2008 Winner: Outstanding Commercial Achievement in Alberta Science and Technology (>25M)
Leading The Market In Industrial GPS Products
Hemisphere GPS Inc. is revolutionizing the way farmers work their fields by introducing precision farming tools. The company’s guidance and auto-steering products allow farmers seeding, swathing or combining their fields to improve efficiency and decrease input costs. With the guidance systems farmers can set a map in a desired pattern, be it a straight line, a circle or adjusted to contours.
Tackling an Industry Problem
“This is important to farmers because traditionally they have purposely overlapped rows to avoid skipping ground cover,” explains Steven Koles, president and CEO of Hemisphere GPS Inc. “They can lose up to 10 per cent of the land like that. So Outback® helps reduce fuel, fertilizer and seed costs.”
Mr. Koles says Outback’s® auto-steering system also offers huge benefit to farmers. “It eliminates driver fatigue,” he explains. “That way they can work longer hours and through the night. It takes fewer days and helps farmers avoid potential severe weather. that translates to better crop yields.” The benefits of this technology and the precision farming practices it fosters, include soil conservation. Farmers can do what is called ‘fine-line tilling’, pre-planting nutrients in the autumn after harvest and return in the spring to plant seeds in the same rows without disturbing the soil.
“It’s almost like hand seeding,” Mr. Koles explains. And once again crop yields can be improved through the effective growing process.
Know wonder Hemisphere GPS is leaving its competitors in the proverbial dust. The Outback® suite of products claim more than half of the global market share in after-market precision agriculture GPS applications. Over 100,000 farmers in 50 countries are using the company’s products. With over 70 per cent of their clients in North America, Hemisphere GPS is focusing on international growth.
“We haven’t even scratched the surface yet,” Mr. Koles says.
The company, which is traded on The Toronto Stock Exchange, is a global leader in precision commercial GPS technology and products. It achieved revenue growth of 27 per cent, from $45.9 million in 2006 to $58.1 million in 2007. Growth in the first quarter of 2008 was up 56 per cent, setting new records for the company.
While the Outback® products comprise 85 per cent of Hemisphere GPS’s revenue, the company’s products have other industrial applications in strip mining, construction, marine and aviation.
A partnership with the University of Calgary, Hemisphere GPS continues to develop intellectual property. It has 40 patents pending or approved.
“We are working together to make Calgary a little known centre of excellence in geomatics,” Mr. Koles explains. “We are pushing the level of innovation in what GPS can do in industrial markets.”