A number of new technologies were highlighted at INTERGEO 2010. Which ones are most likely to rock the surveying and mapping professions? You decide!

With the theme “Knowledge and action for planet Earth,” INTERGEO 2010 welcomed an estimated 17,500 attendees to the Kölnmesse Exhibition Centre in Cologne, Germany, Oct. 5-7. More than 500 exhibitors from 32 nations highlighted their products and services at the international trade fair. Manufacturers took advantage of the global trade show venue by launching a barrage of new technologies designed to increase the productivity, efficiency and capabilities of today’s geospatial professionals. Which products will likely have the biggest impact on the surveying and mapping professions? Read the recap here, then go to www.pobonline.com to vote for your top pick.

Carlson GNSS Receivers

Product Details: The Carlson MC Pro 500, MC Pro Lite, MC Pro Lite Duo and MC Pro GS from Carlson Software Inc. are designed to address most machine types and most machine control and site management applications. The new products are based on Ashtech GNSS technology. The fully integrated system includes Carlson’s machine control software, Carlson Grade; the Carlson Commander control box, to be used in a machine or pickup truck or on a GPS rod; plus the Carlson-branded receivers.

Impact Factor: The availability of a single-source solution that integrates Ashtech GNSS technology gives users a powerful option for automated machine guidance.

FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner

Product Details: Focus3D is a high-performance 3D laser scanner for detailed measurement with intuitive touch-screen control that makes it almost as easy to operate as a digital camera. The scanner uses laser technology to produce detailed 3D images of complex environments and geometries in minutes. The resulting image is an assembly of millions of 3D measurement points, with color added if desired, providing a point cloud representation of existing conditions. The scanner offers millimeter-level accuracy at speeds of 976,000 measurement points per second. With dimensions of 24 x 20 x 10 cm (~9.5 x 7.9 x 3.9 in) and a weight of 5 kg (11 lb), the Focus3D is lightweight, compact and thus highly mobile. The scanner is self-contained and requires no additional devices, cables or laptops. Focus3D deploys an integrated color camera with automatic and parallax-free color overlay (which facilitates colors to be represented in the point cloud) for photo-realistic 3D scans. Its integrated lithium-ion high-performance battery provides up to five hours of battery life and can be charged during operation. All scans are stored on an SD card (up to 32 GB) enabling easy and secure data transfer to a computer. Additionally, the scanner is compatible with many common software applications. The flexible interfaces of SCENE, the scan processing software included with the Focus3D, enable connection to AutoCAD, Microstation and many other similar packages.

Impact Factor: The compact size and ultralight weight of the Focus3D compared to other laser scanners combined with its rapid scan speed and low price point (approximately $40,000) will make it attractive to firms that have been waiting for a portable, affordable scanning technology.

Gatewing X100 Unmanned Airborne Vehicle

Product Details: The Gatewing X100 is an ultralight unmanned airborne vehicle for small site photogrammetry and mapping. It was engineered with a specific twofold focus: To carry a camera payload in a straight and regular scan pattern and bring it back to the operator in a safe and shock-free manner regardless of the weather and environmental conditions, and to allow for day-to-day handling and intensive usage, just like any other surveying equipment. Through its optimized aerodynamic design, cleverly engineered body structure, and carefully chosen materials, the X100 fulfills these requirements. The user maps the positions of the corners with the supplied GPS unit, then determines where the unit will land. This information is uploaded into the X100 together with weather data and the desired scale, and the system computes the optimum flight tracks. Once airborne, the X100 automatically reaches the correct altitude and takes images while simultaneously recording the GPS coordinates of each exposure station. After the photo mission is complete, the X100 automatically lands on the designated landing area. Images and flight data are then downloaded and processed to create photomosaics, orthophotos or digital terrain models as desired. The vehicle is sold as part of a complete mapping kit that consists of all necessary equipment, tools and spare parts to guarantee a flawless and continuous operation, including the Gatewing X100 UAV, Gatewing X100 spare body wing, rugged top-end ground control station with state of the art mission software, lightweight catapult launcher for automatic take-off, integrated radio equipment for communication with the UAV, camera, two high-capacity custom batteries, and optional battery charger, tools and patches, and a rugged carrying case.

