Web Exclusive: Conference Recap: INTERGEO 2009

November 1, 2009
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Image courtesy of INTERGEO.


INTERGEO, the annual conference and exhibition of products organized by the German Association of Surveying – German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW), was held September 22-24 in Karlsruhe, Germany. With the current economic downturn, many attendees and exhibitors expected a much smaller turnout compared to last year’s event in Bremen. However, event organizers were confident that the conference would be a success. “We had three key indicators that told us to expect at least as [many visitors as previous years]: pre-registrants, guest admission passes requested by exhibitors, and online advance ticket sales,” said Olaf Frier, CEO of Hinte Marketing and Media GmbH, the company that organizes the logistics of the event for DVW.

These predictors were accurate. When the final totals were verified by FKM, the Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics, the number was in excess of 16,000 visitors (not including staff, volunteers and exhibitors)-about 1,000 more than was estimated would attend. This number actually exceeded the attendance last year. “We are so proud that our event offers enough opportunities for individuals and businesses that despite the global crisis, when most similar events are suffering decreases in attendance of 10 to 30 percent, we are not only able to maintain our vigor, but to increase it slightly,” Frier said. The exhibition covered the same area as last year-almost 6.2 acres of gross space in two exhibit halls. The enthusiasm of exhibitors for the event was also undiminished; 475 companies and organizations from all over the world highlighted their products and services.

Image courtesy of INTERGEO.

An International Event

INTERGEO is promoted as the world’s largest congress and exhibition “fair” for geodesy, geoinformation and land management, and this claim is difficult to dispute. Although the event was originally organized by Germans for Germans, it soon became known as the place to be in the European market for vendors and professional seeking to increase their business skills, know-how and gross revenues.

As the major geomatics vendors of the world expanded their exhibit space at INTERGEO, it became very easy for other international vendors to also exhibit there. This year’s vendors hailed from more than 30 nations with such diverse countries as India, South Korea, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Taiwan, the Netherlands and the United States represented. Exhibits showcased products and services ranging from cartography, GIS and geodata management to surveying and geodetic instruments of all types, photogrammetry, LiDAR and office organization.

Obvious at this year’s INTERGEO was the significant presence of mobile mapping vehicles from both solution and service vendors. These vans are usually equipped with forward- and backward-looking cameras and, in some cases, sideways-looking cameras; at least three laser scanners that cover the roadway and the “shoulder” areas; RTK GNSS; and inertial measurement units (IMUs). Each vendor has variations that add more features or vary the terrain views or type of data captured as they move. Many surveying functions are incorporated to accomplish various mapping capabilities with faster turnaround times, lower costs, and often more detail and higher accuracy than conventional procedures can provide. Many industry experts expect next year’s INTERGEO to have 15 or more of these vans on display.

The incremental growth in exhibits has led to a steady rise in international visitors. Attendees at this year’s conference came from every continent, although about half of them were from European countries. While the papers and presentations at the main congress continue to be mostly in German, presentations at the exhibit hall can be heard in many languages with English (the international language of business) being dominant after German.

Image courtesy of INTERGEO.

The Changing Face of Surveying

When asked about the continued vigor of this event, Dr. Hartmut Rosengarten, chairman of the Exhibitor Advisor Board, suggested that perhaps it is because “we do not just have data capture systems here; we also have vendors that address the needs of the geospatial data professional beyond this stage: data management, analysis, information extraction and data presentation and publishing.” At a pre-show press conference, Rosengarten and other event officials emphasized that INTERGEO’s success may be due to the fact that it continues to represent the changing face of what used to be called surveying.

“This was an eye-opening experience-to walk into an exhibit hall and see a truly international exposition of this magnitude,” said Dr. Dave Gibson, founding surveying program director at the University of Florida. He reflected that the event clearly shows how the expertise required of professionals in this field of geomatics is changing; measurement is no longer our exclusive domain as sensors become more accurate and easier to operate. “Merging our activities with those many consider different occupations, such as GIS and geodata management, becomes obvious from the broadening experience that INTERGEO offers,” Gibson said.

