Imaging: More than just a pretty picture (part 1)

Craig Muir, Segment Marketing Manager, Trimble Geospatial Division

imaging-1Imaging; it certainly is the buzzword around the geospatial industry at the moment and for good reason. Imaging is fast becoming a fundamental part of geospatial information both for the ability to capture vast amounts of information easily and quickly (capture now, measure later), as well as being able to deliver information that is immediately useful to the client. Industries and individuals are cottoning on quickly to the myriad applications of imaging across construction, emergency response, utilities and mining, transportation and the list goes on. As Geospatial professionals we need to put ourselves front and centre of this tidal wave of interest and show the value of rich geospatial information in this equation.

This three part series will follow a presentation I delivered at Transform 2015, a conference in May hosted by Australia’s Trimble dealerships. There, I spoke about three things:

  1. The progression of surveying technology and techniques – from the ‘old days’ when the pressure to get the job done meant collecting the minimum amount of data necessary, to the current day where the continued development of hardware and software has lead to huge leaps in productivity and the ability to capture data, process and deliver.
  2. A couple of examples of the application of imaging technology to show the improved workflow for the geospatial professional and the improved outcome for the client.
  3. Virtual reality and Microsoft Hololens – the future of imaging technology and the implications for the Geospatial industry.


Part one: From the ‘old days’ to now

imaging-2Things really have come a long way since I began as a professional surveyor – I don’t care to say when! We had one Electronic Distance Measurer (EDM) shared between multiple parties, which meant there was a lot of pressure to get the job done so someone else could use it. What that led to was collecting the minimum amount of data in the shortest possible time. Forget about images, the job had to be delivered before they would even be back from processing. Sometimes you got it wrong which meant you either had to return to the site, or get really creative with the data you already had.

A Trimble old-timer, on board since 1988, I have had the privilege to be involved in the fundamental industry change over that time period. The continued development of the modern Total Station, GNSS and software has lead to huge leaps in productivity and the ability to capture data, process and deliver it. Accelerated and streamlined workflows have eased the pressure of just doing enough to get it done. Now you can generally capture more than what is necessary but sometimes it still means second guessing the client and there’s still the potential to get it wrong.

This is where images, which can be captured using Trimble’s VISION technology, come into play. Using VISION on Trimble’s S-Series Total Stations and the V10 Imaging Rover, paired with R8S or R10 GNSS receivers, gives you the ability to capture spatially correct images to enhance the traditional survey deliverables. But, it’s not just a pretty picture; every pixel in an image captured using VISION technology represents a point that can be measured using photogrammetric methods in Trimble Business Centre (TBC). It’s not difficult to imagine how much easier this will make things, here’s a few ways it could help:

  1. imaging-3Measure hard to access points such as stockpiles and facades without putting yourself in danger.
  2. Collect data in stressful or dangerous situations quickly – think about natural disasters, accidents and crime scenes, these all represent high stress and often dangerous situations with a requirement for rapid data collection.
  3. Expedite data capture – one image will take in a whole lot more points than if you measure one-by-one.
  4. Measure missed data post-survey without revisiting the site – topographic features missed in the field can be easily and accurately identified in the TBC software after you’ve done the field work and, when the client tells you they want more information beyond the original brief, you’ll have it right there.

Vision technology offers the benefits of minimal upfront planning and the ability to capture the data you require and more in a short timeframe. Again all of the data extraction is carried out in the office.

imaging-4So far in this article you’ve heard about VISION technology as an augmentation of traditional field capture. This will continue to be a primary use of the technology with enhancements including much closer integration with in-field point capture methods as well as office software and deliverables. For example, expect to see things like the ability to annotate with notes directly onto images in the field and then overlay this with a building design to enable office-based inspections.

But, as imaging technology becomes more widely used, people are finding ways to leverage VISION as a standalone data capture medium. Tune in for the next part of this series where I’ll talk about a couple of examples so you can see where VISION technology really comes into its own.

Jump to part 2

About Craig Muir
IMG_0846 - Version 2Craig Muir is the Segment Marketing Manager for Trimble’s Geospatial division representing Asia Pacific. He’s responsible for ensuring that Trimble’s solutions meet the technology needs of its customers in the region. Craig graduated as a Land Surveyor from Otago University, New Zealand, in 1982 and began work for Datacom in 1988 which was acquired by Trimble in 1991. In his time with Trimble he has taken up roles in New Zealand, France, the UK, Germany and the United States.

