Newsline: July 2011

June 30, 2011
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LightSquared Urged to Use Different Spectrum

Preliminary test results released in June confirm that the new broadband network proposed by LightSquared will cause interference with GPS signals if it is allowed to launch in the planned spectrum.

“The test data discussed today makes clear that there is substantial interference to GPS if LightSquared turns on high-powered terrestrial facilities in the spectrum next door to GPS,” said James Kirkland, Trimble vice president and general counsel and founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, speaking at a June event sponsored by the National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board. “The data confirm what the industry told the FCC before it granted the waiver and also confirms that there is no viable technical fix.”

Kirkland added that broadband and GPS should not be an either/or situation. “The United States can, and should have both,” he said. “LightSquared says it has other spectrum, and it should use it.”

A waiver granted to LightSquared in January by the FCC’s International Bureau allows the dramatic expansion of terrestrial use of the mobile satellite spectrum (MSS) immediately neighboring that of the GPS using extremely high-powered ground-based transmissions. Tests have shown that these transmissions will cause interference to hundreds of millions of GPS receivers across the United States.

At the June event, Kirkland and government representatives discussed testing conducted to measure interference to GPS receivers used in aviation and other critical government applications. In at least one test, LightSquared failed to deliver test equipment that matches its proposed operations, thus causing optimistic results–and even those optimistic results showed interference.

LightSquared was due to file an FCC-mandated Working Group Report on June 15. However, the company requested--and was granted--a two week extension. “After pushing the FCC to order an accelerated review of the interference issues raised by its proposed service, a process that has consumed massive governmental and private resources, LightSquared has now unilaterally sought to delay the process for two weeks,” Kirkland said. “It is disappointing that LightSquared has misused its control over the process to delay this filing. It’s time for LightSquared and the FCC to stop squandering resources and move on to spectrum that does not impact GPS.”

For more information, visit www.saveourgps.org. Additional updates will also be posted to POB’s website at www.pobonline.com.

ILSC 2011 Highlights Technology Convergence

Optech Inc.’s second Innovative Lidar Solutions Conference (ILSC 2011), held May 31 to June 3 at the Hilton Garden Inn Toronto, drew 200 attendees from 23 countries. According to Brent Gelhar, vice president of sales and strategy for Optech, the goal was to bring continuing awareness of the convergence of imaging and 3D measurement technologies. “The speakers, especially the keynotes, enthusiastically emphasized this convergence,” Gelhar said.

A keynote by Paul DiGiacobbe, PE, national data acquisition manager for HNTB, focused on the growing trend toward mobile LiDAR for infrastructure projects due to the time and cost savings it provides. DiGiacobbe noted that surveyors play a key role in mobile LiDAR data acquisition.

A session on market directions highlighted several new technologies that promise to have an impact on workflows in the future. For example, the TABI-1800 Thermal Airborne Broadband Imager from Itres captures swaths of 1800 pixels, allowing users to map large areas in a small amount of time at a substantial line cost savings. The VG4D SmartLiDAR software from Virtual Geomatics addresses key issues in LiDAR data collection and processing, including quality control and cloud adjustment, working with giant datasets, automatic cloud classification, and automatic and manual linearization. The LANDINS, AIRINS and QUADRANS inertial measurement units (IMUs) from iXSea integrate high-performance fiber-optic gyroscopes (FOG) to provide high accuracy and rapid alignment for faster, higher-quality data acquisition in both mobile mapping and aerial surveying applications. And the POSPac MMS software from Applanix integrates GNSS and IMU technology to provide direct georeferencing of mobile mapping sensors for improved accuracy and increased productivity.

Optech launched several new technologies at the conference, including the Aquarius bathymetry extension to Optech’s ALTM Gemini line and a new higher-performance waveform digitizer (see New & Notable on page 60 for more details) as well as data processing software enhancements for the Lynx Mobile Mapper and the ILRIS Terrestrial Laser Scanner family.

“All in all, the conference goals were met and exceeded, especially in light of the excellent turnout,” Gelhar said. Optech’s website is www.optech.ca.

Shannon Hixon, geomatics product marketing manager, demonstrates the Leica Viva TS15 imaging total station.

Hexagon 2011 Delivers Actionable Information

More than 2,500 attendees from 65 countries gathered in Orlando, Fla., June 6-9 for the inaugural Hexagon 2011 conference. With the theme “Building a Smarter World,” the conference combined the latest technologies and user communities from Leica Geosystems and Z/I Imaging as well as Intergraph and Hexagon Metrology.

In the opening keynote address, Hexagon AB President and CEO Ola Rollén discussed the numerous ways in which users are applying technology to make processes and infrastructures better, safer and smarter. He noted that change drives progress and can be harnessed to our advantage. Hexagon and all of its divisions are dedicated to delivering actionable information through design, measurement and visualization technologies, he said--a commitment that is captured in Hexagon’s new mission statement. By empowering customers to create, manage and share information, Hexagon aims to help them increase productivity, improve quality, and make better and faster operational decisions.