Impact Factor: The Gatewing X100’s price tag (estimated at $50,000) puts photogrammetry in the hands of land surveyors and others who have not traditionally been able to offer these services.

Handheld Group Nautiz X3

Product Details: The Nautiz X3 handheld measures 150 x 67 x 25 mm (~5.9 x 2.6 x 1 in) and weighs just over 9 oz, but it delivers big performance. With GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/HSDPA capability (a new, faster, improved EDGE-like system), the Nautiz X3’s superior voice and data transmitting quality offers the performance of a smartphone plus the capabilities of a computer. It allows users to quickly send and receive documents, images and other data, such as syncing up with the office or colleagues from the field. The Nautiz X3 features a high-speed 806 MHz X scale processor, 256 MB of SDRAM and 512 MB of Flash storage. It operates on Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional and includes a 3300 mAh Li-Ion battery. The Nautiz X3 also has an IP65 rating, which means it’s impervious to dust and highly resistant to water. It can also withstand repeated drops from 1.8 meters (5.9 ft). Other features include a sunlight-readable 2.8 inch QVGA touchscreen, a keypad with backlit alphanumeric keys plus separate function buttons, a 3-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, a standard 1D laser barcode scanner and an optional 2D imager, GPS for navigation, a g-sensor (accelerometer), an e-compass, and an altimeter.

Impact Factor: The emergence of smartphones has rapidly transformed the way people access and share information. With the Nautiz X3, professionals can combine their data collector and smartphone into a single compact, high-performance handheld.

Leica Viva NetRover

Product Details: The Leica Viva NetRover uses the new Leica Viva GS08 GNSS receiver and CS10 3.5G field controller to create an all-in-one GNSS network solution. The rover is optimized for RTK network use and integrates the latest technology from Leica Geosystems. All components work seamlessly together, creating a lightweight and cable-free network rover. The rover automatically connects to any reference station network. With full support of the RTCM 3.1 transformation message, it is no longer necessary to measure control points for the determination of a local transformation, saving time and reducing errors. Additionally, the Viva CS10 field controller now includes optional 3.5G mobile broadband for high-speed connection to RTK reference networks, the Internet and the office. The new field controller can also include Bluetooth, WiFi and TPS radio for further connectivity. It features “intenna” technology, in which antennas are integrated and out of sight.

Impact Factor: Integration of the latest Leica Viva technologies in a lightweight, cable-free system makes for a rover that offers high performance yet is easy to use.

Leica Viva TS15 Robotic Imaging Total Station

Product Details: The Leica Viva TS15 provides advanced imaging functionality combined with dynamic tracking capabilities for one-person surveying. Traditional robotic operation is significantly improved with imaging features through image-assisted surveying and photo-documentation. Thanks to live streaming of the total station view on the robotic controller, remote points can be easily measured with the new tap, turn and measure functionality without returning to the total station. With the new Image Capture functionality, users can take high-resolution images of the surveying scene or even capture any screen shown on the display at the push of a button. The exact photo documentation of site conditions helps to further optimize productivity and to minimize paper field notes and avoid costly revisits. Any new or captured image can be enhanced through sketching with any color, line style and width to enhance the value of the image. After capturing and sketching, the annotated images can be linked to any object of interest (point, line, area) or simply stored with a time stamp. The Leica TS15 also includes new grid scanning functionality. Users can graphically define an area to be scanned on the total station view shown on the display. The total station will then rapidly scan the object to measure a true grid with survey accuracy. The Leica Viva TS15 incorporates Leica SmartWorx Viva onboard software to fully harmonize Leica Viva CS10 and CS15 controllers and the Viva TS15 total station on one easy-to-use productive software platform. Users can add full GNSS functionality to the Leica Viva TS15 total station to further improve productivity. The TS15 can be used as a Leica SmartStation for TPS setup without the need of control points, traverses and resections, or as a Leica SmartPole to save time with setup “on-the-fly” and measure parallel with TPS and GNSS for double productivity.

