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The Advantages of Utilizing Tilt in Surveying with RTK ReceiversHow Does a GNSS Receiver Work?

Surveying plays a pivotal role across diverse industries, demanding precision and efficiency. In recent years, the integration of Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) technology has revolutionized the fieldwork dynamics for surveyors. Improved RTK fix time and performance have helped reduce the limitations posed by Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) accuracy in position recording.

To further enhance the effectiveness of survey teams, the latest 7th generation receivers now incorporate tilt corrections. Receivers like Hemisphere’s S631 and Trimble’s R12i both now contain advanced IMU tilt sensors. This breakthrough innovation enables precise position recording even when the survey pole isn’t perfectly vertical. Its impact extends to various field advantages.

This integration of tilt into RTK receivers grants access to previously inaccessible areas, making it easier for surveyors to reach challenging spots. Moreover, it expedites the process of recording numerous points, significantly speeding up data collection. Additionally, it streamlines the learning curve for new users, allowing them to start working efficiently in no time. Finally, it helps make you safer by helping you keep your eyes on the traffic around you. 

The inclusion of tilt correction capabilities in RTK receivers marks a significant advancement, offering a range of benefits that substantially elevate the efficiency of surveying operations.

Understanding RTK Technology

Getting Into Hard-to-Reach Areas

Working More Efficiently

Easier to Learn

Safety Considerations

Conclusions

Understanding RTK Technology

Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) technology represents a cutting-edge approach in surveying that relies on satellite-based positioning systems, such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou. Its primary objective is to deliver unparalleled centimeter-level accuracy in real-time. This precision is made possible with the use of two receivers, a base and a rover.

How RTK Works:

Satellite-Based Positioning: RTK leverages signals from multiple satellites to determine precise positions on the Earth’s surface.

Base Station and Rover: The base station serves as a reference point, collecting raw data from satellites and precisely determining its own location. This station transmits correction signals to the rover.

Rover Functionality: The rover, equipped with an RTK receiver, receives these correction signals from the base station. It then employs this data to refine and enhance its own position, ensuring unparalleled accuracy in real-time measurements.

The Role of Tilt in RTK Surveying

Traditional surveying methods relied on a horizontal orientation of the receiver. However, the incorporation of tilt functionality in RTK receivers introduces a crucial dimension – the ability to measure points accurately even with the pole tilted.

Getting Into Hard to Reach Areas

Tilt-enabled RTK receivers permit surveyors to work more efficiently in challenging terrains. Steep slopes, rough terrain, or obstructed areas that were once cumbersome to survey are now accessible with ease. The ability to measure points on slopes without having to physically reposition the receiver streamlines the surveying process, saving time and effort.

For instance, think about trying to record a curb, sewer or pin that has an obstruction like a car or tree that prevents you from properly leveling your pole. Traditionally, you would have to perform an offset measurement in order to record the point. However, with tilt, you can simply tilt the pole around the obstacle in order to record the point.

Working More Efficiently

When performing surveys where hundreds or even thousands of points may need to be recorded, you can save huge amounts of time by not having to level your pole. Instead of having to take the second or two required to level the pole, all you need to worry about is that the pole is properly hitting your target. Once set, you can instantly record your shot without having to take the extra half second. 

This may not sound like a lot of time, however, over the course of the day this can nearly double your productivity. In tests we ran, we found that you could be up to 49.7% faster with tilt enabled. You can effectively double the number of points you are recording at the moment. 

This is especially useful when performing high shot volume surveys, like those found in topographic surveys. The more points you have to record at a job site the more benefit you are going to receive from a tilt sensor. This saves you both in time and manpower, making you more money. 

Easier to Learn

When someone is starting out surveying for the first time, they might not have the iron hand that many experienced surveyors have. This means they will take longer plumbing the pole, setting their points and getting their surveys done. With the tilt sensor, you can help alleviate some of that stress and learning curve for new crews and users. 

This also means that when you are starting a new, less experienced crew they will be able to get more work done over the course of a day. They will be able to record more points out of the gate then the same person on an RTK system without a tilt sensor.  

The integration of tilt in RTK receivers expands the spectrum of surveying applications. From infrastructure development and construction projects to environmental assessments and precision agriculture, the versatility of tilt-enabled RTK surveying opens doors to new possibilities, enabling more comprehensive and precise data collection.

Safety Considerations

Surveying often entails working in hazardous environments, such as construction sites or remote areas. Tilt functionality reduces the need for surveyors to maneuver in precarious conditions to obtain accurate measurements. This significantly mitigates potential risks and ensures the safety of surveying professionals.

Furthermore, when using the tilt sensor, you can keep a better eye on your surroundings. For instance, think about recording a road centerline. With the tilt sensor enabled, you can walk to your point and keep your eye on traffic rather than the level bubble. This will help you be more aware of the risks around you. 

Another underrated aspect of the tilt sensor is that it helps reduce wear and tear on your body while surveying. The fact that you do not need to level the pole helps reduce fatigue and stress on your back and arms. Over the years this can add up on your body. 

Conclusions

As technology continues to evolve, the potential for further enhancements in tilt functionality within RTK receivers is promising. Future iterations may focus on refining tilt capabilities, improving accuracy on extreme slopes, and expanding compatibility with other surveying tools and software.

The integration of tilt functionality into RTK receivers represents a significant leap forward in surveying technology. It addresses longstanding challenges in measuring points on slopes and uneven terrain, offering enhanced accuracy, efficiency, and safety. With its versatility and potential for further advancements, tilt-enabled RTK surveying is poised to redefine the landscape of modern surveying practices.

In conclusion, the advantages of tilt in surveying with an RTK receiver are manifold, revolutionizing the way surveying tasks are executed, enabling precision and efficiency in diverse terrains and applications.

Bench Mark Equipment & Supplies is your team to trust with all your surveying equipment. We have been providing high-quality surveying equipment to land surveyors, engineers, construction, airborne and resource professionals since 2002. This helps establish ourselves as the go-to team in Calgary, Canada, and the USA. Plus, we provide a wide selection of equipment, including global navigation satellite systems, RTK GPS equipment, GNSS receivers, and more. We strive to provide the highest level of customer care and service for everyone. To speak to one of our team today, call us at 403-286-0333 or email us at [email protected].

About the Author

Nolan has been working in the surveying field since 2017, starting as a part-time student at Bench-Mark while attending the University of Calgary. He now works in technical support and sales helping customers find the right product for them.

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