Skip To Content Skip To Navigation

Trimble Business Center Helps Prevent Survey Data Loss

True North | Summer 2021

Perhaps you have used Trimble Business Center (TBC) for years, Trimble’s office solution for surveyors, engineers, or anyone working with geospatial data. However, did you know that you can secure the integrity of your original survey data with TBC? Let me explain…

One of the industry’s most common issues for surveyors is that whenever survey data is transferred from one system to another (field to office for instance), some data loss can occur if you are not using a perfectly streamlined workflow.

loss of data value

For example, a common practice for GNSS surveys is to export a CSV file from the data collector. This comma-separated text file typically includes the point ID, Northing, Easting, Elevation, and Feature Code of multiple GNSS observations. For total station observations, some surveyors use the same CSV export format, while others prefer extracting raw data in a text file compatible with their office solution (FBK, RAW, SDR, or FLD are examples of such file formats). Others even skip a step and export a DXF CAD drawing straight from their data collectors.

What do all the above have in common? None of these will provide the office personnel with a complete picture of the original field survey operations since some valuable survey information could have been lost in the process. Here are some key data points that aren’t included in most if not all of the most common export formats, to name a few:

  • Instrument pressure and local temperature
  • Instruments model and make
  • Prism type and constant
  • Target and/or antenna height
  • Feature code library used in the field
  • GNSS precision details (PDOP, H, and V precision)
  • Number of satellites in solution
  • Data and time of the observation
  • Stakeout operation residuals
  • The general order of operations
  • Results of the traverse adjustment computed in the field
  • The method used to make the observation (Rapid point, Distance offset, Circular object, etc.)
  • Any picture taken in the field with the data collector

A list of points, their coordinates and a simple field sketch may be technically enough to draft a survey base plan. However, land surveyors and engineers should utilize access to all the survey metadata to have complete confidence in the deliverable they are preparing. It is not just a matter of being able to judge the quality of the work in the field, but also to provide a way for the office user to make corrections to the survey data when needed without having to go back to the data collector and export a new version of the same file.

For Trimble Access users, working directly with the JOB file in Trimble Business Center provides you with a complete picture of your survey operations, the ability to easily identify problems in your survey data and ways to address those issues expeditiously. Furthermore, by doing so there is no more need for the survey crew to export files in the field, other than for on-site QC/QA. The data transfer process from the field to the office can be made even easier with Trimble Connect, Trimble’s cloud-based file management system that is free to all Trimble customers with up-to-date Trimble Access maintenance.

Here are just some of the tools you can use in Trimble Business Center to process, analyze, validate and possibly fix your survey data:

Project Explorer

The TBC Project Explorer includes a complete list of everything that’s in your current project, from a list of points, to surfaces, feature code libraries, and much more. A section is also dedicated to imported files. When working with the original Trimble Access JOB file this section shows a breadcrumb of every operation recorded in the field.

project explorer

Properties Pane

“Properties” includes lots of different information. For instance, when features like RTK vectors or total station observations are selected, it lets the surveyor review the quality of these observations and, if needed correct editable, crucial data points such as an antenna height or prism type.

Properties Pane

Vector Spreadsheet

Similar to the Properties Pane, the Vector spreadsheet contains a list of every RTK vector in a TBC project and their associated metadata. Some editable entries can once again be modified as needed. Furthermore, you can apply filters to this spreadsheet to review the data more efficiently.

Vector Spreadsheet

Taking advantage of these tools and functionalities to maximize efficiency and minimize survey data loss can be part of a bigger, streamlined workflow that we have developed at Cansel. This solution, called Can-Flow, is a complete set of standards built on years of experience working with the industry’s best practices. Ask your Cansel representative about how Can-Flow can improve your business and tighten up your data integrity.

Jonathan Calvé
Cansel Professional Services