INTERGEO 2010 will be held Oct. 5-7 in Cologne, Germany. More information should be available soon at www.intergeo.de/en/englisch/index.php.

INTERGEO 2009 Product Showcase

Following are some of the new products that were introduced at INTERGEO 2009. These are based on press releases that were submitted to <em>POB</em>. Additional new products can be found in the New Products section of our Web site.
 
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Spectra Precision introduced additions to its Spectra Precision FOCUS line of optical survey solutions.

The Spectra Precision FOCUS 30 is a robotic total station providing high speed, accuracy and precision in measurement. The robotic instrument moves the power of the observer from the instrument to the range pole, improving efficiency. The speed of observation and precise positioning of the FOCUS 30 is provided by patented StepDrive motion technology, which controls the horizontal and vertical motion of the motors, eliminating the need for traditional motion locks. The FOCUS 30 includes a tracking sensor that uses LockNGo tracking technology, enabling the instrument to constantly lock onto the prism. The FOCUS 30 is available in 2”, 3” or 5” accuracies and is controlled by the Spectra Precision Survey Pro field software using an onboard Windows CE touchscreen interface. The FOCUS 30 is designed to be controlled externally by Spectra Precision data collectors. FOCUS 30 is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2009.


The Spectra Precision FOCUS 8 mechanical total station features the Windows CE operating system, world-class Spectra Precision Survey Pro field software, superior quality optics and components. The FOCUS 8 is equipped with a dual-face display and a touchscreen that improves data workflow speed to access menus and software modes. The large graphic display uses features such as different font sizes, icons, and pop-up menus to make the system intuitive and easy to use. The FOCUS 8 is available in 2” and 5” accuracies. Both FOCUS 8 models support Bluetooth communication to external data collectors and come standard with a traditional optical plummet that can be upgraded to a laser plummet.

The Spectra Precision FOCUS 6 mechanical total station offers superior quality optics and components. The FOCUS 6 is a fast measuring device in both prism (0.8 sec) and reflectorless (1.0 sec) modes for improving day-to-day field operations. The Spectra Precision FOCUS 6 interface is intuitive and user friendly. The total station can be used with a Spectra Precision Ranger, Nomad, or Recon data collector running Spectra Precision Survey Pro field software. The tough, water resistant and small design of the FOCUS 6 is convenient and portable. The FOCUS 6 has an integrated Bluetooth option that can be used to assist with communications to external data collectors and come standard with a traditional optical plummet that can be upgraded to a laser plummet.

Also, Spectra Precision introduced the Spectra Precision Ranger data collector. The Ranger, running Spectra Precision Survey Pro and Windows Mobile 5.0 software, has the capability to run Excel and Outlook as well as other mobile applications. Integrated wireless capabilities allow surveyors to connect to field equipment without the use of bulky cables. With CF and SD slots, users can add multiple accessories and increase data storage. The Ranger is available in three models: the powerful 500X, the economical 300X with expansion slots, and the basic NX. The 500X is also supported with a 2.4 GHz robotic radio that can be used with the FOCUS 30 Robotic Total Station. The Ranger is IP67 rated and meets the MIL-STD-810F military standard.

Also, Spectra Precision introduced Spectra Precision Survey Pro field software provides surveyors with a complete set of capabilities for a wide variety of survey and construction projects. It is fast, reliable and easy to use for data collection and field staking. Survey Pro’s vast COGO feature set is unmatched in its capabilities. Survey Pro software is offered in different modules; advanced modules can be remotely installed via electronic upgrades without having to pay a premium. Survey Pro software is available in multiple languages and on a variety of data collector platforms. (www.spectraprecision.com)

Nikon-Trimble Co. Ltd. introduced the Nikon Nivo Series of compact, high-precision, Bluetooth-capable mechanical total stations. Each new model in the Nikon Nivo C and Nivo M Series offers superior Nikon quality optics, performance and reliability. The Nikon Nivo products offer a distance measurement accuracy of up to ±(2 + 2 ppm x D) mm. The Nikon total stations provide a long-distance reflectorless measurement range of 1,000 feet. The Nikon Nivo Series meet IP66 standards. Each product supports two interchangeable, onboard batteries for up to 62 hours of continuous measurements.

