The status and future of location intelligence for surveyors

June 24th, 2015

If you’re a surveying professional using GPS technology to take measurements, then you depend on accurate data being delivered from dozens of satellites overhead. It’s important to note that the technology used to read and work with this data in the field, as well as the nature of the satellites providing this information, is rapidly evolving.

As a result, location intelligence is more important than ever for surveyors. Access to the most recent and accurate measurements available provides your surveying team with a notable competitive advantage over your peers. Likewise, surveyors willing to improve their location intelligence technology, in terms of hardware and software, can see their workflow streamlined and their business made more profitable.

“The technology used to read and work with GPS data in the field is rapidly evolving.”

GPS and GNSS modernization is up in the air
Modern pieces of location intelligence equipment for surveyors typically collect data from not only from the U.S. satellite constellation (also known as GPS, or “Global Positioning System”), but also from the extended network of orbiting systems operated by the international community (GNSS, or “Global Navigation Satellite System”).

Ongoing political discussions result in new satellite networks, so it’s imperative to work with location intelligence equipment that can take advantage of the vast amounts of  positioning data available. It won’t be long before working with dated GPS-only equipment doesn’t get the job done and your company has to look for new solutions.

Software interoperability creates new opportunities for surveyors
It’s not uncommon for surveyors to own and operate different GPS receivers or be asked to work with data collected by hardware from multiple equipment manufacturers. Even information collected by high-performance GNSS models becomes less useful if the information can’t be read by the software your company utilizes.

Prioritizing interoperability when evaluating and purchasing data collection software will help avoid instances where compatibility compromises productivity. Carlson has developed positive relationships with most manufacturers and is constantly releasing new drivers to ensure the interoperability of its software with a wide variety of data collection hardware.

Advances in location intelligence are just around the corner
Location intelligence continues to advance, so surveying professionals always have reason to evaluate their current technological capabilities and identify where upgrades can improve efficiency and accuracy. This includes keeping an eye on the latest developments in location intelligence, identifying where those innovations can help address your company’s productivity bottlenecks, and make time spent in the field more productive.

Inertial sensors, for instance, are quickly becoming more popular in the industry. These sensors are capable of being built directly into receivers and could eventually help to improve calibration and control tolerances for GNSS surveying gear.

More advanced location intelligence leads to more accurate measurements.More advanced location intelligence leads to more accurate measurements.

High-performance GNSS equipment is already available
There are plenty of examples of GNSS hardware and software available for surveyors, but there are few examples of products that seamlessly work as well with each other as they do with products from other manufacturers.

Carlson’s SurvCE software, for example, is not only capable of running on handheld data collectors, but also on-board conventional and robotic total stations. The application comes pre-loaded on pieces of Carlson hardware like the Surveyor 2 and Mini 2, and SurvCE’s interoperability is designed to make it easier to move workloads from one piece of equipment to the next, almost regardless of the manufacturer.

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