Taking the future in hand

Trimble this year introduced the GIS market to the TDC150, a product designed for customers who require a simple all-in-one data collection solution for high accuracy GIS field work.

Let’s take a look at some of its key features as highlighted by the Trimble team.

Scalable, High-accuracy Positioning

With the TDC150 in hand, a user can achieve scalable accuracy from a metre down to centimetre level, which is the finest measurement available in the industry. This accuracy is due to a built-in high performance GNSS receiver and antenna tracking multiple satellite constellations and enabling scalable high-accuracy data logging.

Four accuracy configurations are available from Trimble distributors: centimetre, decimetre, sub-metre and metre. Users can upgrade accuracy as needed (and as their budget allows) and that upgrade can be permanent or a temporary monthly option.

“Usually, when you want to collect high accuracy data, you can’t just go with a device in your hand. Usually you have a 2-meter pole plus a controller,” Eric Moisset, Trimble product marketing manager, said.

“With the TDC150, we wanted to be able to collect high accuracy data while holding the device in the hand.”

Precise positioning is also achievable in conjunction with the handheld convenience—thanks to a software workflow supported by both Trimble TerraFlex™ and Trimble Penmap® for Android applications—and a “virtual pole” system, which is accessed from a camera in the back of the receiver.

“We’ve brought something really exceptional to the market,” Moisset said.

“The Trimble TDC150’s virtual pole system configuration is new and customers like it because it’s easy to understand and use in various field scenarios.”

By utilising this back “downward” camera view, users employ a virtual pole to accurately locate the antenna over the desired location on the ground. Through the virtual pole system, the downward camera is displayed with two red “target” circles. The user tilts the device to align the two circles. When both circles turn green and a log button appears, the camera is showing accurate positioning of the antenna.

Modern-day Interface with Android 6.0 Operating System and Rugged Design

With a contemporary and simple interface and Android platform, the TDC150 is able to be customised with the ability to install and run any application from the Google Play Store, third-party applications or any Android-compatible developed software. Additional operating features that allow for easy and reliable field data collection and storage, as well as field-to-office information exchange, include:

  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor paired with 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of internal storage;
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and 4G LTE;
  • GIS mobile apps such as Trimble, TerraFlex, Trimble Penmap for Android and Esri Collector for ArcGIS®; and,
  • a long-life, user-replaceable battery.

The TDC150, with its ultra-rugged and ergonomic, yet easily portable and lightweight design, was developed to withstand drops and shocks that are typical in the field. The device, which is IP67-rated and was tested to MIL-STD-810F ruggedness standards, has a 5.3” touch screen with bright display and a “smartphone feel” for users.

“We believe with this solution we will cover a very wide range of market segments,” Moisset said, “including mining; oil, gas and chemical; forestry; electric and gas utilities; water and wastewater utilities; field service management; geospatial; land administration; local government; military/defence and forensics, among others.”

With a user-friendly interface and a wide range of accuracy options for a variety of field uses, Trimble’s TDC150 is set to be a go-to device for GIS. To learn more about Trimble products, visit here.

 

UPG keeps an eye on Brisbane’s tallest

When one of Australia’s truly landmark projects, the record-breaking Brisbane Skytower needed a real-time monitoring solution they turned to UPG to help. 

Hutchinson Builders, who are constructing the 90 floor, 270m tower that will boast 1141 apartments and will be one of the Southern Hemispheres tallest residential buildings, were restricted by the Civil Aviation Safety Authorities (CASA) height limit of 274.3m over Brisbane’s CBD, which restricts the height the crane can work at. 

The height ceiling has been put on the crane as it is operating in a critical flight path for the nearby Brisbane International Airport and any structure in this zone can interfere with the airport’s radar and navigational control systems. 

Permission was granted for the crane to operate above the height limit during daylight hours only and with strict conditions, including the continual monitoring of the crane height by CASA, based in Canberra, and by Brisbane Airport itself.   

The solution was to place the crane on hydraulic jacks that raise and lower the crane as required.  GPS monitoring units were needed on top of the A-Frame and end of the boom to then transmit the data to a secure website.  

