This week, Topcon released the latest version of its MAGNET Field and MAGNET Office software along with improvements to the MAGNET Enterprise cloud service. Version 1.2 of the software includes new features such as quick coding, which allows users to complete routines faster; 3D viewing; support for SiteLink 3D connections; more calculate (COGO ) routines; and the ability to export GPS and TS raw data to user-defined formats using the new custom export formatter.

All of these features serve to further enhance what is already a popular suite of software applications for precise positioning. But perhaps the most noteworthy change is the introduction of a mobile base RTK broadcasting service called MAGNET Relay. According to Scott Langbein, Topcon’s director of product marketing, this new service has the potential to be disruptive because it allows users to tap into network RTK capabilities—even if they’re using an older receiver and are nowhere near an established network.

“With MAGNET Relay, a user can take a Topcon or Sokkia receiver with a cell modem, such as a GR-3, GRX-1 and others, and use that cell modem to broadcast to other receivers at a range of up to 20 miles,” Langbein said. “This will appear like a network solution on the software and can be named anything, such as the company name or the user’s name, so that it can be easily identified. It’s much simpler than the old way of having to know IP addresses, usernames and passwords.”

The subscription-based service is being introduced at a cost of $300 per year. “It’s a lower-cost network setup that allows firms to take equipment they already own and make it more productive,” Langbein said.

That doesn’t mean it will prevent firms from investing in new equipment; in fact, Lanbein believes the opposite will happen. “As users begin to see the benefits of cellular-based rovers, they’ll want to invest more in that technology,” he said.

It’s one more way the cloud is becoming a reality for surveying and engineering firms.

“MAGNET speeds the delivery of data exchange,” Langbein said. “As soon as data is collected by a device, it’s immediately available in the cloud for access by authorized users. It brings the idea of the connected community to field and office operations to make them more productive and more efficient. As a result, service providers are better able to respond to the needs of their clients.”