Oregon construction crews, biologists, geologists, roadway designers and wetlands workers have gained precise digital as-constructed measurements for state projects using rugged GNSS tablets in the field.

Three years ago, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) needed to embrace a growing trend in highway construction sites to go stakeless and forego physical stakes by using modern Automated Machine Guidance (AMG) applications on jobsites to determine line and grade when building or fixing stretches of road. DT Research worked closely with ODOT to design purpose-built rugged tablets to empower non-surveyor workers to easily collect and transmit geospatial measurements in the field using GNSS Real Time Kinematic (RTK) technologies. 

“DT Research tablets are so much easier to use than a tape measure and paper to accurately calculate and record measurements during complex construction projects ... that require highly accurate measurements in the field.”

– Chris Pucci

“ODOT selected the DT Research tablet as it was the only device on the market that provided dual frequency GNSS in a rugged Microsoft Windows-based system,” Chris Pucci, Construction Automation Surveyor at the Oregon Department of Transportation. “The simplicity of how they work is amazing. Unlike complex professional survey equipment, the Windows-based DT Research tablets have a user interface that is familiar to workers. In just two hours, I can easily train state workers with diverse skillsets to measure quantity, linear features, and volumes for a variety of projects – and they are ready to go.”

During the past year, ODOT expanded its use of the GNSS rugged tablets to all 15 of its construction management offices across the state, while also providing biology, geology, roadway, and wetland teams with the tablets for various projects that require high accuracy measurements in the field. 

“We have essentially created one-person survey crews because DT Research tablets are so much easier to use than a tape measure and paper to accurately calculate and record measurements during complex construction projects and other types of state projects that require highly accurate measurements in the field,” said Pucci. “We have saved time, reduced costs and improved the accuracy of projects through digital as-constructed measurements and real time data capture. Using the tablets saves us an average of $2,000 for every survey-grade measurement job that does not require a full survey crew.” 

DT Research tablets have a built-in dual frequency GNSS module, which provides stand-alone sub meter accuracy to centimeter-level accuracy with Real Time Kinematics from GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites. The tablets are compatible with existing survey and GIS software for mapping applications and bring together the advanced workflow for data capture, accurate positioning, and data transmitting. 

“The unique GNSS capabilities of the tablets have allowed us to bring high-accuracy geospatial measurements to workers across the state, which has literally changed the way we work,” said Pucci. “The tablets give us a contract verification system by having highly accurate digital as-constructed measurements that are delivered immediately and stored forever, which saves the state time and money by avoiding independent re-measurement checks due to billing discrepancies at the end of a project.”

The DT Research tablets are military-grade, durable devices, yet lightweight – offering the versatility to be used in field-to-office settings. The tablets are designed for outdoor use with a brilliant LED-backlight, sunlight-readable screens and capacitive touch. In addition, the tablets are a fit for field data collecting, with the ability to store up to 1 Terabyte of data. Users can avoid down-time with a high capacity hot-swappable battery pack, which delivers 60 or 90 watts for up to 15 hours of continuous mobile communications.

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“We have found the tablets to be incredibility easy to manage and highly durable – we just turn them on and they work,” said Pucci. “In the three years that we have used the tablets, we have had very few technical support questions and they hold up well in different weather conditions.”