Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hemisphere GPS Barrel Tipped

I listened to the conference call recording for Hemisphere GPS‘s 3rd quarter results Sunday night. They announced that they are selling off everything BUT the Ag division, closing the Calgary office, keeping the Kansas office and doing what they do best (Ag Positioning.) After reading the notes, I am not sure if the Phoenix office is impacted.

I sure am glad that I don’t work for a publicly traded company. I thought the questioning at the end of the call was a bit pointed.

It is impressive  that management is taking a road to profitability. I would like to see this same commitment in some of the other stocks that I hold (I do not have and HEM.TO shares, but have followed them for quite some time.)

This is only the first reduction in the Survey GPS market. Look for more consolidation going forward. I think European manufacturers are especially vulnerable.

It is going to be a tough Christmas for all my friends at Hemi, I wish them all the peace in the world as this barrel tips over.


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Z-Blade on a ProMark 120–Pretty Cool

Yesterday (Mon Nov 18) we got the first four ProMark 120/220 receivers. I have been excited to test the Z-Blade engine’s fix with multiple constellations (US and GLONASS) and poor constellation. I put a external antenna 2″ from the west side of our office building and after 20 seconds:


A full position fix with five SV’s: three US and two GLO! And this was not a fix that was obtained with a higher US count and then dropped. It is a full fix, from an ambiguous location (receiver last turned on in France, then shipped to Salt Lake City.)

Z-Blade really works and will make your life better if you work under canopy, in open pits, on the north side of mountains or a couple of inches from our office building 🙂

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Updating FAST Survey on Older Data Collectors

I have received several questions from Thales/Magellan/Ashtech users who have the Allegro CE, Allegro CX or MobileMapper CE data collectors asking about ‘FAST Survey’ updates for these data collectors (typically they are being used with Z-Surveyor, Z-Xtreme, ZMax and ProMark 500 devices.)

 Currently Ashtech is building ‘FAST Survey’ distributions only for these devices:

                FT1, MobileMapper 6, MobileMapper 10, MobileMapper CX, ProMark 200 and the Ranger 3

I know that there are literally thousands of older data collectors running very old versions of ‘FAST Survey’ in the field today. The latest versions of FAST Survey and Carlson SurvCE had thousands of improvements and data flow enhancements, and the Allegro CE devices are still great devices.

It is possible to convert your ‘FAST Survey’ license key to a SurvCE license key and load the latest build of SurvCE onto your older data collector. Through this path, you can use a Z-Xtreme with Allegro CE AND the latest SurvCE collection software. The cost is only $250.

An exception is the Allegro CE with very old operating system (pre 4.1):

  • SurvCE for the AllegroCE with the CE.NET (4.1 and higher) operating system. If your Allegro is using the Windows CE 3.0 operating system, it is not supported by SurvCE 2.50 and higher. To find the version of your operating system, go to Control Panel/System on the device and look for the “Microsoft Windows CE Version” number.

Since Microsoft no longer supports updating the OS, I know of no way to handle old CE devices. However, there are still some work-arounds:

  • Transfer the FAST Survey license to a MM10
  • Crossgrade the FAST Survey license to SurvCE, then install on new MM10/LT30/Surveyor+

If you find yourself in this position, give me a call and I will see what I can do to get you updated.

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Raw File Format

If you need to decode a Carlson Raw Data file, this is the secret ‘Decoder Ring’

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Difference between TrimTalk / TrimMark; II, IIe, 450, 3

So what is the difference between:

  • TT450(HW)

protocol types?

There are 3 flavors of Trimtalk protocol. In most ways they are the same basic protocol. There are different bells and whistles:

  • TT450(HW) is antiquated – fine tuned for an antiquated TT450 radio.
  • Trimtalk II replaced it. But it only runs @ 4800 bps. If you select 9600 the radio probably switches to TT450S – but it doesn’t tell you this. Trimble surveying software does this switching a lot.
  • TT450S is the next most modern flavor of the protocol. This is the one to use with non-ADL radios. It is the most compatible with radios as long as the radios were made in the last 15 years.
  • Trimmark 3 is the latest version. It’s basically the same but it is tuned to run twice as fast. But it isn’t supported by PDL radios (only ADL.)

So, there you have it 🙂

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