Category Archives: PM500

New Ashtech Firmware

  • MM100-PM100-PM200 New Service Layer
  • Cad-File-Converter for FAST Survey
  • PM500 Update


Filed under Carlson, FAST Survey, MM100 - PM100 - PM200, MMCX, PM500

How Much Data Does a GSM Rover Consume?

A common GSM Rover question is “How much data does a GSM Rover consume?’ or what kind of data plan should I purchase for the SIM card in my GSM Rover (a GSM rover is a RTK GPS receiver that receives real-time correction via a GSM cellular network connection.)

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Filed under MM100 - PM100 - PM200, PF500, PM500

Cad File Converter for Latest FAST Survey

Last week when I was at the Wyoming Engineering and Survey convention in Cheyenne Wyoming (which I should add was the warmest and least windy place I had been in two weeks–really) I found that I could not import a DWG file directly. It turns out that the cad file converter program was not installed with FAST Survey. I was able to enable the functionality by copying the converter from a valid SurvCE version 2.52 installation to my FAST Survey installation on my PM200.

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Filed under FAST Survey, MM100 - PM100 - PM200, PF500, PM500

The ProMark 500 Gets a Major Upgrade

The ProMark 500 (PM500) receiver got a major firmware upgrade a couple of weeks ago (firmware S529GI23) which among other enhancements tuned Time-to-First-Fix down to 5 to 10 seconds and results in much better dynamic performance.

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Filed under PM500

FAST Survey vs. Carlson SurvCE

Today’s release of new firmware for the ProMark 500 brings up an interesting consideration:

Is it better to pair FAST Survey or Carlson SurvCE with Ashtech equipment?

At first glance, both pieces of software are identical other than the initial splash screen. But release dates and versions expose an important difference: Carlson SurvCE releases do not match firmware updates in Ashtech equipment.

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Filed under FAST Survey, MM6, MMCX, PF500, PM500

ProMark 500 V5 (S529G123) Major Firmware Release

New firmware for the PM500 was released earlier today. The new firmware adds support for:

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Filed under FAST Survey, PM500, Uncategorized

GNSS Solutions 3.6, PM100 FAST Terminal, End of Sales MMCX/PM3/MM6 and more…

There has been an interesting development in the WAAS PRN 135 saga, Intelsat regained control and command and is working to place it back into useful orbit. There is a pretty good article at GPSWorld [ Rouge WAAS SV ] with all the details.

GNSS Solutions V 3.6

GNSS Solutions V 3.60 has been released. Detailed information is available [ GNSS Solutions V3.6 Information ]

You can download V3.60 from the ftp site (290 Meg, 62 folders, 282 files ) [ FTP Link ]

I have provided a single file, ZIP Archive on the mirror [ GNSS Solutions V6 Archive ] it should be much easier to download and install than grabbing the individual files via FTP.

I have installed this new version and checked it out with my standard jobs. the new version produces higher confidence intervals (better) and addresses some issues with CORS download. I think it is worth the download and install time.

ProMark 100 Field Terminal

A dedicated part number (PN 800981-12) for a ProMark 100 Field Terminal with FAST Survey is now available. The kit includes a ProMark 100 data collector with Internal/External GNSS FAST Survey, the standard accessories (battery, cradle, power supply, USB cable) and a pole bracket. The MSRP is $3,995, which is a pretty good deal.

This new product release is comprised of these existing part numbers:

MobileMapper 100 990631 $3,295.00
FAST Survey 990645 $1,000.00
FAST Survey External GNSS 680634 $500.00
Bracket for Pole Mount 802124 $75.00
Total if Purchased Separately $4,870.00

A savings of $875!

However, it is not quite as inexpensive as a MMCX with FAST Survey (PN 800981-11), which it is replacing, at $2,750.00. (We do have MMCX receivers and MMCX FAST Survey terminals in stock!) The MM6 with FAST Survey may not be available any more.

I just finished testing the latest FAST Survey (2.5.1) on a MobileMapper 100 with a Bluetooth Connection to a ProMark 500 receiver. This latest FAST version really works well. It is… well, really fast.

ProMark 500 on CDMA (Verizon/US Cellular) Networks using Mobile Hotspot!

The MM100 with FAST 2.5.1 handles using WiFi to deliver network NTRIP and Direct IP connections seamlessly. (The MMCX could never accomplish this, it was too slow!) This used to theoretically be possible using Bluetooth, but it did not work well. The MM100 makes WiFi connections automatically, the range is exceptional (with the SpecTec SDIO card) and the MM100 is fast enough to move the data around.

To use a WiFi configuration, you connect the MobileMapper 100 to a WiFi hotspot (think iPhone with Mobile Hotspot on the Verizon network, Droid, PalmPre or a construction site trailer). The MM100 makes the connection to a GPS network through the WiFi connection and passes the corrections up the Bluetooth link to the ProMark 500.

It is a great CDMA solution for the ProMark 500 and it saves having to pay to enable the GSM modem on the PM500 Receiver (this means you don’t have to purchase “PN 680528 GSM/GPRS Activation”: saves a cool $990.00!)


Release Notes are now available for the 2.5.1 FAST Survey Release [ Notes ]

Camera Application Note

There is also a new ‘Camera Application Note’ that details a shutter issue on the MM100/PM100/PM200 device: [ Note ].

In a nutshell: When you push the center button to take a picture, the MM100 makes a clicky noise, then waits 3 seconds, then takes the picture. The note promises a solution and recommends holding the camera/GPS still for a couple of seconds after pushing the button.

End Of Sales: MMCX, PM3, MM6


The MobileMapper CX, Mobile Mapper 6 and ProMark 3 are allocated and available in limited quantities. There are still a few available, and the replacements (PM3 -> PM100; MMCX -> MM100) are more expensive.

Remember that ‘End of Sales‘ does not mean ‘End of Life‘!

I suspect that the ProMark 3 static receiver will be sorely missed. You can’t touch the performance / price without spending an extra $1,000 for the ProMark 100. We still have plenty in inventory, but don’t delay if you are thinking about getting a third receiver or a RTK Pair because factory allocation means they will be hard to get.

Ashtech will continue to support these devices for a minimum of three years after they are declared ‘End of Life’, and if the continued factory support/service of the Z-Surveyor is an indication, perhaps for a very-very long time after that.

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Filed under FAST Survey, MM100 - PM100 - PM200, MM6, MMCX, PM500

ProMark 500: New GNSS Firmware

New GNSS firmware S403Gv21 was released October 4, 2010. Details on the firmware release can be found at:

ProMark 500 Firmware Release Information ]

Firmware: V4.03 [ info ] [ folder ] 04-October-2010

General version number: S403Gv21

SYS FW: S056
RFS: 403
KERNEL: 2.6.19
PMU: 2.31
GSM: 6.63c or 7.3

Note, V4.1 of PM500 requires GNSS Solutions 3.10.10 and FAST Survey 2.3.5

Online Mission Planning

A nifty online mission planning tool is available. This tool supports US, GLONASS and SBAS SV’s and directly integrates with Google Maps for choosing site information and displaying SV positions.

You can access the web tool at:

and the Mobile Device tool at:

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Filed under PM500