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.