If you are in charge of a sports complex or a system of community parks, it’s that time of year again. It’s time to start painting those athletic fields now that the worst months of winter are in the rearview mirror. 

Yes, we get that reading that last sentence may have made your stomach drop and your heart palpitate. If so, the GPS field painter by Traqnology (called Sportstraq) just might be the right fit for you.

Sportstraq uses the precision of GPS and robotic technology to ensure that you get the exact field design you need quickly and using a minimum amount of paint. (For example, you can paint an 11v11 soccer field in less than 15 minutes, using only 1.25 gallons of paint!) However, unlike other robotic field painters, Sportstraq attaches to UTVs so it can handle just about any terrain.

If you want to learn more, read on. We will lay out all the important information about this powerful GPS field painter below.

What Is Traqnology?

Traqnology began in the agriculture space, offering bolt-on GPS guidance to allow for precise mowing, fertilizing, spraying, and more.

As you can probably imagine, agriculture workers are fairly demanding. After all, they are working every day of the year to ensure that their fields are producing. And they rely on great equipment.

As a result, Traqnology has had a chance to perfect its technology. They know that their solutions work to make tasks much more efficient.

And now, they are bringing that tried-and-true solution to athletic field line painting.

What Is the Traqnology GPS Line Marker?

Sportstraq works similarly to what Traqnology offers in the agriculture space. With both, you get five high-quality pieces working in tandem. Those five parts are

ECU: In essence, this is the brains of the system. 

MDU and ANC: MDU stands for motorized drive unit. However, most people call this the auto-steer function.  Just hit auto-enable, and Sportstraq can drive your UTV where it needs to go with high precision, down to less than an inch. ANC stands for automatic nozzle control, which actually paints the lines for you. (Though you can also use the joystick for manual control as well, such as when you need to open the nozzle for cleaning.)

GPS: The Traqnology GPS field painter uses NovAtel receivers, considered the absolute cream of the crop. (No pun intended from Traqnology’s agricultural roots…OK, you got us. Pun definitely intended there. And with the word roots. We are hilarious!)

iPad App: Traqnology has created a proprietary app to control GPS line marking. The app is called, as you might guess, Sportstraq. The app is extremely user-friendly. Users can create the desired pattern and precisely where on the field said pattern should go. The app then securely saves the data so you can share it with other users or save it for the next time.

Wire Harness: This ties everything together.

If you want to know more about the specs of these different components (and even see some more high-def pictures!) check out our Traqnology page.

What about the line painter itself?

Of course, one addition that the Sportstraq GPS field painter adds that is different than Traqnology’s agriculture products is the actual line painting equipment. So of course, sports turf managers want to know if that equipment is high-quality.

In short, the answer is yes: The Sportstraq line painting apparatus is absolutely top-notch.

The biggest reason we can make that claim so confidently is that the Sportstraq GPS field painter uses a Graco electric pump rather than a gas pump. Or, to use the full term that Traqnology uses on its site, it’s the all-electric Graco high-pressure airless paint system. 

That’s an impressive title, but what difference does that kind of paint system mean in reality?  It means that it can paint a lot faster than other pumps, using less paint. It also means that both cleaning and maintenance are a lot cheaper and a lot less hassle. In fact, you can change out the pump with just a hammer!

And you won’t have to continue to stop to get new paint, either. The system can hold twenty gallons at a time (four 5-gallon buckets). And given that you only need 1.25 gallons for a full 11v11 soccer field, twenty gallons will last you a long time!

Can I use the Sportstraq equipment to paint letters and numbers?

Let’s be honest: many sports fields contain more than just lines. Often, you need to add letters, numbers, or even a design of some sort. Can the Sportstraq equipment help you do this?  Yes, but not in an automated fashion.

Sportstraq is a GPS line painter. So, you cannot program in letters or numbers and have Sportstraq automatically paint those for you. 

However, what you can do is remove the paint gun from the cradle and use stencils. You would have a 25-foot cord to reach those stencils. And of course, you are still using a high-quality painting system.

