If there is one thing land surveyors are sure to love about Trimble’s new R12i GNSS receiver with Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)-based tilt compensation, it’s the time saved leveling a rod.

“Leveling a rod and holding still over a point takes skill, experience, and time,” says beta tester Adam W. Long, PE, PS, chief technology officer at SAM Companies. “By measuring the tilt, we now have the ability to get that leveling time back and normalize the productivity and accuracy of crews with varying experience levels.”

He adds, “I have been using Trimble products since the early 2000s and have always been impressed with not only the hardware and software but their willingness to listen to their customers, who ultimately serve customers of their own.”

Released last week and available now through Trimble's Geospatial distribution channel, the IMU-based tilt compensation capability of the Trimble R12i builds on Trimble’s ProPoint GNSS positioning engine. It delivers more than 30 percent better performance in challenging environments compared to the Trimble R10-2 receiver across a variety of factors, which includes time to achieve survey precision levels, position accuracy and measurement reliability.

"The new tilt function and ProPoint engine in the Trimble R12i in my mind is as big a jump as going from a total station to a robotic total station," says Jason Hannahoe, PLS, Flatirons, Inc, another beta tester for the receiver.

R12i GNSS receiver
Trimble’s new R12i GNSS receiver.

The Trimble TIP technology allows users to accurately mark and measure points in areas previously inaccessible for GNSS rovers such as building corners, or in hazardous situations. The receiver operates calibration-free out of the box and is resistant to magnetic interference from sources such as cars or electrical utility boxes.

The R12i also features real time automatic Inertial Navigation System (INS) integrity monitoring. This system allows users to detect and correct for IMU biases introduced by use over time, temperature or physical shocks helping ensure measurement quality and integrity for the life of the receiver.

As for how this all works out in the field, here’s what beta tester Adam W. Long had to say: 

As a beta tester, what are you looking for in your GNSS solutions? 

At SAM, we are always looking to improve quality and efficiency. Quality: Any time a surveyor can convert an estimated random error (tilt on each measurement) into a measured value (measuring tilted vector), accuracy and confidence improves. Efficiency: Staking efficiency readily improves by allowing the surveyor to think about the point to be staked as opposed to thinking about where the GPS receiver is in relation to the point to be staked.

What would you say is missing from GNSS solutions on the market and how does this solution compare?

There are great GNSS solutions on the market and Trimble has continued to keep their solution miniaturized when compared to others.

beta testing the Trimble R12i GNNS receiver

Describe the project you used to test the R12i solution. Was there anything that was surprising during use?

We used a calibration and testing facility we made to evaluate measurement hardware and software. This obstacle course consists of areas in clear skies and under tree canopy. We set control points and levelled through them for our true values. We then observed control points, topo shots, and even staked out an imaginary roadway. This allowed us to compare the R12i data to known values and build our confidence in the product.

How turnkey is this solution? Will I be able to jump from another GNSS solution and pick this up?

Surveyors love technology but are sometimes resistant to change. The integration of the R12i into Trimble Access and Trimble Business Center is seamless. Additionally, the R12i form factor stays the same as an R10, so it’s a welcomed change.