Daily Archives: May 15, 2013

ProMark 700: I love this

Okay, I am a late adopter on this one… I received my ProMark 700 receiver on Monday. It is really nice, and I am embarrassed to have not gotten one earlier.

Here is my short list of reasons to check out the PM700:

  1. Unbelievable light weight: 19.990 oz
  2. Long 10 hour life on a short charge
  3. One button operation (really!)
  4. Two LED’s: charging/on and Bluetooth
  5. Quick turn on, perhaps 15 second from turning on to tracking
  6. Fantastic performance (indistinguishable from a PM800)

The single power connector is high quality, and the receiver comes with a cigarette adapter so I can charge it at lunch time. (Not that it needs it, because the 10 hour life is more than enough to get me through a day.)

The bottom mount (the 5/8” hole on the bottom) is plenty tough enough for mounting a 20 oz receiver.

I can read the LED’s outside.

The manual is a single page.

The RTK performance in the Utah VRS is spectacular. I dependably get 2-second fixes in front of our office, north of the big blue spruce from full inverted dumps.

I did a couple hundred dump-fixes on Tuesday and the range was less than 1 cm in trying conditions. In fact, it was the quickest 100 dump-fixes I have ever performed because the receiver is smoking hot fast.

Over the weekend, I will run some long occupations and report on low angle tracking errors in a later post. I will also try to compare the PM220 and the PM700 directly.

This is a great network survey rover. And it is a great precision GIS receiver.

And did I mention that the price is pretty good too?

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Spectra Precision Dealer Meeting

Wow, I am just back from the Spectra Precision / Ashtech Dealer meeting in Ft. Lauderdale Florida (May 8-10, 2013.) The venue was spectacular and the meeting and presentations were all really interesting.

Some of the highlights for me were:

Survey Pro V 5.3 enhancements:

  digital leveling is added back in

  shapefiles can now be loaded as active backgrounds (COGO, Stake, Picks)

  support for RTCM delivered datums (you are going to hear a lot about this)

  two prism offsets (brilliant)

I was introduced to the new .survey file last year, but I did not really get how cool having a single ‘active’ data file for collection is. When you change an observation, all dependant values (think side-shots, traverses) automatically are updated.

Another neat trick happens when you run a level loop through a GPS observed point. The point attributes are split, GPS controls XY and level controls Z. Then the elevations will propagate through subsequent measurements separately from XY position.

This is really neat stuff and the internal complexity must be just crazy. Kudos to the SurveyPro team for getting it right.

There was a confirmation that Mobile Mapping is an important part of the SPNA (Spectra Precision Nikon Ashtech) portfolio. Mobile Mapper Field is an active product, as is the desktop tool.

The ProMark 700 is really cool, more on this later because I received my demo PM700 two days ago and have been playing with it quite a bit.

The new SP UL633 Universal Laser really is nifty

There was an announcement (May 9th) of a ‘Spectra Precision Preferred Support Program.’ Basically it emphasizes the importance of purchasing equipment from a great dealer (like us) who can provide the 1st line of support for products. Customer’s needing factory support will have it available, but there will be a cost (either pay as you go or an annual support agreement.)

I really like the program as it was presented. Typically 10% of customers generate 90% of the support calls. It is not fair to penalize the other 90% (the ones who take notes, have a stable employee base and might crack a manual) for the problems of these few. Plus charging for support and training emphasizes the value of dealer support. In other words, when we provide support for free it is often perceived to be of no value.

It was great to see all of our dealer friends from South America and Canada. Some of us have known each other for more than a decade. We skype often, but only see each other in person every couple of years at these functions.

All in all it was great fun. And definitely worth the time.


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