Optisurface Earthworks Solutions

John Deere iGrade & OptiSurface

How Is OptiSurface Compatible with John Deere iGrade?

OptiSurface can produce two types of designs for John Deere IGrade:
1) Planar (Straight or Flat) Design Surfaces (2D) and,
2) Curved Design Surfaces (3D)

The differences are explained below.


John Deere IGrade by itself can ONLY follow single plane designs.

OptiSurface can be used with IGrade for single plane designs by following this process:

  1. Import Topography data from many sources including John Deere APEX software (see OptiSurface Designer and John Deere’s APEX).
  2. Design a single or multiple plane surface.
  3. Create a Report with the slopes of the planar surface and maps of existing surface, proposed surface, cut/fill.
  4. The slope parameters can be entered into IGrade and the cut fill map loaded into the John Deere 2630 display for a moving map display.

If you already have iGrade, the above steps can be done without the need for any other software or hardware.

Watch this video to learn how: How To Use OptiSurface Designer With John Deere iGrade Plane Control

Email your topography data to support@optisurface.com  and we will do a demo design for you.  If you want to talk to someone about the process, see our ‘Contact Us’ details at the top of this page.




To take full advantage Of OptiSurface and save up to 80% on earthworks, you’ll need a 3D machine control system that:

  1. Loads the OptiSurface design and displays a cut/fill map,
  2. Gets the gps coordinates from the John Deere RTK GPS receiver,
  3. Reads the design elevation from the OptiSurface design and
  4. Sends the design height to IGrade or another control box that controls hydraulics on the tractor to raise and lower the blade of the scraper to match the design.

You can still use your existing John Deere RTK GPS receivers and tractor hydraulics on modern tractors, saving considerable on a 3D machine control systems.

Our machine control product is called OptiWorks and plugs directly into iGrade. You can see full details of it here:  optisurface.com/optiworks/

Email your topography data to support@optisurface.com and we will do a demo design for you.  If you want to learn more about your 3D machine control options for John Deere equipment and OptiSurface designs,  see our ‘Contact Us’ details at the top of this page.

To learn more about how to SAVE UP TO 80% in Earthworks using OptiSurface, see our free training videos HERE


Here is John Deere’s marketing material on IGrade:

NEW iGrade™ – Automated water management

For an advanced approach to leveling, ditching, grading, and plane generation, choose new iGrade™. This application automates the hydraulic commands of a scraper blade or pan, making your water management practices hassle-free. The Distance Trip feature lets you engage the tractor’s hydraulics based on distance traveled – a real advantage when creating furrows in headlands. iGrade also automates Surface Water Pro™ Plus, so ditching is even easier.


Spend more time operating and less time moving laser components

Leave the frustrations of a laser system’s setup and maximum operating range behind. iGrade™ is a global positioning system (GPS) based water management system that can be used up to one mile from an RTK base station.

iGrade’s performance is not affected by factors that traditionally impact lasers such as operating at night, dust, wind, and heat waves. This allows more work to be done without the hassle of moving base stations or waiting for outside conditions to improve.

Eliminate manual adjustments

An iGrade™ activation (requires Application Controller) reduces operator fatigue by automatically controlling the height of the scraper blade in water management applications. Manual adjustments are no longer needed.

iGrade teams up with the Application Controller keeping the scraper on grade, allowing the operator to spend more time focusing on the machinery and task.

Minimize earthmoving costs with cut-fill maps


Cut-fill maps

Cut-fill maps allow producers to create the desired contour by moving the least amount of earth. Cut-fill maps provide the best-fit or multi-fit plane designs. Beyond land leveling, this solution can be used for infrastructure design of surface drainage, contours, and terraces.

iGrade™ offers cut-fill maps when teamed up with additional software and hardware. Learn more about iGrade and cut-fill maps from a local John Deere dealer.

Utilize many of the same John Deere components already owned

An iGrade™ activation works with many of the different John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS) components that producers may already own such as:       

  • GreenStar™ 3 (GS3) 2630 Display
  • GreenStar 2 (GS2) 2600 Display
  • StarFire™ iTC Receiver
  • StarFire 3000 Receiver
  • AutoTrac™
  • Surface Water Pro™ Plus

iGrade is approved for the following platforms:

  • 9xxx, 8xxx, 8R, and 9R Series Wheel Tractors
  • 8xxx and 8R Series Track Tractors
  • Any selective control valve (SCV) operated water management implement approved for the above John Deere tractors

iGrade requires receiver to have an RTK signal level. iGrade does not support WAAS, EGNOS, SF1 or SF2 signal levels.

Application Controller is required for iGrade activation.


Surface Water Pro™ Plus automation functionality

Surface Water Pro Plus goes to the next level with iGrade™. An iGrade activation connects to a producer’s Surface Water Pro Plus activation, allowing them to create advanced ditches while iGrade controls the height of the scraper blade. Creating best-fit and linear-cut drains has never been so easy.

Once the iGrade activation and Surface Water Pro Plus are installed on the same John Deere machine, they will commonly be used to complete the following tasks:

  • Advanced drainage ditches
  • Advanced irrigation ditches

Two receivers, both running RTK, are recommended to run Surface Water Pro Plus automation.

In order to perform Surface Water Pro Plus automation, the iGrade activation, Application Controller, and the Surface Water Pro Plus activation must be purchased.

Control grade based on distance

Controlling grade based on distance is now available with the iGrade™ Grade Control application. Grade Control generates level-slope or single-slope land formations based on a set slope over a distance traveled.

Producers have the ability to set up Grade Control in two ways:

  • Manually enter slope and distance, if recommended or already known.
  • Utilize the Grade Control slope calculator that aids in determining a proper slope.

iGrade’s Grade Control application effectively moves dirt in water management tasks such as:

  • Creating basic irrigation ditches
  • Waste management of cattle feedlot
  • Creating basic drainage ditches

It is recommended the land be professionally surveyed prior to leveling or generating a slope.

Enable hydraulic tasks based on distance

iGrade™ enables producers to move dirt based on distance. The Distance Trip functionality in iGrade allows producers to utilize many different hydraulic-controlled implements and control them based on a given distance.

The Distance Trip functionality can perform many different tasks. The most common tasks are:

  • Create headland furrows in furrow irrigation applications
  • Mark the soil for planting trees in an orchard

Easily perform land-leveling activities

Not only does iGrade™ allow producers to automate the scraper blade, it also provides a plane control application. Plane control can create level or single-slope land designs. Plane control allows producers basic functionality with two primary inputs: slope and direction.

Slope designs may be generated one of two ways:

  1. Manually enter slope percentage and direction, if recommended or already known.
  2. Perform a simple land survey with iGrade that provides a recommended slope and direction.

Plane control may be used with up to two scrapers in applications such as:

  • Slope generation for flood irrigation
  • Slope generation for drainage
  • Slope generation for cattle feedlot waste management

Plane control is a basic water management application because it does not include on-screen cut/fills sheets. It is recommended the land be professionally surveyed prior to leveling or generating a slope.


  • Lewis

    March 30, 2017

    Hi igrades software foun for other tablet windows whos this price software solutions

    • Ed Foronda

      March 30, 2017

      Hi. Thanks for the comments. We’ve sent you an email regarding your inquiry.

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