Benefits of Traqnology GPS Field Painter Compared to Traditional Solutions

Perhaps it is already clear why so many sports turf managers love a GPS field painter compared to traditional line markers. If not, however, here are the top three benefits that customers tell us:

  • Perfect lines: Perfectly straight lines and perfect circles are not easy with traditional line marking equipment. Well, with a Traqnology GPS field painter, you can say goodbye to string, tape measures, and stakes. Just set up your layout, and the technology takes care of the lines for you, with precision that is within a half-inch.
  • Easy to replicate: Sportstraq’s ability to easily replicate helps users in two different ways. First of all, once you have created a template, you can say that you want to keep, let’s say, 500 feet between fields. Sportstraq can replicate that setup over and over again. When that happens, the time savings multiply. For instance, you can have eight 11v11 soccer fields done in under two hours!  And then, a few months later, if you need to paint them again, the second benefit of Traqnology’s replication shows up.  You can save your templates and their locations to Traqnology’s secure cloud. When you need to make them again, just pull them up on the app, and off you go!
  • Easily shared: As we mentioned, you can bring up previous field patterns/locations on the cloud. But it doesn’t just have to be you who brings them up. A colleague can also find previously used locations. That way, if one employee isn’t available, the operation doesn’t need to start from scratch. And since the information is stored on the cloud, a broken or lost iPad isn’t a hindrance either.

Benefits of Traqnology GPS Line Marker Compared to Other Robotic Solutions

You may be thinking, “OK, but there are robot line markers that can run completely autonomously. Why might I choose this instead?” Well, there are a few benefits to Traqnology’s bolt-on GPS field painter that may make it a better choice:

  • Pump technology: We discussed the Sportstraq line painting equipment above, so we won’t rehash it all here. However, the electric pump system is quite a step up over other robotic line painters.
  • Lines can be painted efficiently on far more terrain: The fact that Sportstraq attaches to your current UTV is what sets it apart. While that certainly can be more challenging in certain situations (since it’s not completely autonomous, you still need to devote time to being on the field), it is also a huge advantage. Because the GPS field painter is attached to a UTV, it can handle fields with a bit of loose soil without getting stuck. And it can still do so moving at a good speed (up to 9 MPH). Also, you can even paint lines on a slope if you ever need to. Though this may seem like a trivial advantage, there are many situations where it is not. One huge example is making a cross-country track. Other GPS line markers cannot handle cross-country tracks due to the terrain and the tree cover. Sportstraq handles even cross-country markings with ease.
  • Customer service: Traqnology’s customer service is simply the best you will find among any GPS field painters. Remember: they started in agriculture. And agriculture workers do not take days off. So you can get support (run by the DigiFarm network that thousands of agriculture machines use) every day of the year, 12 hours a day. And that customer service call will be answered by a representative in the United States.

Who should choose Sportstraq GPS Field Painter?

At Autmow, our mission is to help our customers find the right solution for their needs. Certainly, Sportstraq is the right automated sports turf solution for many different organizations. But it isn’t the best for everyone.

As the Dubuque soccer club found out, Sportstraq helps you create even more precise sports fields in a fraction of the time. And, the paint quality is even better.

As a result, Sportstraq is particularly good for sports turf complexes. The fact that you can copy your design multiple times is an incredible time-saver. And then, to be able to pull out the design again in the future? Even more time savings.

And if you make cross-country lines, we would absolutely recommend Sportstraq over other GPS field painters.

We’ve also had customers who found Traqnology the right solution for temporary parking lot line painting. One municipality, for example, runs a festival every year that requires parking lot striping in fields. With traditional line painting equipment, this task took weeks. With Traqnology, the temporary parking areas were finished within two days.

When Traqnology Might Not Be the Right Fit

That said, Sportstraq may not be the best solution for smaller organizations.

With the Traqnology GPS field painter, you need a UTV and a trailer. As such, you also need enough space to store those items. If you do not have the space to accommodate that, we would recommend other options.

The other potential barrier to choosing Sportstraq as your GPS line marker is the cost. Again, you need a UTV. If you don’t have one, the total cost for the Sportstraq system is around $60,000. If you attach the GPS field painter to an existing UTV, the cost is approximately $48,000. So, if that is not in your budget, we will work with you to find a different solution.

Next Steps if you are interested in this GPS Field Painter

There is a reason that we listed Traqnology as one of the exciting new developments in robotic property maintenance in 2024. We think it’s the right fit for most sports turf managers. 

If you are interested in seeing if Traqnology is the right fit for you, let us know. We will be happy to give you our assessment. If that’s not it, we will help you find what is the right solution for you.

After all, we live to take away the heart palpitations and stomach drops of spring!