Monthly Archives: October 2016

InterGEO 2016, Day 3 (Thur)

Day three I concentrated on final visits with companies, but I did find a few new things and take more detailed pictures of things that I thought others would be interested in. At noon I left to walk downtown to look for a few presents.

One thing that I found interesting was I don’t think that there was another US dealer at the show that was not also a part of a display booth. It could certainly be possible that I did not run into them. My friend Brian (a Utah Surveyor) went with me and I believe that he could have been the only US surveyor at the show as an attendee (again, there were a few working booths for the companies that they sell for.) At the show conclusion both of us thought that the show was totally-completely worth the trouble. We both got a perspective that we would not have gotten otherwise.

My UAV conclusions: On Tuesday I made a quick pass through the UAV centric hall (which is slightly misleading as there were a lot of UAV’s in all the halls.) I made an initial conclusion about them: “NO”. After three days and a better perspective it is my conclusion that there are about 100 european manufacturers who are all competing with DJI.

Last week Trimble announced that they are jettisoning Gatewing, which I think is a good decision because the flying hardware is a total commodity.

I did meet some young businessmen who are building replacement parts for DJI and their own line of disposable drones. Basically they make the parts for a full drone, minus motors and control for much less than $50. Fly them a few times and toss them.

They will be successful with this model. I am interested in this.

If you need a big drone (like one with a gas motor) there are other players who make them, but for a surveyor they are not in play.

There were also some killer trick cameras that do multi-band. These are pretty cool too.

Having dished the hardware, I will say that I met 5 different companies that are making fantastic alternatives to Pix4D. And instead of being ‘whatever centric’ Pix4D is, they are survey/engineering centric. Much better registration, control and interchange with standard survey tools. Different licensing models too. I am very interested in this segment of the drone world.

I hate to stay this, but the drones are a total commodity like toilet paper. You are going to be able buy decent drones at a corner supertore.

Here are yet more drone / UAV pictures from Thursday:


Here is a wider shot of the robot with two GPS receivers mounted on the back of a 4-wheeler:img_20161013_104042865img_20161013_104107281img_20161013_104143202img_20161013_104154475_hdrimg_20161013_104202488_hdrimg_20161013_104209864img_20161013_104222147img_20161013_104228376_hdrimg_20161013_104258273img_20161013_104310334img_20161013_104321017img_20161013_104347152img_20161013_104409728img_20161013_104418778img_20161013_104428537_hdrimg_20161013_104446478img_20161013_104455322img_20161013_104507421img_20161013_104517633img_20161013_104520104img_20161013_104601678img_20161013_104612167img_20161013_104635461

I found another source of some really nifty prisms, targets and well machined accessories:

I guess these are for putting down on the road to monitor the lanes on a bridge


These are pretty cool prisms tooimg_20161013_093432907img_20161013_093447362img_20161013_093535496

At the Genecq booth (they are from Canada) I found the Gintec G10. Gintec is a sub-brand of Unistrong. This receiver is in the same case as the Carlson BRX6 (so much for an exclusive) but it uses the Trimble BD-970 engine instead of the Hemisphere developed engine.img_20161013_095720322img_20161013_095709345

They also had a cool little 7-watt repeater (I assume that it is also built by Unistrong):


At the Nikon corner of the Spectra Precision corner of the Trimble booth:


Which is targeted at precision vision applications like looking at crack expansion on bridge columns and decks.

I also spoke at length with the Geo++ folks


who make the server software for building RTK networks (it competes with Trimble VRS products.) They also perform (essentially) all of the absolute antenna calibrations.

I got interested in their deployed networks and took pictures of all of them along with a short paper on PPP/RTK:


Deployed networks:

Iran / Korea (hopefully South?)


Germany / Netherlandsimg_20161013_103006735

Netherhlands / Europe (different networks)img_20161013_103014512

Spain / Italyimg_20161013_103019661

Austria / Franceimg_20161013_103025751

Belgium / Hungaryimg_20161013_103033582

Finland / Icelandimg_20161013_103040367

Turkey / Brazilimg_20161013_103046524

more Brazil, Canadaimg_20161013_103053350

Canada, USA (partial)img_20161013_103100339img_20161013_103108882


UAE, Tunesiaimg_20161013_103126691

Hong Kong, Israel, Japanimg_20161013_103132303

Taiwan, Sri Lankaimg_20161013_103137824

This looks like a pretty nice rail mapping fixture:


In every booth that did mobile mapping (like mapping from a vehicle) the only lidar of note was Velodyne:


Finally some pictures from our walk downtown. This interlocking manhole is pretty neat. Here in SLC, they either weld or tar them down. This would be a good alternative. (My family used to own the local foundry, so apparently I have an inbred fetish for steel lids.)