The Nivo C Series features a Windows CE touchscreen interface. Field application software functions are supported by Spectra Precision Survey Pro field software for surveying and construction measurement needs. Supporting both prism-based and reflectorless technologies, the distance measurements are fast and flexible. All Nivo C Series feature a dual-face display for efficient high-precision angle and distance measurements, cable-free Bluetooth connections to external data collectors plus support for USB memory sticks, and a high-speed data transfer port. The Nivo C Series is available in 2", 3" and 5" models. Nivo C Series is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The Nivo M Series uses the proven Nikon field user interface that is intuitive and easy to learn and use. Supporting both prism-based and reflectorless technologies, the distance measurements are fast and flexible. The MSR1 & MSR2 keys can be used to separately configure different prism or reflectorless measurement parameters The Nivo M Series field user interface highlights include a complete set of COGO and survey stakeout functions, simple data management of files, and quick field coding for convenient one-button data collection of point features and raw target data. The series is available in 2", 3" and 5" models.

Also, Nikon-Trimble introduced the Nikon DTM-322. The Nikon DTM-322 is an economic, versatile, prism-based 5" total station. Nikon’s legendary optics effectively allow in more light to give brighter, clearer images even in low-visibility conditions typical in the field. The Nikon DTM-322 is among the fastest total stations in its class. (www.nikonpositioning.com)

Trimble introduced new systems and software to broaden its portfolio of Connected Site survey solutions:
The Trimble R6 GPS System includes use of the modernized GPS L2C signals (as well as L1 and L2) with an option to add Glonass for faster, more consistent initialization in a variety of environments. The Trimble R6 is an integrated receiver system with GPS antenna, receiver and internal communications in a small, rugged package. It can be configured with a cellular modem for convenient operation with Trimble VRS networks or with UHF radio for RTK base/rover applications. Compatible with a variety of Trimble controllers and field and office software, the Trimble R6 is flexible, scalable, and ready for a variety of jobs that a surveyor’s growing business may require.

The Trimble R5 GPS System is one receiver with many configurations. The modular system enables users to choose the GPS antenna and communication options that best serve the needs of the application. Fixed to a tripod, secured on a rover pole, or stowed in a backpack, the Trimble R5 is ideal for any surveying task from control, measurement, design and stakeout, to as-built work. With an optional built-in UHF radio modem, it can receive RTK communications quickly and easily. With GPS L1, L2, and L2C included and a Glonass option, it can track more satellites in challenging environments.

The Trimble R4 GPS System provides everything needed to perform basic survey projects. The system comes standard with GPS L1 and L2, with the availability to upgrade to Glonass. With the easy to use Trimble Digital Fieldbook Software, surveyors can use the system in a Trimble VRS network or RTK applications and for static surveying work. With an optional integrated UHF transmitter, it can also be used as a base station. The cable-free Trimble R4 is an accurate and reliable GPS receiver that surveyors can depend on when every point counts.

The Trimble S3 Robotic Total Station System includes everything needed to perform efficient surveying projects: precision positioning performance and powerful data collection in an integrated, ergonomic solution for convenient, all-day use. It is built on proven, reliable, Trimble technology such as Trimble’s Direct Reflex (DR) technology for measurement without a prism to almost any type of surface. Additionally, Trimble S3's servo-drive system is built on Trimble MagDrive technology, for long-term performance with low maintenance requirements. The Trimble S3 Robotic Total Station System features integrated radios, powerful field software and the Trimble TSC2 Controller, long-life battery, dual optical and GPS battery charger, and a 360-degree prism. The Trimble S3 is a robust, cable-free solution backed by world-class training, service and support through Trimble’s extensive distribution network to keep surveyors up and running.

