Topcon's Occupation Planning program is now available for free download on the company's website. Topcon GPS+ (GPS + GLONASS) users, as well as users of conventional GPS-only systems, can employ the program to determine optimal satellite coverage periods. This information can then be used to precisely plan GPS-controlled machine operations and GPS land survey tasks. Occupation Planning is a stand-alone version of the mission planning tool contained in Topcon's Pinnacle software.

First-time users can operate the program effortlessly. It features a project wizard that executes a series of dialogues to select a site location. Locations can be entered manually as latitude/longitude, selected from a list of cities, or pinpointed on a graphic global map.

Occupation Planning's graphic analysis displays the number of GPS and GLONASS satellites available and DOP factors for a specific date and time range selected by the user. Several DOP factor options are available and date/time range can be easily changed. The analysis can be filtered to display only time periods which meet a user's specific criteria for number of satellites and minimum DOP values. Obstructions to the sky view can be created in the project to generate very precise projections for a particular site.

A GPS and GLONASS Satellite almanac for use with Occupation Planning is available on Topcon's website and is updated daily. An almanac can also be collected in the field with Topcon GPS+ receivers and downloaded to a PC.

Download links for the software and current almanac are available at: www.topcongps.com/software/beta.html.

Source: Topcon, July 23, 2004