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.

Behind the Big Eye of the SX10

Behind the distinctive “bug eye” of the SX10 is the spinning prism for scanning, a tracking laser, EDM laser, a tele-camera, and tracking camera. Flanking the lens is the overview camera (left) and primary camera (right), and a plummet camera underneath.

Gavin Schrock, land surveyor, technology writer, and xyHt editor, was lucky enough to visit the Danderyd, Sweden, facility of Trimble to share the story of the SX10 and its development.

See the story of the SX10 on the xyHt blog.

Multi-track prism technology explained

tracker-150x180Tried and tested, Trimble’s MultiTrack technology has been on sites around the world for over 10 years and there is still simply nothing else on the market to rival it. This is because unlike other manufacturers, Trimble tracking does not rely purely on the reflectiveness of the target, it’s much more sophisticated than that.

The success of Trimble MultiTrack technology is a direct result of the introduction of robotic total stations (RTS), first introduced to us by Geodimeter (later to become a part of Trimble) over 25 years ago.

A total station may be called robotic if it is able automatic­ally to follow a prism moving through 3D space. Key to this feature is the communication link between the total station and prism pole. All RTS, from all manufacturers, come equipped with servomotors for automatically rotating the instrument horizontally and vertically, and an Advanced Tracking Sensor (ATS) for tracking the prism, so how can we differentiate between the performance of one RTS and another?

When surveying with an RTS, it is more important than anything else to ensure reliable and robust target recognition. Typically on site we have lots of reflective objects like traffic signs, reflectors on safety vests or number plates and more likely than not, several prisms and targets are also in use. If we could measure only on “unidentified” (passive) targets, the surveyor would constantly be running the risk that those reflective objects would interfere with each other and cause a loss of target or a wrong target lock.

Step forward Trimble’s MultiTrack™ patented technology

k-multirackTried and tested, Trimble’s MultiTrack technology is 10 years old and there is simply nothing else on the market to rival it. This is because unlike other manufacturers, Trimble tracking does not rely purely on the reflectiveness of the target. Instead it uses a unique target ID system which identifies the prism using a modulated infrared light wave. Before measuring a point, Trimble Access field software can be set up to check the target ID and make sure the right prism is locked.

Up to eight active targets can operate simultaneously on the same site with no risk of tracking the wrong target, ensuring accuracy and completeness of work with no loss in productivity due to false target lock.

Some instruments on the market have a function called ‘self-learning’ in the form of a scanning function whereby you can do several scans to discount reflective surfaces. However, you need to cover the prism to exclude it from the scans and also nothing has to move during the process – an unrealistic situation on a busy site. This process therefore not only takes time but engenders a false sense of comfort because it works on the flawed principle that nothing within the environment moves. Where does that leave the surveyor surrounded by workers in high vis. clothing?

The ‘self-learning’ approach tells you what to exclude, the Trimble approach tells you what to include!

Trimble options include Trimble MultiTrack and ActiveTrack 360 Targets

The ActiveTrack 360 target was designed to provide a smaller, lightweight target for optical surveying utilising Trimble’s industry leading active tracking technology.
k-targetActiveTrack 360 target is an active-only device and therefore contains no glass prisms. Eliminating the prisms provides for a smaller, lighter weight target, while maintaining robustness and measurement accuracy. It also offers Trimble’s new eBubble function – an electronic bubble displayed on the controller. This means you only have one place to look, which is especially useful when the pole bubble is hard to see. Connecting to the target via Bluetooth, allows the operator to see the plum of the pole on the handheld controller. This allows for better accuracy, especially when surveying in hard to reach areas or setting out using a short pole or point.
The Trimble MultiTrack target provides versatility to track both active and passive targets. Up to eight active targets can operate simultaneously on the same site with no risk of tracking the wrong target, ensuring accuracy and completeness of work with no loss in productivity due to false target lock.


In short, the Trimble MultiTrack target is suitable for use with all Trimble S-Series robotic total stations and provides fully coaxial passive and active tracking via an integrated 360° prism ring and 2 active 360° LED rings. The active LED rings support the selection of a unique ID to ensure that 8 different targets can be operated on a single site with full confidence that the correct target is always used.

Contact your local office if you would like to learn more about Trimble MultiTrack targets.

This article was originally posted on www.KorecGroup.com and has been reposted with permission.

Ready to upgrade your Total Station?

Trade in and save on a new Trimble S5 or S7 total station

Transform the way you work with proven Trimble technologies – including Trimble SurePoint and Mag Drive™ by upgrading to a Trimble S5. Or go a step further and get the S7 for scanning, imaging and surveying in one powerful solution.

For a limited time Trimble is offering up to $6 500 when you trade in your old S-Series-equivalent robotic total station.

Save on the Trimble quality solution you’ve always wanted by trading in your old gear.


Terms and Conditions

  • Offer ends 16th December 2016.
  • Any brand of survey grade competitor robotic total station will be accepted.
  • The trade in competitor robotic total station must be in working order.
  • Trade in discount applies to the total station only, all other accessories and parts included in the sale are at normal pricing.
  • This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
  • UPG and Trimble reserve the right to cancel or modify this program at any time.

The one that gets it done

The Trimble S5 Quality Bundle has everything you need to get the job done fast and without sacrificing accuracy.

The Trimble S5 is built on proven Trimble technologies – including Trimble SurePoint and MagDrive™ technology, complete with DR Plus EDM, meaning you can get to work with stable technology. Plus it’s been proven in Australian conditions, so you know it’ll get the job done.

The bundle provides you with a complete Trimble field-to office-solution with Trimble Access™ field software, and the confidence of a strong brand behind you.

Bundles from $29 900 exc GST


  • Trimble S5 Robotic Total Station*1
  • Trimble TSC32
  • Trimble Access3
  • Telescopic Range Pole
  • 360 Degree Prism
  • 2 Years Extended Warranty4

* Non-active track link

Get the Trimble quality solution you’ve always wanted at this budget price!

Terms and Conditions

  • This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
  • UPG and Trimble reserve the right to cancel or modify this program at any time.
  • $29 900 exc GST relates to the S5 5″ Quality Bundle. The S5 3″ Quality Bundle is available for $30 900 exc GST.
  • This offer and bundles offer only the non-active track robotic total stations.
  • This offer ends Friday 16 December 2016.