Rover Reboot

No base, no cellular, not plumb? No problem – and BTW, do some terrestrial imaging/photogrammetry while you are at it…
By Gavin Schrock, PLS
Where to start… A whole pile of innovations were announced at Intergeo 2013, the huge international surveying/geospatial conference being held this week in Essen Germany (and PSM has been tweeting and posting many of these). There are many announcements made each year, but this year seems more eventful than ever. There were several announced that impact one particular rover line that would be big news on their own, but these are all hitting at once. I’m a rover geek and have not been alone in speculating about what we might see in a rover of the future, so the news about the upgrades to the Trimble R10, and the announcement of their new V10 evokes a “Well I’ll be doggone” surprise response.
Through a free firmware upgrade, R10 owners can now utilize tilt compensation. Using the internal electronic “bubble”, the Access software can calc the tilt offset up to 15 degrees. Some surveyors calc rod angles to measure, for instance) inverts in maintenance holes, or shoot two prisms separated on a rod to do the same; now this is done for you. The other new feature for the R10 is full RTX (and this has been added to some of the mapping units like the ProXRT). RTX is a term that is getting a lot of notice right now, as one of the services of the Trimble Centerpoint RTX is an online post-processing service (which some are discovering for the first time as an alternate service as the NGS OPUS is down during the shutdown). But the boost to the R10 and ProXRT is the real-time RTX service that is now available over most of the world. It is a technology that does real-time PPP (which PSM has been covering for some time: see PPP can, if implemented like in RTX provide the clock-/orbit data directly to your rover from a satellite (in this case via Centerpoint RTX service) and the rover can determine its position, down to (as they state in their press release) 4cm. No base, no RTN, no cellular connection… but fast and practical for many surveying and mapping projects.
Then there is a new add-on that can fit under an R10; it is the new V10 Imaging Rover. It is a set of cameras, seven for a panorama, and five angled downward that can capture a 360 panorama at 60 megapixels. Using two or more of these images you can use the same Vision package in TBC as with the imaging from S8’s, and do terrestrial photogrammetry to map and topo features at a site. There are imaging total stations, but now there are imaging rovers. What next?
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