A far, far better way

Surveyor gives first impressions of new Trimble TSC7 Controller and Trimble Access 2018 Software.

For surveyor Scott Lyttle, a consistently well-performing controller is the right-hand tool that helps him manage the diverse tasks and environments of land surveying.

With an eye toward new ways to improve workflows as he leads survey crews for Flatirons Inc., Lyttle agreed to test Trimble’s new TSC7 Controller and Trimble Access 2018 software.

Flatirons, a provider of surveying services based in Boulder, CO., uses a wide range of Trimble products and software for its work spanning the Front Range of Colorado and neighboring states. As senior survey crew chief for Flatirons, Lyttle keeps in his truck a Trimble S5 Total Station, R10 and R8 GNSS receivers, and a TDL 450.

“For a data collector, I always have the TSC3, the previous model, with me,” said Lyttle, who has worked in surveying for eight years, starting with his schooling in New Zealand. “Essentially all data acquisition is done through that.”

Lyttle has served as a beta tester using the TSC7 and Trimble Access 2018 since late 2017, putting the solution through the paces in his daily work in a variety of jobs and settings, and giving feedback and suggestions to Trimble’s development teams as they prepared to go to market.

Article courtesy of Trimble Geospatial – Learn More.

Get the lowdown on our high flying UAV school 

A quarry on the outskirts of Melbourne proved to be the perfect location for the UPG Flight School to show off its stuff for a series of stunning videos.

Created by the team from SUDDEN.ly (formerly News Corp Studios Qld), the videos and stills have been used for social media posts as well as on the UPG drone’s pages.

The aim of the videos was to convey just what the school can do for clients, in the areas of hardware, software and training.

UPG distributes both DJI and senseFly drones – industry leaders in their respective categories.

“As the multi-rotor industry leader, DJI has developed one of the strongest brand names in the market,” Chief remote pilot and instructor, Lorenzo Forte said.

“With a wide product offering and ongoing development, easy to learn and operate equipment, and a variety of operational methods from manual to fully automated, DJI has a solution that should be considered for any client’s needs.”

The range includes: Phantom 4 Pro - Entry level drone for surveying or video inspection; Inspire 2 - High performance system surveying or inspection; and Matrice 200 Series - Professional grade range for surveying, video, thermal or zoom inspection.

SenseFly is one of the leading manufacturers of fixed wing drones and are the go-to for survey or agricultural mapping work.

Lightweight, with long endurance and a highly intuitive operating system, senseFly ebee aircraft can produce data with real world absolute accuracy, safely and more easily

The range includes: eBee standard - Mainstay survey aircraft for use with ground control points; eBee X - High performance survey aircraft - uses ground control or RTK/PPK workflow. Interchangeable multispectral or thermal cameras; and eBee SQ - Agricultural mapping aircraft.

“UPG Flight School is a training organisation approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Clients are able to purchase the drone and complete all the required training within UPG facilities and services,” Lorenzo said

“The major difference from other training providers is that UPG focuses mainly on professionals and corporate clients. The course covers the compulsory CASA syllabus and offers additional assistance in integrating drone operations in mining, surveying and assets management workflows.

“UPG Flight School gives access to a wealth of knowledge provided by our numerous specialists in photogrammetry software, surveying and the aviation industry. Usually, clients enjoy long-term relationship with our staff who assist them in various aspect of their operation from field support to data processing.”

Lorenzo said UPG offers a variety of photogrammetry and survey software to meet all customer needs.

“The most powerful solution is Trimble Business Centre with the Aerial Photogrammetry Module (UAS Master),” he said.

“UAS Master integrates with Trimble Business Centre and offers leading-edge tools to analyse your data. It provides full control on the data processing workflow and allows the creation of advanced outputs.

“Pix4D Mapper Pro is the mid-level photogrammetry software which offers a user-friendly interface and allows the creation of basic photogrammetry outputs and data analysis.”

Lorenzo said Trimble Stratus was the latest software offering from Trimble delivered in partnership with Propeller Aero.

“Stratus allows to effectively share your data within your organisation and clients while relieving surveyors and operators of data processing downtime,” he said.

“Its powerful web-based data analysis tool allows a quick assessment of stockpiles, road gradient and comparison between the profile design and bulk earthwork.