One example of this empowerment was the launch of Leica Geosystem’s new ScanStation C5 laser scanner, a compact, scalable tool with a starting price of under $50,000. The new instrument created a substantial amount of buzz among attendees in the Geosystems track since it offers another low-cost option for geospatial professionals who are trying to expand into laser scanning--a market that has previously been considered too expensive for many firms. “With the new C5, we can help more surveyors get into this market and we can custom-build their scanner for their markets,” said Michael Harvey, HDS product marketing manager for Leica Geosystems. “We’re really excited about that.” (See New & Notable on page 60 for more details on the ScanStation C5.)

Also highlighted was Leica’s new ALS70 and its family of systems for airborne LiDAR use, which provides high-density, high-accuracy data in a short amount of time. “The qualities that increase the value of raw data are the speed with which it is gathered and the latency with which it is processed,” said Ron Roth, product manager for airborne LiDAR. “Both of these values have been significantly enhanced throughout the 13-year history of LiDAR product development at the Geospatial Solutions Division. It continues to be an exciting product line to be involved with.”

The Geosystems track at the conference included a keynote address by Jürgen Dold, president of Hexagon Geosystems, and Ken Mooyman, president of Hexagon Geosystems NAFTA, who highlighted how measurement technologies are being used in innovative ways to advance Earth’s infrastructure. Examples included the precise layout of high-speed railways to ease urban traffic congestion; the use of integrated geospatial sensors to allow the precise construction of tall skyscrapers that help resolve urban space pressures; and increasingly sophisticated scan-to-BIM processes that make it easier for communities to rebuild after a natural disaster.

Although the event was held less than eight months after the Leica Geosystems HDS Worldwide User Conference, attendance from the survey audience was still high. A number of attendees in the Geosystems track said they appreciated the opportunity to network with the larger group from Intergraph since many of those participants are consumers of survey data. Information gleaned from the conference provided food for thought on capturing new business, increasing productivity and adding value to a data-driven world.

Preparations are already underway for next year’s conference, which will be held June 4-7 in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.hexagonconference.com or www.leica-geosystems.us.

BNP Media Launches New Career Center Resource

BNP Media, the parent company of POB, has partnered with BirdDog Career Centers to provide surveying and mapping professionals with the leading job/career center resource focused on this market. Tailored to business owners and hiring managers searching for uniquely qualified professionals, the industry-specific career center is powered by BirdDog’s Candidate Acquisition & Management System (CAMS). A web-enabled recruitment program customized for engineering, construction, mechanical and security companies, CAMS allows employers to post an open position once. CAMS then distributes the opening across the BirdDog family of niche job sites, including BirdDogJobs.com, MEPjobs.com and ASHRAEjobs.com.

Beyond posting jobs, CAMS helps hiring managers score, track and maintain a database of applicants. This not only helps fill current vacancies but also supports BirdDog’s philosophy of “always-on recruiting,” which encourages companies to build a bench of qualified candidates for emergency openings.

“Many of our markets are rebounding from hard times,” said BNP Media Publishing Director Tim Fausch. “This new career center allows us to help strengthen the surveying and heavy construction markets by matching employers with ideal employees.”

The Career Center can be accessed by clicking on the BNP/BirdDog widget found at www.pobonline.com or through our sister brand at www.siteprepmag.com.

Baker with Ashtech's Riley Skeen

Centenarian Surveyor Honored

Lloyd Baker performed his first field surveys in Cokeville, Wyo., in 1937, using a plane table surveying instrument consisting of a drafting board on a tripod with paper and pencil, a scale and homemade alidade. In May 2011, during the week of his 100th birthday party, which was attended by more than 300 invited guests, Baker was once more in the field, surveying Star Valley, Wyo. Today, Baker surveys in dual-frequency RTK using an Ashtech Z-FX reference station and Ashtech Z-FX rover mounted on a 4 x 4 ATV. For office calculations, Baker uses Traverse PC and Visual Cadd software for preparing maps.

Baker on his ATV

During the course of his career, Baker worked as a chief surveyor for Bechtel Corp., where he was involved in some of the nation’s most prestigious construction projects, including designing site plans for the Carlin Gold mine in Nevada and surveying the first 22 miles of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). He also served as the chief surveyor for nuclear power plants in Plymouth, Mass.; Lusby, Md.; and Waterford, Conn. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, Baker founded his survey firm, Lloyd B. Baker and Associates, in Mountain View, Calif., where he was also city engineer and joined the rotary in 1950. Baker taught physics at Utah State in 1943 and 1944 and engineering and mathematics at Boise College in 1944 and 1945. He resumed the firm’s business when he returned to his Wyoming roots in 1974. The firm has completed surveys and engineering projects in Santa Clara County, Calif.; Utah; Idaho; and western Wyoming.

Among the honors bestowed on Baker at his 100th birthday celebration was the Ashtech Award for Outstanding Service. The award reads: “For Acknowledgement and Recognition of Your 100th birthday and 70 Tireless Years of Devoted Service to the Noble Profession of Land Surveying.”

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HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.

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