Impact Factor: The integration of sophisticated imaging technology and automated tracking with a traditional surveying tool will make this product a tool of choice for professionals looking to expand their capabilities without a large learning curve.

Leica Viva TS11 Manual Total Station with Imaging

Product Details: The Leica Viva TS11 manual total station provides imaging functionality and features the easy-to-use Leica SmartWorx Viva onboard software. The unit adds a high-resolution camera to further enhance total station productivity. As with the TS15, traditional operation is significantly improved through image-assisted surveying and documentation, and users can add GNSS functionality.

Impact Factor: This new total station combines manual operation with the ease of use, speed and performance of the Viva product line.

Sokkia SHC25/25A Data Collectors

Product Details: The new SHC25/25A data collectors weigh 11.3 oz (320 g) including battery, and measure 3.23 x 5.75 x 1.30 in. (82 x 146 x 33 mm). Each model integrates a 20-channel L1 GPS receiver that provides point positioning accuracy of 5 meters (16.4 ft) and DGPS accuracy of 1 to 3 meters (3.3 to 9.9 ft) using SBAS signals. In addition, the SHC25A model includes a built-in 3 MP auto focus camera, an electronic compass and an altimeter to meet the increasing demand for GIS data collection capability. Both models conform to the latest MIL-STD-810G and have cleared the drop tests from a height of 5 ft. (1.52 m). They are rated to IP65 of the IEC standard, eliminating powder dust and driving rain as potential problems. The SHC25 series features the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, 533 MHz processor, and 256 MB SDRAM. Sokkia’s comprehensive data collection software Spectrum Survey Field as well as the construction layout software Sokkia Layout Field runs on the SHC25/25A, which allows the units to control all Sokkia GPS/GNSS receivers, total stations and digital levels. Other features of SHC25/SHC25A include a 3.5 in. VGA color touch-screen display, 2 GB flash memory, USB Mini-B port, SD/SDHC card slot, Bluetooth Class 2, Wireless LAN, and an SiRFstarIII Chipset for L1 GPS signal tracking.

Impact Factor: The light weight, small size and high performance of the new SHC series data collectors make them attractive for users looking to combine multiple functions into a single easy-to-carry handheld.

Nikon DTM-322 Total Station

Product Details: The Nikon DTM-322 prism-based total station offers 3" accuracy and dual faces for efficient angle measurement. Nikon’s optics effectively allow in more light to give brighter, clearer images even in low-visibility conditions typical in the field. For convenience, the instrument uses off-the-shelf standard or rechargeable AA batteries. The total stations are fully featured and are designed to be among the fastest total stations in their class, providing a quick return on investment.

Impact Factor: The relatively low cost of the Nikon DTM-322 combined with its advanced features provides an economical and versatile measurement solution.

Nikon Nivo 1.C Total Station

Product Details: Enabling users to see 0.5" angular displays, the Nivo 1.C provides robust locking tangents to ensure the quality of data. The Nivo C Series features a Windows CE touchscreen interface. Field application software functions are supported by Spectra Precision Survey Pro field software for surveying and construction measurement needs. The Nikon Nivo products offer a distance measurement accuracy of up to +/-(2 + 2 ppm x D) mm and provide a long-distance reflectorless measurement range of up to 300 meters (980 ft), reducing the need for multiple setups. In addition, the Nikon Nivo Series includes a coaxial laser pointer to assist with target identification and reduce aiming time. The new series is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2011.

Impact Factor: The addition of a 1" model to the Nikon Nivo C series product line gives users a new option for high-accuracy surveys.