“There is a solution for every application and need within the surveying and asset management industry.”

The shoot has been exciting but also challenging for both parties, Lorenzo said.

“The UPG team did not have any previous experience creating professional videos and working in front of a camera.

“Other challenges such as the limited daylight and cold temperature kept the crews on their toes.”

UPG Technical Consultant and Instructor, Kieran Dinuzzo, said he enjoyed the experience.

“Cameraman Michael Sloane kept the camera rolling, following us around like in a film set. He worked relentlessly to stay on schedule and collect great footage,” he said.

UPG Flight School collected aerial images to build 3D maps and models of the site. At the same time, they explained the process and their products by conducting interviews on site.

“It was challenging to collect aerial data with multiple drones while capturing photos and videos. Michael made us feel like professional actors when he set up an interview on the edge of the quarry,” laughed Kieran.

The footage and stills were collected in less than six hours while the UPG crew flew drones to capture the site.

“We could not be happier with the result. I understand that it is always difficult to summarise complex workflows in a minute-long film, however, the videos achieved that goal exceptionally well,” Lorenzo said.

SUDDEN.ly journalist and cameraman Michael Sloane said it had been a shoot to remember.

“I'd never seen a fixed wing drone before, nor any kind of UAV taking a programmed flight path for aerial distance readings, so it was interesting to see how these went up and their different strengths in the air,” he said.

The shoot didn’t come without its challenges, Michael said.

“Of course, shooting small drones in the sky hundreds of metres away from the camera was difficult, but I was given the chance to use the controls of the on-board camera of one of the drones to capture another in mid-flight,” he said.

“That might be the closest thing I get to being a jet co-pilot in a dogfight!”

You can see the end results at the flight school’s YouTube channel here https://bit.ly/2nFLFes

To learn more about UPG Flight School, visit its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UPGFlightSchool

SX10: Why this game changer is winning fans

Trimble’s SX10 has redefined the capabilities of everyday survey equipment – a full total station technology plus a high-precision scanner in one revolutionary machine.
It has been embraced eagerly by the market globally and the regions serviced by UPG are no exception.
We spoke to three organisations that have adopted SX10s into their operations …

Safer for all

RPS Ipswich’s surveyor manager Damian Ling said their acquisition of an SX10 was not only making work more efficient it was making life safer for their team too.

‘We chose the SX10 for a number of reasons but the fact it is a high precision survey instrument and a scanner in one unit was right up there,” he said.

“It means our team are spending less time doing their surveys and scans and therefore are out of harm’s way.

“We have been able to reduce sub-contracting traffic control on site which is a time and cost saving too.”

Damian said the SX10’s position as a cutting edge instrument also meant clients could see that their quality assurance standards were being met, something that wasn’t necessarily as easy to achieve with other instruments.

“They can see we are adopting new technology and that’s giving them confidence in us. The results from the SX10 just further enhance that,” he said.

Damian said Trimble’s workflow was also a big plus.

“Trimble has a nice, efficient workflow from survey and scan to processing to results. It is a lot simpler and easier to use than other systems we’ve tried,” he said.

And while the SX10 of course isn’t a guarantee that tenders will be won, Damian said the SX10 was helping put RPS Ipswich in the top contenders.

“The time savings, the cost reductions, the increase in safety and the speed of capture and creating results are just some of the aspects setting us up well in the tendering process,” Damian said.

“The SX10 is giving us an advantage.”

Going to the next level

For Lucas Flumm, survey manager at Kennedy Surveying in northern NSW, the SX10’s high quality scanner was a major reason for the company acquiring it.

“I’ve used a lot of scanners of all kinds,” he said. “and the main thing for us with the SX10 is that it is a multi-station with a good quality scanner. It captures point cloud data much more akin to dedicated High Definition Scanners which is excellent for 3D modelling.

“The point cloud capabilities are important for us and many of our jobs. The SX10 has made capturing that data possible and it is paying off for us and for our clients.”

Lucas said the SX10’s tablet had been somewhat of an unexpected benefit too.

“I am really enjoying using the tablet. It is definitely making working quicker and easier.

“We’ve found that basically we’re using the SX10 on any job we can.

“It is proving invaluable in hard to access job sites.”

A recent job to scan a building internally and externally had brought home the SX10 advantage for the Kennedy team.

