Launchpad: Survey, UAV, Transportation

September 25, 2017  - By

Survey & Mapping


High performance and stable signal reception

The NeoRTK System is a high-performing GNSS RTK system. It includes a multi-constellation and multi-frequency GNSS engine and various communication protocols. With a high-end GNSS antenna inside, NeoRTK can speed the time to first fix (TTFF) and improve the capability of anti-jamming. The 16G internal storage and up to 32G external SD card, along with the built-in large-capacity battery for 10-hour field work, improves surveyors’ productivity, while the radio module makes long distance operation more convenient. A smart personal digital assistant offers high readability and fast access to essential functions and modes. The NeoRTK system also has an adjustable measurement rod with automatic tilt compensation.

Tersus GNSS,

GNSS Receiver

Real-time professional-grade positioning information

The SXblue Platinum is a high-accuracy GNSS receiver compatible with iOS, Windows and Android Bluetooth. Powered by 394 channels, the SXblue Platinum uses all constellations (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou and QZSS) with triple frequency, and provides the ability to use global or local coverage for corrections (SBAS, L-band and RTK). With the scalable SXblue Platinum Basic, users can activate any frequency or constellation at any time following initial purchase. The receiver is also field-upgradable, which means that these options can be remotely activated when convenient. It also has an L-band signal correction via Hemisphere’s Atlas service. With its new Tracer technology, the receiver can sustain its level of accuracy when the Atlas signal is interrupted.


Smartphone antenna, location service

Turns Android devices into data-collection systems

Trimble Catalyst DA1 antenna attaches to a smartphone running a Catalyst-enabled app.

The Catalyst software-defined GNSS receiver for Android devices is now available through Trimble’s global distribution network. Through Catalyst and a special antenna, customers can access positioning-as-a-service to collect geolocation data with Trimble or third-party apps on smartphones, tablets and mobile handhelds. When combined with a plug-and-play digital antenna and subscription to the Catalyst service, the receiver provides on-demand GNSS positioning capabilities to turn consumer Android devices into centimeter-accurate data-collection systems. Catalyst requires a Catalyst-enabled location app for Android; a Catalyst subscription, with accuracy options ranging from 1 meter to centimeter level, and the small, lightweight DA1 antenna, which plugs directly into Android smartphones and tablets. A range of Catalyst-enabled applications have been developed for geographic information system (GIS) data acquisition, cadastral land management, topographic mapping and ground control for unmanned aircraft systems (UAVs).


Desktop GIS

Updated with improved workflows and innovative features

ArcGIS Pro 2.0 is Esri’s next-generation desktop geographic information system (GIS). It is tightly integrated with the rest of the ArcGIS platform, so that users can complete more of their workflows solely in ArcGIS Pro, such as map creation and data management. Getting started with new projects has vastly improved with Favorites. In ArcGIS Pro, users can modify topology properties directly. An enhanced traverse tool improves COGO workflows. Highly requested context menu options for importing and exporting data included in the Catalog pane. 3D navigation controls enable exploration of 3D landscapes, and views of 3D and 2D maps can be synced. Layouts are more useful and powerful with embeddable dynamic interactive charts. Improvements to 3D drawing including feature drawing by camera distance. Enhanced lighting of 3D objects make 3D visualizations even better. Analytics improvements include fill-missing-values tools and enhanced spacetime cubes.



Flight management

For pilots to use GPS as primary means of navigation

The GPS-4000S sensor provides GPS-based navigation and enables GPS-based approaches for aircraft equipped with flight management systems. The sensor’s Space-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) capabilities enable use of GPS as the primary means of navigation in areas of SBAS coverage. The GPS-4000S uses up to 10 GPS satellites and two geostationary SBAS satellites. However, users can calculate navigation with a minimum of four GPS satellites with acceptable geometry or three satellites plus calibrated barometric altitude. With additional satellites, the system’s Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) detects and isolates defective satellites while improving navigation accuracy. Predictive RAIM capability determines if the future satellite geometry at the destination airport will support planned arrival procedures.

Rockwell Collins,

Smart ADAS camera

Efficient image recognition engine and functional safety

Renasas autonomy is an advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) and automated driving platform. The first rollout under the new platform is the R-Car V3M high-performance image recognition system-on-chip (SoC), optimized for use in smart camera applications, surround view systems and lidars. For smart camera applications, the R-Car V3M focuses on enabling NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) features. It is equipped with an integrated ISP and delivers high performance for computer vision, while supporting low power consumption and a high level of functional safety. The R-Car V3M SoC complies with the ISO26262 safety standard, delivers low-power hardware acceleration for vision processing and is equipped with a built-in image signal processor, freeing up board space and reducing system manufacturers’ costs.

