Instruments will help create a GIS that will accurately map the county's property lines and physical characteristics.

Thales Navigation said Stark County, Ohio officials have purchased six Thales Navigation Z-Xtreme GPS receivers to help with a variety of surveying and mapping projects within the county.

Stark County, in northeastern Ohio, has a total area of 567 square miles, and a population of 390,000. For the past several years, a consortium of agencies with the county, state, and the county seat, Canton, have been working together to create a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will accurately map the county's property lines and physical characteristics.

Locating section corners
One aspect of the project is the location and identification of section corners, existing physical markers that identify boundaries around and within the one-mile-square areas into which the county is divided for mapping purposes.

"Each of those squares is divided further into quarters," said Brent Winslow, geodetic survey coordinator in the country engineer's office, currently assigned to the county GIS department. "That means there should be a physical marker every half mile going east to west and north to south in the county. What we're doing is using the Thales GPS receivers to find those markers, accurately plot the coordinates, and replace the existing markers with better, more visible ones."

"We've used Thales equipment for several years in the county," Winslow said. "The new Z-Xtreme receivers are easy to use, and they do a great job of locking onto the satellites quickly. That's something that's a requirement for us in view of the large number of points we're trying to cover."

The overall process will result in accurate tax maps for county auditors as well as maps that will coordinate exactly with other county geographical information, including aerial photographs and contour maps recently created by LIDAR scanning techniques.

The Thales Navigation Z-Xtreme receivers, along with five Thales Z-12 receivers already in use by the county, are also being used to establish a series of continuously operating reference stations (CORS), a group of permanently mounted GPS antennas and receivers designed to collect data from GPS satellites and make it available via radio modem or website to surveyors in the who need to establish accurate reference points.

Stark County purchased its Z-Xtreme receivers from Anderson Instruments, Thales Navigation's authorized dealer in Canton.