FTP Server on Windows Mobile Devices

You can use a FTP Server on a Windows Mobile Device (like Surveyor2, Ranger3, LT30, Nautiz X8…) and use the WiFi connection to move data back and forth between your computer and the mobile device:

Let’s face it, ActiveSync is a PITA. ActiveSync over Bluetooth can be a little simpler (see [ Connecting by Bluetooth ]) but it still relies on ActiveSync.

What I would really like to do when I return to the office is just move all of my data files over Wi-Fi to my desktop. I don’t want to extract SD cards, I don’t want to find the stupid cable.

Here is the solution: [ MochaSoft WMD FTPServer ], download it to your PC, run it while ActiveSynced to your data collector, install it, then type in the freeware username and password (displayed on the download page).

Now you can run the Server (from Start: Programs) and it will display the IP address of the data collector. All you need to do is type in this address in your explorer and you can move data back and forth to the mobile device. At full WiFi speeds! Here is what the address will look like in your Windows Explorer address bar.

Did I mention that this works on Linux and Macs too?

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Constellation Considerations for New GNSS Purchase

A long-time customer asks this question:

We talked a few months ago and you mentioned I think on new years day you used Galileo briefly and was cool. Have you noticed it working lately or any other constellations coming up soon? Whenever the new systems actually start working to be game changer I definitely want to upgrade my older units.

Actually I said that GLONASS was unavailable and I took a look a Galileo and was surprised that there were 7 satellites in my solution.

I want to answer this question explicitly for customers in the USA: if you purchase a new RTK system, you want it to track GPS + GLONASS + Galileo + BeiDou satellites. (If you are in Africa, Asia, Russia your receiver should track and use QZSS too.) You need to be very, very careful here.

  1. There is a major brand of equipment that advertises that it tracks ALL FOUR constellations, but the fine print discloses that only three constellations can be tracked simultaneously AND to make it worse, switching requires a major activation code nightmare.
  2. There are other brands that may track all four constellations, but only basic GPS and GLONASS are activated when you purchase the equipment. Turning on L2C, L5, Galileo, BeiDou costs extra and the cost is significant.

Let me explicitly list the signals that EVERY modern receiver should track:

GPS L1-C/A, L2E, L2C, L5
SBAS L1-C/A, L5
GLONASS L1-C/A, L1P, L2-C/A, L3
Galileo E1, E5-A, E5-B, E5-AltBOC
BeiDou B1, B2
QZSS L1-C/A, L1-SAIF, L2C, L5

Currently QZSS won’t buy you much in the USA, however since it is available at no cost on many receivers you should demand that it can be tracked because it might be valuable in the future.

Now, you may wonder why Galileo is important today (26 March 2016). This is the Galileo satellite availability for the reference station that operates at our office in Salt Lake City:

GAL

I drew a purple line at one of the places where Galileo adds 7 (SEVEN!) extra SV’s to the solution. Now you may argue that most networks don’t provide GAL corrections. This is true today, but remember that I am selling matched Base Rover pairs that track ALL of the signals for $12,500 for a pair. If you are working under canopy, then Galileo may be a game maker and it would certainly be worth setting up your own base (using the network) so that you can have 7 extra SV’s (SV is the abbreviation for Satellite Vehicle).

Here is a similar plot for BeiDou SV’s:

BDU

BeiDou only adds 4 SV’s, however China is going to launch many more BDU SV’s Real-Soon-Now. And when they do, you are going to wish like heck that you can track them.

The Holy Grail of RTK GNSS is accurate fixed solutions under heavy canopy. There are two primary contributors to this goal:

  1. Super-duper RTK algorithms. And yes, every year every manufacturer makes huge strides in their processing every year.
  2. More Satellites and more signals (like L5).

Some places have a lot of SV’s available today. In Asia, there are often over 40 SV’s available. Some places, not so many.

The reality is you should plan to replace your GNSS receivers EVERY FIVE YEARS so that you can take advantage of new features, hardware and firmware. In the next two years there are going to be a lot more BDU and GAL SV’s.

Let me be clear. You are stupid if you don’t purchase equipment that tracks GPS + GLONASS + Galileo and BeiDou simultaneously with the signals listed above.

Ignore equipment that claims tracking, but not simultaneous tracking. Ignore equipment that requires purchasing options to enable L2C, L5 and GLONASS L3. If your vendor is trying to pull tricks like this, they are dishonest and you should not do business with them. You are purchasing new equipment. It should be complete out of the box!

 

 

 

 

 

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Final Slides for GoWest Localization

Well, it is 15 minutes before the opening social for GoWest and I just finished another edit on my GoWest Localization, Grid-to-Ground and LDP presentation.

I am going to make videos of the entire presentation (after I do the presentation), but here is the final director’s notes: [ LocalizationOutline ]

 

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What happens if you use the Wrong Base Projection in a Localization?

Hint: It is either NOT GOOD or insignificant.

If a job of significant size (> ½ mile) is designed in say ‘Utah South NAD83’, don’t do a site calibration (localization) using a Transverse Mercator base projection.

And don’t trust your data collector to ‘do the right thing’ without your intervention, many don’t. In fact, most do the wrong thing by default!