Combining datasets in surveying a former quarry



Thanks to recent technological developments within the industry, geospatial professionals can be more flexible in their approach to capturing, analysing and delivering survey data than ever before.

Six West were tasked with surveying a former quarry for redevelop of the site for mixed commercial and residential use, with the quarry being a feature lake. They soon realised that a conventional topographic survey would be time consuming, costly due to the size of the site and dangerous to undertake.

Read about how they used both a 3D laser scan and their eBee UAS to complete the job.

GNSS Correction Portfolio: a range of positioning service options

Accuracy and work efficiency are what we are all striving for, but which positioning service is the right one for you?

Trimble VRS Now
Connect. Correct. Measure. Obtain instant access to real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections utilising a network of permanent (fixed) continuously operating reference stations while saving time, money, and resources.

Utilising Trimble operated VRS technology centimetre level accuracy is available on demand, anywhere within the reference station network.VRSnow-map

CenterPoint RTX
Based on Trimble’s patent-pending RTX technology and available via either satellite or cellular, CenterPoint RTX Standard provides positioning up to 4 cm within 30 minutes.

CenterPoint RTX Standard delivered via satellite is the most accurate satellite-delivered correction service available. It doesn’t require an RTK base station or cellular service and is available throughout Australasia and almost worldwide!


Trimble RangePoint RTXrangepoint_mgis
Trimble RangePoint RTX is a GPS and GLONASS enabled correction service built on Trimble’s exclusive RTX technology.

Trimble RangePoint™ RTX is a GPS and GLONASS enabled correction service built on Trimble’s exclusive RTX technology. This accurate and affordable correction service delivers 30 cm horizontal accuracy (68%), making it an ideal solution for a number of geospatial applications.


Trimble ViewPoint RTXviewpoint_rtx_image
Viewpoint RTX is available via the Internet and satellite giving you the flexibility to work anywhere without a local base station, VRS Network or cellular service. This service is delivered directly to the built in receiver of your GNSS handheld and affordable correction service delivers sub-metre horizontal accuracy.



As the leader in satellite-based corrections, OmniSTAR delivers real-time and highly reliable correction services, 24hrs a day 365 days a year. Obtain accuracies ranging from sub-meter accuracy with OmniSTAR VBS to sub-10 centimetre level accuracy with OmniSTAR HP and G2 services.

To keep you working in more places, Trimble Geospatial have updated their GNSS receiver firmware to include support for extended xFill positioning for up to 5 minutes. When the receiver has a valid CenterPoint RTX subscription xFill will continue indefinitely after the loss of your terrestrial correction source.

Contact your local UPG office to find out more or request a free demo to see how these positioning services work.

Jump on the latest software and beat the leap second

leapsecond-250x150A leap second will occur on the 30th June and Trimble Infrastructure has made every effort to ensure that Trimble receivers and software will work seamlessly through the added second.

Announced by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), a leap second is an adjustment to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to account for the slowing rotation of the earth. Leap seconds were introduced in 1972 to simplify adjustments to UTC, one of the successors to Greenwich Mean Time and the primary regulator of world time. Leap seconds are only applied as needed and since their inception we have had 25 leap seconds. The last leap second, in 2012, caused problems on the internet and web based systems, with some web servers unable to process the extra second.

What do you need to do?
Ensure that your Trimble hardware has the latest firmware and that your software is upgraded to the latest updates and patches.

GNSS receivers operate at their best performance if they are on the latest firmware. If you are under maintenance or have a receiver less than 12 months old please check the software version and update it if necessary.

If you do experience difficulties on the morning of Wednesday 1st July, best practice would be to reset your receiver. On most models this is by turning the receiver off, then holding down the ‘on button’ for just over 30 seconds on start-up. The receiver may then take a few minutes to reacquire satellites.

For more information please see the Leap Second Support Note to review how each version of Survey GNSS firmware will handle the introduction of the UTC leap second to the GNSS satellite constellations.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to check your receiver platforms to ensure they are running the most current firmware available from the respective manufacturer.

Contact your local UPG office if you need any assistance in update your software or firmware.