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.

 

Getting to the bottom of WW1 tunnels

During World War I, 120,000 New Zealanders were sent overseas. Of those, none were more critical to the war effort than the tough miners, quarrymen, and labourers of the New Zealand Engineers Tunnelling Company (NZETC).

The men of the NZTEC were recruited for a specific mission: To create a network of tunnels between a series of abandoned quarries in Arras, France. The result would be a 2.3km-long subterranean passage through which allied soldiers could move safely during a planned assault.

The work played a crucial role in the subsequent battle. But their efforts have been largely forgotten. So when researchers Pascal Sirguey and Richard Hemi, from New Zealand’s National School of Surveying at the University of Otago, stumbled onto their story, they vowed to preserve what remained of their countrymen’s work.

Sirguey and Hemi devised a project, LiDARRAS, which would use lidar technology to capture a digital record of the tunnel network, one that they could use to honour the men during the World War I centennial. It was a big task. They would have to survey and scan what remained of the tunnels, and then create 3D models and a virtual environment of the caverns. And it all needed to be completed in just two years.

The two scholars had used scanning technology on other projects. So after talking with a scanning expert, they chose the Trimble TX8 3D laser scanner to help with their ambitious goals.

From the beginning, Siguey and Hemi envisioned LiDARRAS as a bicultural project. They formed a team of five students from universities in New Zealand and France.

The LiDARRAS Solution

The WWI-era tunnels in Arras, France are awe-inspiring. Large enough to accommodate 24,000 men, they contain a light rail system, a hospital, electric lights, kitchens, running water and living quarters. To quickly and accurately capture them, the researchers and their students chose the Trimble TX8 scanner, which enabled them to:

  •     Collect one million points per second
  •     Produce 3D coordinates with millimetre precision
  •     Capture high-density colour photographic data for realistic texturing of a 3D model
  •     Use Trimble RealWorks software to create high-resolution photorealistic models, even in the dim light of the tunnels

Each day, the students would begin scanning in one quarry and progress to the end of another. Thanks to the lightning-fast TX8 scanner and its DSLR camera capabilities, they completed up to 63 scans per day and captured dozens of high-resolution photos to colorise the point clouds.

“The speed of the scanner was phenomenal,” Sirguey said.

Over the course of LiDARRAS, the team completed nearly 1000 scans and collected about 100 billion points, making it one of the larger scanning projects processed in New Zealand. The final point cloud features about 25 billion points.

In addition to the scans, the students captured 9768 photos, which they processed into 814 panoramas. They also surveyed a georeferenced network of 32 control
 marks, including outside and underground marks, using static GNSS and total stations. The team processed its data in Trimble RealWorks software.

Shortly before the project was completed, the students and researchers were invited to attend the remembrance ceremony of the Battle of Arras. There, they shared details of
 their work and unveiled an animation of the underground network. The team also generated a fly-through inside the 3D point cloud, to demonstrate the full extent of the completed survey.

“LiDARRAS went beyond what we ever expected. The data and imagery was excellent, and we had everything documented and turned over to the city of Arras in time for the anniversary. But beyond its technical and historical merits for the general public, the project offered a unique opportunity to preserve a piece of history, Sirguey said.

Following the presentation at the ceremony, a regional agency conducting an inventory of tunnels in northern France approached Sirguey about the work at Arras. The agency asked for assistance in producing a “light” resampled version of the point cloud, as well as a footprint of the area scanned, to be added to its inventory.

“This is precisely the outcome we anticipated,” Sirguey said. “It’s pleasing to see how the project is contributing to other projects already.”

To learn more about the scanning solution click here

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.

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