Launchpad: GPS compass, survey rental program

April 3, 2016  - By


GPS compass

Alternative to magnetic-based sensors for manned or unmanned

VectorNav VN-360 GPS-Compass (PRNewsFoto/VectorNav Technologies)

VectorNav VN-360 GPS-Compass (PRNewsFoto/VectorNav Technologies)

The VN-360 OEM GPS-Compass module provides an accurate, True North heading solution for systems integrators seeking a reliable alternative to magnetic-based sensors to improve the capabilities and performance of next-generation manned and unmanned systems. Unlike digital magnetometers that can be affected by ferrous materials, the VN-360 heading solution provides a cost-effective GPS-based alternative. With two onboard GNSS receivers, the VN-360 calculates the relative position between its two GNSS antennas to derive a heading solution an order of magnitude more accurate than a magnetic compass. It supports a variety of GNSS antennas that can be mounted on the host platform with a separation distance from a few centimeters to several meters. Applications include antenna pointing, multirotor UAVs and aerostats, automated agriculture, heavy machinery, ground robots, weapons training, warfare simulation and direct surveying.

VectorNav Technologies,

GNSS simulator update

Synchronize multiple simulators

Skydel-screenshot-WThe SDX software-defined GNSS simulator is now available in version 16.2. For real-time kinematic application, it is now possible to synchronize multiple simulators using a 10-MHz reference and pulse-per-second (PPS) signal. Users can modify pseudorange from the graphical user interface or the application program interface (API) in real time. Each satellite can be controlled individually or together. Trajectories can be imported from CSV files, and raw datalogging is improved. The navigation message can be changed in real time during the simulation. There is now an alternative to python API with the C++ open source API (other programming languages, such as C#, will be supported in the future.)


Inertial sensors

Designed for hydrographic tasks from shallow to deep water

apogeeum-image-systems-WThe Apogee-M motion reference unit and the Apogee-U inertial navigation system (INS) are both made of titanium and have a depth rating of 200 meters. The Apogee Series is an accurate INS based on robust micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology with a high degree of precision — 0.008 degrees in roll and pitch in real time — while delivering a robust and accurate heading from the continuous fusion of GNSS and IMU data. Apogee-M and Apogee-U are designed to mount close to the sonar head for hydrographic tasks in shallow or deep water. They provide a real-time heave accurate to 5 centimeters, which automatically detects the wave frequency and constantly adjusts to it. When wave frequency is erratic or in case of long-period swell, the delayed heave feature can allow survey in rough conditions with a more extensive calculation, resulting in a heave accurate to 2 cm displayed in real-time with a short delay. Apogee sensors can be paired with any survey-grade GNSS receiver or with one offered by SBG Systems.

SBG Systems,

RTK GPS receiver

For autonomous vehicles, surveying and research

piksiThe Piksi is a high-performance GPS receiver with real-time kinematic (RTK) functionality for centimeter-level relative positioning accuracy. Designed for integration into autonomous vehicles and portable surveying equipment, it has a fast position-solution update rate and low-power consumption in a small form factor. An open-source architecture with a high-performance digital signal processor on board and a flexible correlation accelerator make it suitable for GNSS research. Features include centimeter-accurate relative positioning (carrier-phase RTK); GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and SBAS signals; 50-Hz position/velocity/time solutions; and integrated patch antenna and external antenna input.

Swift Navigation,


Rental program

BYOD program offers a range of configurations for a variety of jobs

Anatum-rental-pgm-WAnatum Field Solutions (AFS) has launched a nationwide Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) submeter GNSS and centimeter real-time kinematic (RTK ) GNSS receiver rental program. AFS rentals target high-accuracy users in GIS, UAV, environmental, engineering, surveying, agriculture, electric/gas/water utilities, pipeline, forestry, mining, transportation, construction, architecture and government markets. AFS offers all mobile GIS devices including Apple iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Mobile/EHH. It also stocks various GNSS receivers such as Eos Arrow (submeter and centimeter), SXBlue (submeter and centimeter), Trimble R1 (1 meter) and BadElf (1–3 meters) in a variety of configurations.

Anatum Field Solutions,

Data controller

For construction and surveying professionals

Topcon's FC-5000 data controller.

Topcon’s FC-5000 data controller.

The FC-5000 field controller, with its 7-inch sunlight-readable display, is designed to provide operators a larger, more versatile and faster handheld computer for the modern construction site. The display has a capacitive touch interface — with finger, glove, small-tip stylus and water-capable options — that is optically bonded to increase visibility. With the press of a key, a user can change the orientation of the screen from portrait to landscape to increase visibility when viewing maps or drawings. The controller is compatible with all Topcon GNSS receivers and total stations, operating MAGNET Field, Site and Layout software. It has two built-in cameras: an 8-MP camera with autofocus and LED flash for field photography, and a 2-MP camera on the front for video meetings. Additional features include 64 GB of flash storage, an optional 4G LTE cellular modem, internal GPS navigation, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and a battery life of 10-plus hours.