Renesas Electronics,

Aircraft navigation

Touchscreen GPS/Nav/Comm for pilots

GTN 650 is a fully integrated solution in a small package ready and approved for installation in hundreds of makes and models of aircraft, including helicopters, by the U.S. FAA, Europe EASA, Canada TCCA and Brazil ANAC. It combines GPS, communication and navigation functions with powerful multifunction display capabilities such as high-resolution terrain mapping, graphical flight planning, advanced navigation, multiple weather options, connectivity and traffic display. The SBAS/WAAS-certified, 15-channel GPS receiver generates five position updates per second, letting pilots fly GPS-guided localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) glidepath instrument approaches down to as low as 200 feet. The system includes a complete package of very high frequency (VHF) navigation capabilities, with a 200-channel VHF omni-directional radio range (VOR)/instrument landing system (ILS) with localizer and glideslope.


Truck-specific navigation

Device includes critical driving and business tools

The OverDryve 7 Pro is part of Rand McNally’s OverDryve OS Connected Vehicle platform. It is E-Log ready and has a high-resolution 7-inch screen. Designed for truck drivers, the OverDryve 7 Pro has truck-specific navigation and routing with points of interest, advanced lane guidance, toll costs, warnings and fuel logs. Other features include hands-free calling and texting, voice assistance and in-cab entertainment. The powered magnetic mount includes a commercial-grade GPS boost. The unit comes pre-loaded with the Rand McNally DriverConnect2 logbook app, which can be paired with a compatible Rand McNally electronic logging device (ELD) to provide a fully compliant electronic logging solution.

Rand McNally,


Drone navigation kit

Open-Source kit integrates GNSS module

The Here+ RTK GNSS kit, is built around the u‑blox NEO‑M8P high-precision real-time kinematic (RTK) GNSS module. HEX offers an open-source drone autopilot, the Ardupilot, which the kit supports. The kit consists of a round rover designed to be mounted on the drone. It is connected to the flight controller using the supplied 8‑pin CLIK-Mate connector (for the autopilot Pixhawk2) or an optional 4 pin + 6 pin DF13 connector (for the Pixhawk1). The base station with its smaller GNSS receiver and an external antenna complete the equipment. HEX’s goal is to promote open source drone technology to a larger community and assist drone companies with affordable accessories for a wealth of applications, such as agricultural drone, powerline inspection, precision farming, logistics or 3D mapping.

HEX Technology Limited,;
u-blox, www.u‑

Long-endurance UAV

Hybrid electric propulsion provides longer operating time

The Hercules is a long-endurance multi-rotor UAS with a hybrid electric propulsion system and patent-pending aerodynamic design improvements. These two technologies enable the aircraft to fly up to 3.5 hours or carry a 4-pound payload for 2 hours. The aircraft has a 36-pound gross weight and is intended for FAA Part 107 operations. Hercules is useful for applications that benefit from long endurance such as precision agriculture, mapping, first responders and infrastructure inspection. The increased flight time enables up to 45% reduction in cost per acre for the operator to acquire data, while the increased payload capacity avoids repeat overflights with swapped out payloads.Three gallons of fuel is enough energy to fly the aircraft for the whole day. The battery contains enough energy to fly the aircraft for an additional 2 minutes following failure of the combustion engine, enabling the aircraft to make a safe landing.

Advanced Aircraft Company,

GNSS kit

Survey-level accuracy for small unmanned aerial systems

The Loki GNSS positioning system allows users of DJI Phantom 4 Pros and Inspire 2 drones, as well as most drones using higher end cameras, to achieve survey-level accuracy with minimum ground control. For positioning accuracy, Loki uses the Septentrio AsteRx-m2 GNSS engine with 448 hardware channels. A patent-pending method by GeoCue detects camera events from the UAV and synchronizes them to GNSS positioning. Loki is a self-contained kit that provides the hardware and software needed to equip a drone with a post-processed kinematic (PPK) multi-frequency, multi-constellation, differential, carrier-phase GNSS. The adapter cable is splug and play. Using a local base station (not included), Loki provides centimeter-level positioning with minimal, and in some cases, no ground-control points (though GCPs are always recommended for quality assurance).

GeoCue Group,

Large-area lidar

For advanced mapping, law enforcement

The Phoenix Ranger RL1-UAV produces photorealistic 3D point-cloud data collected efficiently over extensive regions. For law enforcement, the data can provide greater context, awareness and tactical accuracy. Agencies typically use ground-based lidar as a forensic crime-scene mapping technology. Aerial lidar is efficient for larger, outdoor scenes because line-of-sight issues can restrict ground lidar scans from capturing the entire area. Benefits for law enforcement include exposing unmapped trails hidden in remote backwoods; determining width, elevation and length of roads; detecting micro topography hidden by vegetation; and gathering ground-surface information affected by human activities. The Phoenix Ranger RL1-UAV provides survey-grade (cm-level) accuracy with 920-meter laser range and outstanding intensity calibration. Options include IMU and dual-GPS upgrade for increased accuracy.

Phoenix Lidar Systems,

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About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.