FIG Congress Show Recap

May 28, 2002
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News from the largest presentation by the industry ever held on American soil.

The U.S. Capitol city, Washington, D.C., set the stage for surveyors, mappers and other geomaticians in April for the XXII FIG International Congress and ACSM-ASPRS Conference and Technology Exhibition 2002. More than 3,000 attendees from 84 countries participated in workshops and meetings, and visited 121 manufacturer exhibition booths on the show floor. Worries about an economic recession were subdued by new products, mergers and acquisitions, and visions of the industry’s future.

Integration was the key word at the show: integration of companies, integration of products and integration of services. Jack Dangermond, ESRI president, highlighted the need for surveyor involvement in the evolution of data collection, creation and usage during the Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address. Integration of data (and those who create it) is the way of the future, Dangermond noted, since “data is more important and valued now since it has multi-purposes.” The role of professionals who create and use geo data will grow, Dangermond says; thus, surveyors and GIS specialists will need to understand user needs, will plan, provide data, manage and collaborate with every piece of data they make.

More proof of the integration theme can be found in show coverage found in the following pages.

ACSM Awards Ceremony and Installation of Officers

The annual ACSM awards ceremony included the installation of the organization’s new officers. Gary Kent stepped down as president, superceded by Sam Best, who told the ceremony’s attendees: “I’ll let my actions speak more than my words.” ACSM’s new staff includes:

Sam Best, ACSM president
K. Eric Anderson, ACSM president-elect
Edward McKay, ACSM vice-president
Buddy Bannerman,
ACSM director from NSPS
Steven Briggs,
ACSM director from NSPS
Rita Lumos, ACSM director from NSPS
E. Lynn Usery, president, CaGIS
Matt Wellslager, president, GLIS
Steven Frank, president, AAGS
Gerry Curtis, president, NSPS

Many deserved scholarships and awards were given to hard-working men, women and students, including the NSPS Surveying Excellence Award, proudly sponsored by POB magazine. Our congratulations go to John R. Chagnon, this year’s recipient. The Excellence Award is presented to a surveyor who has performed outstanding service in the surveying profession. The award included an engraved plaque and a $500 honorarium from POB magazine.

rpls.com Gathering

Several rpls.com posters gathered together in the hotel lobby bar of the Marriott Wardman to put a face to a name (or alias) and chat about the board and the industry. The laughter and conversation of the group captured the spirit and vision of Mark Deal, RPLS, creator of the industry’s strongest message board.

Fifth Annual Surveying Sports Competition

The exhibit hall held seven events for participants to test their skills and try for valuable prizes. The events included Pacing, Guess the Angle, Guess the Elevation Difference, Guess the Bearing, Guess the Distance, Angle Turning Skill and Survey Chain Throwing. POB magazine sponsored the Survey Chain Throwing once again, this year awarding it to William R. Coleman, RLS, survey supervisor in the engineering division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department in Charlotte, N.C. Bill, who won with a “throwing” time of 43 seconds, was the proud winner of a Trimble GeoExplorer.

New Topcon Robotic Total Station Features Optical Communication and Reflectorless Operation

Topcon introduced the GPT-8000A robotic total station with RC-211 FastTrak, a one-man surveying system that provides optical communications for radio-free operation, an instant lock/remote location system and reflectorless distance measurements so that productivity is maintained in even the toughest field conditions. The new system was designed with the robotic surveyor in mind. It eliminates problems of interference, dying batteries, stepped on cables, FCC clearance and lock loss due to obstacles.

The GPT-8000A with RC-211 FastTrak provides both instant lock capability at the press of a button and optical communications without the use of a radio. The RC-211 Optical Communications and FastTrak remote control provides radio-free operation, eliminating potential radio interference and licensing issues; and provides fast, simple acquisition of the GPT-8000 tracking beam. When jobsite obstacles disrupt the beam, FastTrak instantly re-acquires lock at the press of a button. As a reflectorless total station, the GPT-8000A features a measurement range to 400, 50 degree per second maximum rotation speed, 12 degree per second maximum auto-tracking speed and an auto-tracking range of 2,600 feet.

Should the job require greater range, the Topcon GPT-8000A also enables surveyors to use traditional radio technology. Plus, its waterproof and dustproof construction stands up to inclement weather and the harshest jobsite conditions.

Carlson Offers SurvCE Freeware Through Topcon and Leica Geosystems

Topcon Positioning Systems and Leica Geosystems both announced releases of Carlson Software Inc.’s SurvCE Freeware.

Topcon and Leica will offer a 90-day trial version of Carlson SurvCE Complete with Advanced Roading features (a $2,995 value) to customers through their respective resellers. The freeware is also downloadable from Topcon’s website at www.topcon.com and Leica’s website at www.leicaadvantage.com. SurvCE Complete comes with an electronic version of the reference manual and can be easily registered online. At the end of the 90-day trial period, SurvCE Complete reverts to SurvCE Basic, which has a reduced functionality but continues to interface with all robotic and conventional total stations as well as RTK GPS.

With reduced functionality, Carlson SurvCE Basic will be a strong data collection product offering such features as point stakeout, re-sections and area calculations. It can also be used as freeware indefinitely. Customers may purchase a fully licensed version of SurvCE at any time during the trial use of SurvCE Complete with Advanced Roading, or after the trial when using SurvCE Basic.