I have struggled to find a good example of why a localization needs to be based on the same projection as a larger project (say larger than 1 mile in any direction) is designed in. I think that reducing the example to a straight line between two points is the simplest method. [ What happens if you use the Wrong Base Projection … ]

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SP60 vs. SP80

I made the comparison table (below) to compare the Spectra Precision SP60 and SP80 products.

Let me summarize the differences:

Price SP60 costs 11% less. SP60 does not have hot swapable battery. SP60 does not have nifty display. SP60 does have L-Band for Centerpoint (nifty but none of my customer will use.) SP60 has 1/8 the internal memory. SP60 does not have an internal cell phone. SP60 does not have internal Wi-Fi (which is kind of a deal breaker for me, I love the internal Wi-Fi!) SP60 does not appear to have tilt sensor.

SP60 SP80
Cost for L1L2 GNSS UHF Rover $12,400 $13,995
Display 5-LEDs PMOLED Display
Built in Wi-Fi NO 802.11 BGN
Internal Static Occupation Memory 256 MB 2 GB
Maximum Recording Rate 10 Hz 20Hz
L-Band (RTX Center Point Support) YES NO
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR Long Range 2.1 EDR
Bluetooth for Site Corrections YES NO
Internal GSM Cell Modem none 3.5 G QuadBand
Number of batteries 1 2
Battery Life (GNSS + UHF Rx) 8 hours 10 hours
Weight 930 g (2.1 lb) 1170 g (2.6 lb)
Memory Expansion none 32 GB SD Card
Warranty 2-years 2-years
UHF Radio (exact same for both receivers) XDL 2-Watt XDL 2-Watt
Anit-theft Lock to Location Lock to Location,
SMS, EMail Msgs
Tilt Sensor Nope Yes

So what is going on here? My guess is the SP80 is positioned to be the choice for most typical sales. And my guess is the SP60 is a price-point flexible offering. So you will see deals, trade-ins, promotions, discounts, specials, great quantity pricing and super-duper pricing in South America and Asia.

But I won’t know for sure until someone comes along and tries to purchase 20 of them at once!

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ProMark 3 -> SP60 Trade-In Program

Spectra Precision is offering a substantial trade-in program for converting ProMark 3 receivers to the latest SP-60 receivers. If you have ProMark 3 receivers and you are thinking about upgrading to state-of-the-art receivers, now may be the time.

Here is the redemtion table:

Part Number Description PM3 Trade-In Value
104234-00 SP60 L1 GPS Single Receiver Kit $600
104234-01 SP60 L1 GNSS Single Receiver Kit $900
104234-02 SP60 L1/L2 GPS Single Receiver Kit $900
104234-50 SP60 L1/L2 GNSS Single Receiver Kit
w/UHF 430-470 MHz 2W TRx
$1,400

So a pair of ProMark 3 receivers would have a trade-in value of $2,800 towards a RTK pair of SP60s.

Additional information with list prices can be found here [ SP60 Information ].

If you are considering taking advantage of this program, please drop me a note or call so we can figure out which data collector you will need, I will get you an ‘official’ quotation.

Terms: There is a lot of factory fine print, here is the important stuff:

  1. Acceptable trade-in units include survey grade L1 or L1/L2 receivers with part numbers 800520-02 and 800488-03.
  2. Trade-in receivers have to be tendered to us before we will ship, however all we need is the receiver bodies. We don’t need cables, antennas, power supplies, batteries and other accessories.
  3. You can’t combine offers.
  4. USA and Canada delivery only.
  5. Offer ends March 31st

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Never Loose Data in SurvCE

There is, in fact, a risk of loosing valuable data that you collect in any field program. On most of the newer data collectors that we sell (Carlson Mini-2, Carlson Surveyor-2, Nautiz-X8, Ranger 3…) the operating system is loaded in the same space as the program and data files.

If anything goes wrong, you must reinstall the operating system from scratch. This wipes out your program installations and it will wipe out all of the data that is stored on the device.

Many customers choose to store data on the SD or micro-SD card that typically is loaded in the battery compartment. But there is a significant speed decrease in using SD memory on most data collectors (see [making-survce-fast-survey-store-points-faster].)  The SD memory access sometimes is 100 times slower than the main memory.

Luckily SurvCE has a simple mechanism that allows you to continuously back-up your work during the day.

First make sure that your data collector has a SD or micro-SD card installed. These usually are placed in the battery compartment.

When you start a new job put it in the main memory. The default location in SurvCE is “/Device/Program Files/ SurvCE/Data/”.

Immediately after you start a job from the main menu go to ‘Equip: 6: Data Transfer’:
bu001

Click on the ‘Set Storage’ button, navigate to the SD card (often called ‘Storage Card’) and configure the destination to be a new folder. I like to use ‘SurvCEJobBU’ because it makes sense:
bu002

Once the folder is configured, click on the ‘Copy Crt (current) Job to Storage’. It will take about 1/2 second to replicate all of the job files in the backup location.

Now, throughout the day when you have collected enough data that you think it would be a bad deal to loose the recent changes, return to this menu and just click the ‘Copy Crt…’ button again.

 

 

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