Yes, they have really good bread and pastries. In fact, I am thinking of returning on a dedicated donut sampling tour.img_20161013_141545648

This is the city hall, framed by the columns on a canal facing walk.img_20161013_143731889

A canal.img_20161013_144002185_hdr


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InterGEO 2016: Day 2 (Wed)

So, InterGEO is held in 5 giant halls. One of the halls is primarily devoted to UAV stuff. When I left the hall on Tuesday, I can assure you that my feeling was I did not want to get involved with the actual drones. There are 100’s of drone manufacturers. In a few years, 80% of them will be gone.

So other than the one hall full of drones, and a smattering of drones elsewhere, the show is full of GPS/GNSS related toys.

The stuff that I found to be most interesting was the crazy cool mechanical things. Like:

Tribrachs that register to 10 um (ten microns) X, Y and Z.

Pen bottoms for poles that put a marker dot on the ground when you push them.

Site monitoring prisms (you probably can not imagine how many are available here. It is amazing.)

I am going to log my pictures starting from the morning to the evening.


This is the downtown Radisson BLU hotel where we stayed. It is a great hotel. The best thing about this hotel is the AMAZING breakfast buffet. (I will get pictures in the morning.)


This the same digital level that we sell with a Spectra Precision label. I found it at the Ruide booth (which is a sub-brand of South).


This is a pretty nice little data collector from South. I believe it is available as Android or Windows Embedded.


I did not dare ask how much this ‘medium’ sized Ground Penetrating Radar might be. They claim that they make one 4 times bigger. (Treasure Hunt!)


This is a new 1-watt Satel external radio. I would personally use it for a repeater. The internal battery will run it for 6 hours.

Next we have an amazing assortment of monuments:








Now, these pole tips are amazing:


You put a paint marker in them, then when you push the pole down, it puts a paint dot on




If you need cool scanning targets, they exist:










I ran into my old friend Neil VanCans from Altus / Septentrio and shared a Salt Lake City beer with him at the SatLab booth:



They had a machine that froze the bottom 1/2 inch on the can so it literally has ice inside the bottom of the can. Brilliant!

Here are some bigger shots of the floor in one of the five halls:





Lunch is always important, we chose the ‘Bobby and Fritz’ food truck:



Pomms + Sausage cuts + BBQ Sauce + special spicy curry powder. I had already had two beers at the Javad booth so I had a ‘CocaLite’.

Here is a nice compass (the kind without batteries):


Here is an electronic compass:


This is a cool inclinometer with a locking dial. It has 0.1 degree resolution:


These are the coolest truck box and organizers ever:









with a cool desk inside the van:



And here is a 10 micron precision tribrach:







Finally, here is a picture of the park on the way back from the hall to the hotel:



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InterGEO 2016: Tuesday (Day 1)

Pictures from Day on of InterGEO

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MobileMapper 50

So we have not publicized this much but SP has discontinued the MobileMapper 20 and we (iGage) no longer will sell the MobileMapper 120 receivers. (You will have to call and ask to find out why, can’t put it in writing.) To clarify, the MobileMapper 120 is probably still available from alternate providers.

The replacement for the MobileMapper 20 is the MobileMapper 50 and it looks to be a great tool. MobileMapper Field is now available to run on any android device, the MobileMapper 50 is an android device, looks to be a great little cell phone with decent memory and battery life. It is waterproof and has a 3-year factory warranty.

The problem is they are a bit behind in initial delivery, I have not even seen one yet. (We have ordered them, but they have not shipped yet.) I expect/hope to see one in Hamburg next week (Oct 10th 2016) at InterGEO and I will report back on what I find. (It is disappointing that I have to fly to Germany to see one.)

The MM50 has a uBLOX 72-channel engine (I think) so I expect about 1.5 meter CEP performance. It will be post-processable down to 80 cm (2.6 feet). So it is going to fill the sub-meter range of applications.

For sub-meter applications, I think that the future is going to be full RTK rovers connected by Bluetooth to handheld devices. However we do have an excellent Windows Embedded based solution (with a Trimble BD910 engine) available now: LT500T but this is another story.

In the old days (like two years ago) RTK receivers were so expensive that it was worth the trouble to post-process. Now in most urban areas there are RTK networks that provide base corrections at reasonable prices. You can get a top performing RTK network rover for around $6,000 now. These devices provide centimeter level accuracy for about the same price as a GIS receiver, without the burden of post-processing. Post-processing is going to die and it is a GOOD THING.

Anyway, more information on the MobileMapper 50 soon. It is safe to start holding your breath now for answers. 🙂

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InterGEO 2016

InterGEO starts in Hamburg Germany next Tuesday, and I am going!

My goal this year is to take tons of pictures and really walk the floor completely. Then to spend an hour every evening posting the pictures and my summaries here. So get ready for lots of posts over the next week!

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