The drawbacks to using RTK as the primary land survey tool--communications link, usability around trees, multipath and sufficient satellite coverage--have been addressed in the Version 8 SMI Flex system.

Eagle Point announced the release of its Version 8 SMI Flex GPS System. This next generation system includes a number of industry firsts in RTK surveying:
  • SureNav - gives the ability to work in RTK Quality with sporadic and/or complete loss of L2 signal in a dynamic environment.
  • RTK Extend - includes the ability to work in RTK Quality with a complete loss of corrections from the base station for up to 20 minutes (requires SF model and an active license).
  • Static logging utilizing the 64 MB of internal receiver memory.
  • Simultaneous operation of the internal license-free Frequency Hopping SSR and long-range 35-watt UHF/VHF Radio or CDMA Cellular Modems (RT models).
  • Highest accuracy and lowest flex 1.7 meter carbon and Kevlar rover range pole. This new rover system includes graduations, cable management slots, reduced RF transmission properties, and printed dimensions.
  • In addition to the efficient NCT Binary RTK corrections, compatibility with Trimble's proprietary CMR and industry-standard RTCM RTK corrections for mixed-receiver environments.
  • 25 RTK positions (50 raw) every second.

An incredible signal-to-noise advantage allows for reliable masking angles in RTK to 7 degrees and RTG to as low as 5 degrees. This lower masking angle adds 2-3 additional satellites the entire day, in addition to better DOPs. Constant integrity checking by both the SMI controller and GPS receiver ensure reliable real-world accuracy. The new SureNav feature intelligently evaluates all available information including the number and quality of measurements, available correction data and satellite geometry to optimize performance. SureNav decreases outage time in marginal signal conditions by combining all combinations of single and dual frequency measurements.

For optimal autonomous horizontal accuracy SMI accounts for the ITRF00 (StarFire) and ITRF94/96 (WAAS) offset to your current coordinate system which will produce an autonomous horizontal accuracy of better than 4" StarFire and 2' WAAS. When operating autonomously in StarFire mode, the SMI Flex GPS system will perform real-time corrections for the effects of Solid Earth Tides, dramatically improving vertical accuracy.

A number of hardware refinements have also been made to both the Base and Rover solutions: Long Range 35-watt Radio System (dual high-gain antennas and RF Shielding), Cellular Modems (CDMA/1XRTT/GPRS/GSM/CDPD), 400 MHz Allegro CX Data Collector (128 MB up to 1 GB of Storage, 64 MB of RAM), Backpack Configurations, and available Bluetooth Communications.

All GPS functionality discussed above is available to existing SMI Flex GPS users by means of a free firmware upgrade and an upgrade to SMI Version 8.0e or greater.

Source: Eagle Point, Jan. 26, 2005