage or Export

**There are a number of utilities found on the internet for converting coordinate formats https://www.rapidtables.com/convert/number/degrees-minutes-seconds-to-degrees.html

Tip: If you add the Growername, Farmname and Fieldname to the spreadsheet you can assign those columns to the management items for an auto assignment to the hierarchy. This is helpful if you are doing a large number of these and want to employ the batch import.

If you are doing this multiple times, tell your coordinate provider to look into changing their settings to display decimal degrees!

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