UPG was contracted to install the system and within a week the monitoring system was live, allowing parties from around the country to access a live feed of the data. Trimble 4D delivered this effectively and with a variety of views and information.  

“We created a customised view that displays various graphs and images on a single online page to allow one-stop viewing for all required details,” UPG’s Brent Dawson said. 

The installation of the monitoring technology on the crane was not one for anybody with a fear of heights, as the photos show, requiring the operators to scale the boom to place the NetR9 TIMs. 

The system allows real-time monitoring to ensure the crane is parked safely at night as well as not operating outside the allowed limit during the day or during inclement low-visibility weather conditions.  

“We initially used the UPG Monitoring As A Service (MAAS). Along with our on-site surveyor, their team of experts commissioned and managed the system,” Hutchinson Builders Andy Rivers said. 

“Using MAAS allowed us to have a system deployed and operational, and we could be trained at a later date before taking ownership. After a few months of seeing the long-term benefits, and because the Trimble 4D software is so user-friendly, Hutchinson’s can easily use the system on future developments for monitoring after this project is completed.” 

“As the tallest building in Brisbane, Hutchinson is the first to tackle this hurdle of CASA-controlled airspace, and it seems certain that this method of monitoring will be the industry standard for buildings of the future.” 

“UPG was easy to deal with, met our tight time frame for deployment and provided an active crane monitoring system with results accessible to any interested party anywhere in the country.” 

“The roll out and commissioning was seamless and allowed for operations to continue on-site as planned,” he said. 

“We utilise other Trimble equipment on site for our daily set out and construction work and have never been let down with service from UPG.” 

UPG is delighted to have played a key role in conducting the monitoring work for this landmark project and in assisting Hutchinson in being the first to reach Brisbane’s building height limit.   

UPG has the solution for your project. Contact us today to find out how we can help.  

When the going gets tough

Keeping a close eye on a vital and extensive infrastructure complex in the Northern Territory around the clock and in virtually all weather conditions has become a reality thanks to Trimble technology, UPG (Ultimate Positioning Group) expertise and the foresight of a highly regarded surveying group.

Earl James and Associates (EJA), which was established in 1982, have employed the Trimble T4D system operating with two S9 robotic total stations, supplied by UPG.

The system has enabled automated monitoring of a concrete structure’s subsidence in the Northern Territory since the middle of last year.

The system is configured to measure 70 monitoring prisms installed along the structure every hour around the clock with the results streamed live via the internet.
From this, results and data can be viewed from any connected device for analyses, and configured to send email and SMS alerts should movement be identified that exceeds set parameters.
EJA installed the equipment and system which was then followed by UPG’s T4D ‘guru’ Brent Dawson coming to the site to do training and assist with the system’s configuration.

There were a number of hurdles to overcome in the early stages due to poor internet connection at the site and power issues.

UPG worked with EJA around the clock to ensure delivery of the product met client expectations and our own Brent Dawson was instrumental in problem shooting.
The hurdles were overcome and the system has proven to be reliable despite the extremely harsh conditions the instruments are operating in.

In fact, the system didn’t so much as miss a beat during a recent cyclone in the region, even continuing to stream data while crews cleaned up the site, post-cyclone.

Also, at the time of preparing this article, one of the S9 Instruments currently has 6900 hours continuous operation without issue.

EJA’s Franck Delmas said while Trimble had been its preferred supplier, and in turn UPG, for many years, the service and support was a big part of why the firm continues to work with UPG.

“Brent Dawson really went above and beyond for us to ensure the system was delivering what we needed,” he said.

“The UPG team’s flexibility and drive to deliver what it promises is second to none. We couldn’t be happier.”

Franck also said the use of Trimble S9 robotic stations meant they could be utilised for other work after this project was completed.

“We have a two-year contract on this monitoring project. If that isn’t extended, we know we will be able to put the S9’s to good use in other areas of our business,” he said.

Find out how UPG  can help your operations – call us on 1800 800 UPG.

One of the 70 low profile monitoring prisms on site. These are specifically designed to allow vehicles to run over them.
Custom built weather-proof housing and high gain cellular antenna.
Location on site.

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

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.