Point of Beginning

Topcon expands GPS+, unveils all-inclusive GNSS receiver

August 1, 2006
"Revolutionary" is a word often overused to describe a new product. With the introduction of Topcon's new GR-3 system, the world's first all-inclusive RTK GNSS satellite receiver for all existing and planned satellite constellations, "revolutionary" is the perfect description.



LIVERMORE, CA -- "Revolutionary" is a word often overused to describe a new product.

With the introduction of Topcon's new GR-3 system, the world's first all-inclusive RTK GNSS satellite receiver for all existing and planned satellite constellations, "revolutionary" is the perfect description.

Topcon pioneered the application of GNSS reception, and for the last six years has been the industry's single source for dual-constellation operation with its GPS+ technology. Its GPS+GLONASS receivers have provided unmatched signal acquisition, uptime, and accuracy in diverse terrain and conditions.

In 2005, Topcon introduced the G3 chip, which can capture signals from all three satellite-positioning systems-GPS, GLONASS, and the planned European Union's Galileo system-providing enhanced GPS+ technology for the new GR-3.

The GR-3 also sets a new standard for rugged construction and unparalleled durability: it is designed to withstand a fall on a range pole (two-meters) and comes with a "bulletproof" warranty to back it up. Jamie Williamson, senior vice president for sales and marketing, said, "It is an integral part of the Topcon company culture to listen to our customers. Building a product like GR-3 with a rugged magnesium I-beam chassis and housing that can withstand a two-meter drop onto concrete is just an example of how Topcon truly listens to our customers and then gives them what they want."

He said, "Customers who invest in the GR-3 for their businesses will receive a system that is unmatched from a performance standpoint, as well as being built to last a lifetime.

"GNSS technology won't outpace it and everyday use and abuse won't break it," Williamson said. "The GR-3's unprecedented toughness combined with its all-inclusive satellite tracking capabilities means it is quite possibly the last geodetic receiver a user will ever need."

GR-3 has 72 universal channels that can track up to 36 satellites simultaneously "¦ all positioning satellites, generating any signal, any time, 24/7. Topcon engineers developed the G3 chip to receive all existing signals, plus all signals from planned satellite launches in the foreseeable future.

Mark Contino, Topcon's director of international sales and marketing, said, "The fantastic satellite tracking technology in the GR-3 is available right now; it's not in the planning stage. The science and engineering that has gone into the design to make it unbelievably rugged, as well as simple to use are equally impressive," he said.

The GR-3 boasts a completely integrated, cable-free base and rover design for use in a constantly expanding range of applications. In addition to Paradigm G3 technology, the sleek and rugged unit features:
  • Two-watt 915+ internal spread-spectrum radio provides reliable and interference-free RTK communication at maximum distance from the base to rover unit. (915 MHz spread spectrum radio technology is not approved for use in Europe or Asia.)
  • Optional internal GSM/GPRS SIM card modem for cellular connectivity.
  • Ergonomic design includes a "quick-snap" pole mount, reducing the likelihood of damage while affixing it to or removing it from the pole.
  • Dual, "hot-swappable" battery packs give GR-3 the longest operation time in the industry-more than 12 hours.
  • An additional battery pack utilizes off-the-shelf AA batteries.
  • Dual-function design-each unit can be a base or rover.
The long range of the spread spectrum radio can be extended with optional RE-S1 radio repeaters, dramatically expanding its coverage area, even over multiple job sites. In addition to the spread-spectrum radio, the unit can be used with an optional RE-S1 radio extension repeater allowing the radio signal to be re-transmitted, dramatically expanding its coverage, even over multiple job sites.

The GR-3 also has an optional cellular communication system with an easily accessible cell phone card slot. This capability extends the range beyond normal radio limits and provides increased functionality with RTK networks.

Additionally, the unit is equipment with Bluetooth wireless technology for a completely cable-free operation with Windows CE field controllers and other compatible devices.

Contino said, "When the European Union's Galileo satellite constellation, which is in its testing phase, becomes fully operational, and with the modernization of GPS and GLONASS, any product that does not have the ability to track all available signals will be considered obsolete. Availability of more signals means more uptime; that translates into a measurable increase of productivity on any job site."

He said, "Because each GR-3 unit is dual-function, each unit can be used as either a traditional base or rover receiver or they can be used as a two-rover system on RTK networks."

The GR-3 is powered by a lithium ion rechargeable battery pack mounted on the exterior of the unit for easy access. The batteries, which cover the SIM and SD Media Card slots, shield them from the elements; the batteries can be "hot-swapped" during operation without loss of signal or position lock.

An extra battery housing is included and accepts AA batteries for emergency operation, making the GR-3 the first RTK receiver on the market to accept off-the-shelf batteries.

About Topcon

Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of positioning equipment, offers the world's leading selection of innovating precision GPS, GIS, laser, optical surveying, and machine control, products, software, and applications.

Source: Topcon Positioning Systems, August 1, 2006.