Topcon Positioning Group,



Phantom 4 features obstacle avoidance, active tracking

Phantom-4-Action-4-WThe Phantom 4 quadcopter uses advanced computer vision and sensing technology to make professional aerial imaging easier. Its onboard intelligence makes piloting and shooting images easier through features such as its Obstacle Sensing System and ActiveTrack functionality. The Obstacle Sensing System features two forward-facing optical sensors that scan for obstacles and automatically direct the aircraft around impediments, reducing risk of collision, while ensuring flight direction remains constant. Obstacle avoidance also engages if the user triggers the drone’s “Return to Home” function to reduce the risk of collision when automatically flying back to its takeoff point. With ActiveTrack, the user can keep the camera centered on a subject. ActiveTrack allows users running the DJI Go app on iOS and Android devices to follow and keep the camera centered on the subject as it moves by tapping the subject on their smartphone or tablet.


Photomapping tool

Delivered as a complete system

Pteryx-UAV-WThe Pteryx UAV is a photomapping tool designed to help with photogrammetry, land property surveillance, environmental survey, search and rescue, precision agriculture, research, and in the energy sector. With a two-hour flight time, missions can be planned with the endurance reserve needed to overcome the large distances and worst-case changing weather conditions. Pteryx is designed to fly at speeds of about 50 km/h in light or medium wind speeds. The Pteryx can lift up to 1 kilogram of cargo: cameras, camcorders or other research equipment. The payload is housed in a roll-stabilized head on the front of the fuselage. The Pteryx can also accommodate a wide variety of sensors, which are installed in an easy to replace camera head. The Pteryx is delivered with a 16 MPx APS-C (crop sensor) daylight camera and wide lens, with other sensor options available.

Trigger Composites,

Infrared camera

Camera can read license plates from 500 feet away

M2D_flir_EOIR_THERMAL_CAMERA_GIMBAL_GYRO_STABILIZED_CAMERA-WThe M2-D is a miniature stabilized gyro with electro optical (EO) and infrared imagers. The system is designed for mobile, marine and aerial unmanned applications. The M2-D is compact at 3 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter. The gimbal is fully gyro stabilized and packs sensor technologies previously only available in much larger payloads. The infrared FLIR brand pan-tilt-zoom thermal imaging camera has an optical telephoto zoom in a lightweight 160-gram payload. The high-resolution thermal imaging sensor with digital zoom integration lets users capture stable video in total darkness. For daytime operations, the gimbal has a full-color visual camera with optical 6x zoom to ~4 degrees. The optical zoom is then enhanced with digial zoom integration for stable long-range imaging.

SPI Infrared,

Surveying hexacopter

Surveys large areas or objects to generate fast, precise data

Aibotix-Aibotx6v2-WVersion 2 of the AibotX6 hexacopter features high-precision (HP) GNSS for surveyors. The system also can be installed in existing AibotX6 hexacopters. With Version 2, the precision and quality of surveying data is significantly improved with RTK technology based on the Leica Geosystems SmartNet correction data service. Post-processing is also possible. The new AibotX6 HP GNSS workflow guarantees precision of up to 2-centimeter position accuracy. Besides allowing the use of existing surveying hexacopters, continuing generation and processing of data can be done with the fully integrated software Aibotix AiProFlight. The Aibot X6 can carry a variety of sensors weighing up to 2 kilograms.



Reference system

Integrates GNSS for challenging maritime positioning

kongsberg-DPS-432The new DPS 432 combines full decimeter accuracy with high integrity and availability of GNSS data, supporting the safety and efficiency of offshore operations that rely on advanced dynamic positioning (DP) systems. It integrates signals from GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo, and regional correction signals including SBAS and G4 services from Fugro, to ensure high flexibility for DP operations globally. Suited to complex operations, the system increases satellite availability, improves integrity monitoring and enables more precision under challenging signal tracking conditions. The DPS 432 features a sophisticated engine that runs in a safe mode protected from unintended user operations.

Kongsberg Maritime,

Portable navigator

Cost-effective, feature-rich device for aviation

Garmin aero 660 navigator for pilots.

Garmin aero 660 navigator for pilots.

The aera 660 features a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen display that has been optimized for cockpits and various types of flying. It has a built-in GPS/GLONASS receiver and rich, interactive maps that can be viewed in portrait or landscape modes. Cost-effective database options along with Wi-Fi database updating capabilities allow customers to access up-to-date data, including daily U.S. fuel prices. Bluetooth supports the display of ADS-B in traffic and weather from a variety of sources, including the GDL 39/GDL 39 3D, Flight Stream and the GTX 345 ADS-B transponder. The aera 660 withstands the harshest environments, meeting stringent temperature tests and helicopter vibration standards. Depending on settings and external connections, pilots can receive up to four hours of battery life on a single charge.


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