Trimble Business Center 2.20 software is the complete surveying office suite designed to manage, analyze and process all field survey data, including data from optical instruments (total stations and levels), GPS/GNSS, and spatial stations (imaging and 3D scanning data). The new version provides fully integrated corridor and surface applications for road management. With an enhanced graphic engine and tools to view and manage spatial imaging data, Trimble Business Center version 2.20 provides a new level of productivity and efficiency to the surveying and civil engineering office.

The new Monitoring module for Trimble Access software is designed to streamline typical deformation monitoring field activities. The optional module provides step-by-step guidance through a monitoring job. Users can choose to pair this field solution with the powerful Trimble 4D Control Standard office software for advanced tools to analyze movement over time. The Monitoring module is available as either a perpetual license or as a monthly subscription. The Monitoring module for Trimble Access is expected to be available in November 2009.

Trimble announced Trimble Trident-3D version 4.5. The Trimble Trident-3D software provides a comprehensive suite of tools to capture imagery and LIDAR data along roadways and extract information. The version 4.5 enhancements increase the resulting positional accuracy with new modules for automatic survey control point detection (such as of spherical targets) in LiDAR data and point cloud-to-point cloud registration. New and enhanced functions are provided for breakline detection and creation such as edge-of-pavement, centerline, crown, and pavement markings. The new LandXML export provides workflow compatibility with many industry standard computer aided design (CAD) applications. Trimble Trident-3D version 4.5 is expected to be available in October of 2009. (www.trimble.com)

Pacific Crest, a Trimble company, introduced the new ADL Vantage, an advanced, high-speed, wireless data link built to survive the rigors of GNSS/RTK surveying and precise positioning. The ADL Vantage provides high accuracy and application flexibility with more features and options than previously offered by Pacific Crest professional-grade radio links. The ADL Vantage joins the ADL Foundation, a transceiver modem board for OEMs and system integrators, introduced in July 2009. This sophisticated 0.1-4.0 Watt radio modem transceiver utilizes Pacific Crest’s next generation Advanced Data Link (ADL) technology while remaining backward compatible with existing Pacific Crest, Trimble and other GNSS/RTK positioning products. ADL Vantage’s full-function user interface streamlines field configuration and troubleshooting so users can maintain maximum productivity. The ADL Vantage is available in two 40 MHz frequency bands (390-430 and 430-470 MHz) to cover the entire commercial UHF band without sacrificing radio performance. It also allows the user to select from available channel tables in either 12.5 or 25 kHz channel bandwidth for communications. Its next generation RF design offers higher bit rates to easily handle RTK corrections for the current and expanding GNSS satellite constellations. The ADL Vantage is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2009. (www.PacificCrest.com)

Hemisphere GPS and Handheld Group jointly announced the Handheld-branded Kenaz DGPS receiver. The new Kenaz DGPS receiver offers superior accuracy for hand-held mapping and is specifically designed to work with the popular TDS Nomad. The Kenaz is small and compact, yet rugged, standing up in even the most demanding environments. It boasts a maintenance-free smart antenna and Compact Flash adapter that maintains the IP67 rating for the total handheld solution. Powered by Hemisphere GPS Crescent receiver technology, it offers superior positioning accuracy required for precise positioning applications. It supports SBAS differential corrections and Hemisphere GPS exclusive e-Dif extended differential option. Also, if a differential signal is lost, Hemisphere GPS COAST technology maintains accuracy for up to 40 minutes. The Kenaz is designed for low power consumption to conserve the TDS Nomad’s battery power, and an optional external antenna is available for additional accuracy. (www.hemispheregps.com)

OxTS released the Inertial+2, a dual-antenna version of the Inertial+ navigation system. The Inertial+2 provides even greater heading accuracy which is invaluable especially for airborne survey and mapping applications. Compatible with most GPS receivers on the market, the Inertial+ is very easy to integrate in to a current GPS-only solution. Adding the Inertial+ to a GPS receiver provides reliable, continuous position data, even during GPS signals blockage, as well as output measurements like roll, pitch and heading with high accuracy in real-time. Using two GPS receivers in the Inertial+2, a very accurate and stable heading measurement is possible even under low dynamic conditions such as aircraft flights. (www.oxts.com)

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