“It was a scan of a very busy building in the Byron area,” Lucas said.

“If we had been using a conventional set-up the job would have taken at least a week, which would have been a huge imposition and difficult to achieve without huge disruptions.

“With the SX10 we completed the survey in eight hours.

“Not only does that make the client happy, we also captured all the data required more accurately and efficiently than conventional methods would have.”

Lucas said the sheer scale of cloud point data that was gathered was taking things to the next level.

“We can now provide incredible detail, especially to civil engineers. It has added value to the clients.

“And we’re finding the SX10 is making us more competitive when tendering for jobs.”

He said acquiring the SX10 from UPG had been a ‘great experience’.

“They’ve been very supportive and while I’ve found I haven’t needed a lot of help, whenever I’ve asked for it I’ve got what I needed quickly and accurately from the UPG team,” Lucas said.

Above and beyond

While Downes Group was already a ‘Trimble shop’, the acquisition of the SX10 wasn’t just a matter of buying the brand by any stretch of the imagination, according to director, Simon Passlow.

“The SX10 is a good fit with our existing service delivery, regardless of brand,” he said.

“We undertake significant transport infrastructure projects and often the job includes structures, such as bridges.

“Engineers aren’t always able to articulate what they need at the time of survey – with the SX10 we are able to collect a wide scope of data, conventional and point cloud.

“This means the engineers have access to a wealth of data which really gives them options.”

Simon said this aspect of the SX10 had already demonstrated its worth on a recent project. A conventional survey was commissioned on a bridge and completed. After the engineer was in receipt of the data specified in the scope of works, he had additional queries which were able to be quickly resolved by extracting measurements from the point cloud model in TBC. Previously, the Downes team would more than likely have had to return to the site, an impost on time and cost for both parties.

“The brief was for a conventional survey, but with the SX10 we were able to do scans regardless with minimal extra set up or time required,” Simon said.

“In this case that paid off for us and for our client.”

Simon said the use of Trimble Business Centre (TBC) to produce and extract the data was also a plus.

“As with any new tech, there is a learning curve with the SX10 but it has proven relatively easy to get what we want out of it. Feedback from users experienced on other systems is that the process of managing and editing ‘regions’ in TBC point clouds is more efficient than that of other vendors.

“The UPG team has also been invaluable in getting us up and running with the SX10.”

State-of-the-art achievement

UPG’s southeast Queensland sales manager Rod Yann said the SX10’s acceptance by the market was testament to its state-of-the-art capabilities.

“We’re confident the SX 10 will soon become the standard for geospatial professionals, providing data capture capabilities way beyond current similar technologies,” he said.

“Early adopters of the SX10 and its capabilities are paving the way for the future.

Rod said the SX10 was the result of Trimble’s approach to advancing technologies by taking an idea and, with the company’s vast array of expertise across its various divisions, creates a product that pushes the envelope.

“This SX 10 is not a Robotic Total Station that measures quickly, it is the first robotic Total Station with true laser scanning capability,” he said.

“The big data that is collected extremely efficiently by the SX10 can be data mined at a later date or enhanced as an upfront data deliverable that is visually rich.

“It’s a big leap forward and our clients are seeing for themselves the advantages that it is bringing.”

To find out more about the extraordinary SX10 and how it can transform your operations, contact your UPG representative today.

TIMMS: Making the impossible attainable

To say the TIMMS makes the impossible possible may be an overstatement. But to say it makes it more achievable rings true. 

TIMMS – the Trimble Indoor Mobile Mapping Solution – has truly changed the face of how interior spaces are scanned in 3D, allowing laser scan surveys not only in situations that would have been difficult, to say the least, but also in an incredibly time-efficient manner. 

For Victorian-based Taylors, the first firm in Australia to acquire TIMMS, its adoption has amply demonstrated those qualities – and more. 

Taylors, with offices in Melbourne, Brisbane, Christchurch and Jakarta, prides itself on being a company on the leading edge of new technology. As Taylors’ Manager – 3D Modelling and BIM, Alastair MacColl explained, indoor laser scanning had been identified as an area of advancement it was particularly keen to explore. 

Alastair said the firm acquired its TIMMS in January, 2017 and that it had not only demonstrated Taylors commitment to early adoption and investment in new technology, but also allowed it to tender for large, complex projects that may very well have been outside its scope without TIMMS. 