Spectra Precision LockNGo and StepDrive FOCUS 30 Total Stations

Product Details: The LockNGo instrument uses a passive tracking technique that constantly tracks the instrument to the range pole, enabling the instrument to constantly lock onto the prism. The speed of observation and precise positioning of all FOCUS 30 Total Station models is provided by StepDrive motion technology, which is used in the Robotic and LockNGo models and is now available as a stand-alone instrument. StepDrive controls the horizontal and vertical motion of the motors, eliminating the need for traditional motion locks. The FOCUS 30 solutions in Robotic, LockNGo and StepDrive are all available in 2", 3" or 5" accuracies and are controlled by the Spectra Precision Survey Pro field software using an onboard Windows CE touchscreen interface. The FOCUS 30 is also designed to be controlled externally by Spectra Precision data collectors.

Impact Factor: The use of passive tracking in the LockNGo instrument improves efficiency. The StepDrive instrument improves observational accuracy and enables more precise angle measurements or field staking to be performed.

Trimble GPS Pathfinder ProXRT Receiver

Product Details: The next-generation Trimble GPS Pathfinder ProXRT receiver is a versatile decimeter receiver that combines dual-frequency GPS with Trimble H-Star technology, along with optional OmniSTAR and Glonass support. G2, an optional service to OmniSTAR HP that provides Glonass corrections, can also be used with the GPS Pathfinder ProXRT receiver with the Glonass option. The receiver includes the latest generation of Trimble 360 receiver technology and is capable of tracking the Galileo GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B test satellites for signal evaluation and test purposes through the Web browser interface available with the NMEA optional upgrade. The receiver conforms to the current Open Service Signals-in-Space Interface Control Document (OS SIS ICD), Issue 1, Revision1, September 2010.

Impact Factor: The ability to easily access a variety of reliable positioning services with one receiver provides added confidence and flexibility for field work.

Trimble Indoor Mobile Mapping Solution (TIMMS)

Product Details: Introduced earlier this year, TIMMS fuses multiple technologies to capture spatial data of indoor and other GNSS denied areas of all sizes and locations. It provides both LiDAR and spherical video of a facility, enabling the creation of accurate, real-life representations (maps, models) of interior spaces and all of its contents; every object in the interior space, including desks, chairs, stairs, and doors appear in the plan. The maps created are geo-located, meaning that the real world positions of each area of the building and its contents are known. Because of its tremendous efficiency and speed, TIMMS is very effective even for facilities extending over several city blocks. Users obtain holistic 3D indoor geospatial views of all kinds of infrastructure, including plant and factory facilities; high-rise office, residential, and government buildings; airports, train stations and other transportation facilities; music halls, theatres, auditoriums and other public event spaces; covered pedestrian concourses (above and below ground) with platforms, corridors, stair locations and ramps; and underground mines and tunnels.

Impact Factor: With an estimated price tag of $500,000, TIMMS may be better suited for large multidisciplinary businesses. However, the equipment’s highly integrated GPS, scanner, IMU and other features on a portable cart platform and its ability to quickly and easily generate complete survey models of the insides of structures makes it a noteworthy tool for mapping as-built interior environments.

Following are links to additional product and software details:

Topcon FC-25/25A Field Controllers

VisionMap A3 CIR Large Format Digital Camera

Applanix POSPac MMS v5.4

Ashtech Web Mission Planning

Carlson 2011

Esri ArcGIS for AutoCAD

Leica Viva SmartWorx v3.00

Leica XPro v5.0

Spectra Precision Survey Pro v4.10

Topcon ScanMaster 2.0

Trimble Trident Analyst 2010

Read the product descriptions and then vote in our quick polls. You can also add comments about these products below. The products with the most votes and comments will be highlighted in a future issue of POB.

Note: If your company launched a product at INTERGEO 2010 and you would like to add it to this list, please e-mail a description and photo to pobeditor@bnpmedia.com