Leica Geosystems Presents Full Line of Products and Services

Leica Geosystems used the FIG Congress as a stage for its first meeting since its formation. From Leica’s recent acquisitions of LH Systems, ERDAS and Cyra Technologies, CEO Hans Hess reported the company’s goal to present a well-rounded company and groundbreaking products.

Leica presented its innovations in professional lectures and in its exhibition booth. The Leica ADS40, the world’s first digital aerial sensor, was introduced, and new possibilities in remote sensing: new solutions for processing the picture data and transforming satellite picture signals into 2D or 3D models. The ALS40, Leica’s high-end LIDAR system, has added new features and now offers multi-mode operation. The new capabilities allow users to collect highly detailed LIDAR data, tailor the system’s operations mid-flight, respond to higher variations in altitude and signal strength, and decrease data storage requirements and processing time.

Leica’s big splash at the FIG show was the GS50+. The GS50+ contains all of the data collection capabilities of Leica’s GS50, as well as a 24-channel dual-frequency engine essential for producing quick, accurate centimeter-level results. The GS50+ features an unparalleled combination of RTK range, fast initialization time, tracking stability and solution reliability in real-time. For maximum user convenience, the user has the option of carrying the system in a backpack, setting it up on the pole provided, or using a combination of both.

For the fast-growing GIS market, Leica Geosystems will present other innovative solutions, including the ArcCadastre software, a Leica Geosystems software package that runs on the global market-leading ESRI platform.

Trimble Enters 3D Laser Scanner Market

Trimble announced that it has entered into an agreement with German-based Callidus Precision Systems GmbH to serve as the exclusive worldwide distributor of its Callidus 3D Laser Scanning system. The laser scanner’s innovative technology allows detailed surveys of complex structures to be done in less time than traditional methods.

The Callidus 3D Laser Scanner is a computerized 3D laser scanning system with an integrated video camera. The servo-driven system uses a non-contact infrared laser pulse as well as angle and tilt sensors to make accurate 3D measurements of enclosed spaces such as rooms and tunnels. The laser scanner automatically rotates and collects coordinates of as-built conditions in significant detail, and creates precise models of the space.

The Callidus 3D Laser Scanner covers a full field of view, sweeping 360 degrees horizontally and from 90 degrees to –60 degrees vertically. This translates to fewer setups and fewer scans to complete a job. It can measure close to one million points in 10 minutes and can operate irrespective of lighting conditions. The laser scanner is a Class 1 laser, which makes it safe to use in public areas. The 3D measurements are processed with the system’s rugged field computer and Callidus Extractor software. The software is compatible with Trimble’s Terramodel software, which provides the user with a complete, integrated surveying solution, as well as AutoCAD and other modeling software that use DXF coordinate files.

Trimble Adds Survey Pro Software to Toolbox

Trimble Survey Pro, new field software that offers increased compatibility and integration between Trimble GPS, total stations and office software, is based on Tripod Data Systems’ (TDS) Survey Pro and is designed specifically to support Trimble’s GPS total stations.

Trimble Survey Pro runs on the Trimble TSCe Controller and interfaces with Trimble’s GPS total station as well as a wide range of total stations. It includes all of the original functions of TDS Survey Pro, including the extensive TDS coordinate geometry functions. Support of GPS surveying has been expanded in Trimble Survey Pro to include Site Calibration and Ground Coordinates. Trimble Survey Pro produces raw data records suitable for import into office packages such as Trimble Geomatics Office software. Using Trimble Survey Pro, data from Trimble GPS survey systems is seamlessly transferred and combined in Trimble office software with data from a wide range of available total stations and digital levels.

TDS Releases Survey Pro 3.5

Tripod Data Systems (TDS) announced the release of version 3.5 of both Survey Pro for Windows CE and Survey Pro for Pocket PC. Survey Pro 3.5 for Windows CE also includes additional Hotkeys and new features to enhance GPS work. Survey Pro 3.5 is a free upgrade for surveyors using Survey Pro 3.0.

One new feature in both versions is the “Write cut sheet data only (no store point)” option, which allows surveyors to edit the feature code while collecting attributes. When this option is selected, only the raw data as-built point is written to the RAW file, rather than being stored in the JOB file. This keeps the JOB file cleaner and easier to read.

Survey Pro 3.5 for Windows CE is designed for the TDS Ranger. Its new Hotkeys allow quick access to commonly used features including Past results, Distance offset, Horizontal/Vertical angle offset, and Traverse/Sideshot. The new map projection and localization features facilitate workflow when working with GPS. Additional GPS raw data capabilities improve quality control and data analysis.

LandXML Closer to Goal

LandXML, the XML schema-based civil engineering and surveying data structure that hit the market a few years ago, is closer to its goal, as evidenced by the formation of a complete workshop with examples of its actual use. Now that the Federal Highways Administration IHSDM and AASHTO have increased interest, LandXML is becoming a reality.

LandXML will transfer engineering design data between producers and consumers; provide a data format suitable for long-term data archival; and provide a standard format for electronic design submission. The LandXML.org organization, whose members have contributed to the development of the LandXML schema, has increased to about 180 members. Autodesk provides the funding for www.landxml.org and contributes the primary authors and documentation resources. A draft version 1.0 has been submitted to the workgroup and posted to the website and a number of products have shipped with support for version 1.0 of the schema including AutoCAD Land Desktop 3, Autodesk Field Survey, Eagle Point 2001 Q3 and InRoads V8.3.

ACSM will hold its next annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona from March 29-April 2, 2003. ASPRS will hold its next annual conference in Anchorage, Alaska from May 5-9, 2003.

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