10669 E. Washington St. Rd.
Argenta, IL 62501


In simple terms, RTK (Real Time Kinetic) GPS is highly accurate DGPS equipment. The RTK GPS setup incorporates a fixed base station which communicates an offset position (correction factor) to a "rover" (the mobile reciever), which compensates for many error conditions and greatly improves accuracy. Standard GPS, such as the car navigation variety, can give X, Y positioning within a meter, and Z (elevation) precision to several meters or more. With RTK GPS X,Y, and Z precision are in the sub-centimeter range. There are many corrections schemes that are called RTK, utilizing bases such as transmitted from equipment dealerships, cell phone networks, and others - with varying degrees of accuracy. For the highest precision and repeatabitly, the best option is to have a fixed base on-site. This provides sub-centimeter accuracy which is required for elevation accuracy and precise grade control.  This is the system used by SFDI.


GPS technology is an improvement over laser grade control, in that it follows the curvature of the earth. Lasers transmit a straight line plane and are excellent for short distances, say within 1000', but must always be kept close for highest accuracy.

The other major benefit also has to do with the inherent straight line characteristics of a laser. A laser transmitter with grade must always be pointed in the direction that grade is to be run. On winding runs, some accuracy can be sacrificed in terms of maintaining a prescribed grade. When a change in direction is severe enough, the tranmitter must then be changed. This is subjective to the operator of the laser. RTK GPS supplies an absolutely known position in relation to any other previous position, and with the proper software, consistent grade can constantly be maintained. This makes it possible to lay tile accurately in any direction. An example would be laying tile along contours of a hill. Not only does this improve precision, but efficiency as well, since the operator never needs to move a transmitter or worry about the grade it has been set to.


Currently all topography mapping, as-built mapping, and plowing machine control utiilize RTK GPS.


For years, the tried and true method for controlling grade has used laser technology. Incorporating a laser transmitter, capable of being set to a prescribe grade, and a machine control reciever.


Highly precise when operated correctly within its limitations. Not subject to atmospheric disturbances. Quckly available for small tasks like setting manholes, random tiles or tile repairs.


Currently trenching operations utilize laser grade machine control. Other operations include general construction and septic installations.

Computer Aided Design

SFDI was the first contractor in the USA, to utilize CAD for complete tile desgn. Since 1993, our methodolgy has been the same; generate an accurate topographical survey, create an optimal tile system design, and provide an accurate to scale as-built map.

SFDI's designs aren't just lines on a piece of paper either. Our software virtually "buries" the tile design to prescribed parameters, allowing us to identify problem areas and improve efficiency - before any digging begins. Once a proper design has been worked out, SFDI can virtually flow water through it, determining optimum sizes based on a prescribed drainage coefficient. If provided with existing tile maps, these tiles can be incorporated in during the design phase.

Design Parameters

Many factors go into a proper design. Soil types, outlet depth, and tile properties are only a few. Typical design parameters used for our region are a 3'-5' burial depth, with laterals on 100' spacings. In certain areas, closer spacing may be desired, usually ponds or other high compaction areas. A drainage coefficient of 3/8" is typical for central Illinois. If requested, other coefficients can be used, however less is generally not recommended.

Finally, a map

To scale as-builts of completed work are provided for all tile and septic installations. These are provded in printed form, but are available upon request in PDF, DXF, or AutoCad DWG format (thru Autocad 2010 format).


Drainage Specific

"State of the art" Port Industries 3300 tile plow. Capable of laying up to 6" tile, 7' deep.


Port Industries Hydramaxx 2600 wheel trencher. Capable of laying up to 24" tile (35" trench), 7' deep.


Brown Bear II auger/backfiller. Augers are the prefered way to properly backfill plastic tile as they provide a pulverized continuous ribbon of backfill material.

Support equiment consisting of stringing trailers, trucks and up to 4 JD backhoes.

General Excavating / Dirt Work

Case CX 210B excavator with electronic bucket monitoring from Ocala instruments. Several attachments including ditch cleaning and sheep's foot compactor.

4 JD backhoes used in numerous operations.

2 Skid steers for small - medium dirt work.

JD 700J Dozer

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