A prime example of this was a project in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD where detailed interior scans of an entire 30-storey tower were needed for a planned refurbishment. 

“The building is a mix of hotel rooms and serviced apartments,” Alastair said. 

“As you can imagine, not only did this involve many, many rooms but also could not be carried out within standard timings. 

“The client had specific times we could access the various floors and rooms which would have been incredibly complex using traditional laser scanning technology.” 

But with the TIMMS, the Taylors team was able to quickly and efficiently scan each room and floor within the specific timings. A job that surely would have taken weeks and weeks using traditional technology was achieved in days. 

“We were literally in and out of rooms in minutes and with the highly detailed and complex information we needed to create the 3D modelling of course,” Alastair said. 

“With a tripod-based scanner I would imagine that each room would have taken more than half-an-hour. 

“Another big advantage the TIMMS had on this job was that we could link each floor in the modelling simply by rolling the TIMMS into the lift after we’d completed a floor and go up or down to the next level. 

“As we were scanning continuously, this use of the lift created that link on the plans and its elevation. 

“Traditional, tripod-based laser scanners cannot be moved during scans. TIMMS works when you are moving. It is a huge difference and makes this technology unique.” 

Alastair reports the client was more than happy with the team meeting the access requirements as well as the end result – second-to-none 3D modelling delivered to the project architects in a timely manner. 

“For Taylors, TIMMS has taken our work and the kind of projects we can complete to a new level,” Alastair said. 

 The TIMMS system is available in Australia through Trimble’s authorised dealer, UPG. 

UPG’s Martin English said Taylor’s adoption of the TIMMS system had been an Australian first and a massive step forward for this industry in our country. 

“Taylors is demonstrating that the adoption of this technology means big things for a business,” he said. 

“It truly is a step into the future and is ensuring Taylor not only remains a competitive operation but is on the leading edge. 

“The work Taylors is doing with its TIMMS is ground-breaking and we’re proud to be a part of this next, exciting chapter in 3D modelling and BIM.” 

To take your business to a whole new level too, talk to your UPG rep about how TIMMS can revolutionise how you work. 

Trimble Catalyst Wins Awards!

Catalyst has taken top honors at the 2017 NZ Spatial Excellence Awards, securing the Supreme Excellence Award and the  award for Innovation & Commercialization. Bringing together innovators from the NZ spatial industries, the awards recognize products or projects that made a significant contribution to the industry through the introduction of a new idea, method, technology, process or application resulting in social, environmental and/or economic benefits.

“Trimble’s innovation, called Catalyst, allows positioning measurements to be more cost-effective and accessible to a much wider audience without compromising accuracy” says Hadyn Smith, NZSEA chair.

“Out of all the entries, this promises to have the most impact.  It stood out for its immense potential for delivering survey accurate measurement solutions using widely available mobile means – its professional and public reach, therefore, cannot be underestimated” commented the award judges.

 Trimble Catalyst
With increasing processing power, high resolution graphics and the connectivity to deliver spatial data to their users, smartphones and tablets have become a low cost data collection tool.
With these increased capabilities a broad range of mobile apps have become available, however their use in the spatial industry has been limited by the accuracy of the internal GNSS receiver in the mobile devices, and the relative cost of high accuracy GNSS receivers.  While high accuracy GNSS has been adopted by the members of the spatial industry whose roles are dedicated to measurement, the cost/benefit ratio has been a barrier to the broader use of high accuracy GNSS by casual users of positioning – people who are primarily performing a work task from maintenance and inspection through communication and collaboration who in the course of their work periodically need high accuracy positioning.
In the past, either compromises have been made on accuracy or the need has been serviced by bringing in measurement professionals. This innovation has been the development of an Android based soft GNSS receiver (a GNSS receiver that is purely in software) and low cost multi frequency GNSS antenna allowing smartphones to achieve accuracies of up to a centimeter using a globally available subscription service.
Delivered using a positioning as a service business model the innovation changes the cost/benefit ratio to make the use and availability of high accuracy GNSS now affordable for the casual users where accurate positioning is required to support their primary job/task, opening up the use of high accuracy spatial information to a far more extensive range of users through a growing range of smartphone/tablet based applications.
Visit the Catalyst website for more information.