Iowa Real-Time Network


IaRTN SmartNet

The Iowa DOT has deployed a statewide real-time kinematic (RTK), global positioning system (GPS) network using existing Iowa DOT's facilities and wide area network (WAN) communications infrastructure. In 2006, the Iowa DOT conducted a business model study to examine the potential models for the deployment and operations of a RTK-GPS network.

The study results helped the Iowa DOT develop a business model that best suits the department's needs. Under the model, the Iowa DOT owns the system, but contracts out the system administration and management. The RTK-GPS network is used for Iowa DOT applications, and it is available for other governmental agencies and private sector users.

After a thorough evaluation process, including a written proposal and installation of demonstration networks by competing firms, Leica Geosystems was selected to install, integrate and maintain the IaRTN. The first 80 base stations were installed in the last half of 2008, and the network went online Feb. 2, 2009. Data from the IaRTN base stations along Iowa’s borders are shared with other DOT RTK networks in Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. In return, those three networks share the data from their base stations along the Iowa border with the IaRTN. The sharing enhances all three networks along the border areas. Currently the network consists of 103 base stations (83 Iowa DOT sites, 10 Minnesota DOT sites and 3 Wisconsin DOT sites).

The network is used for surveying, engineering and geographical information system applications, along with machine control from both the construction industry and agricultural sector.