Jump on the latest software and beat the leap second

leapsecond-250x150A leap second will occur on the 30th June and Trimble Infrastructure has made every effort to ensure that Trimble receivers and software will work seamlessly through the added second.

What do you need to do?
Ensure that your Trimble hardware has the latest firmware and that your software is upgraded to the latest updates and patches.

GNSS receivers operate at their best performance if they are on the latest firmware. If you are under maintenance or have a receiver less than 12 months old please check the software version and update it if necessary.

If you do experience difficulties a simple power cycle of the receiver should fix the problem.

For more information please see the table below to review how each version of Survey GNSS firmware will handle the introduction of the UTC leap second to the GNSS satellite constellations.

GPS and GNSS Hardware Version GPS and GNSS Hardware Version
5700 2.32 Fugro 9200 4.87
5800 2.32 SPS852/SPS855 4.93
BX982 4.93 Fugro 9205 4.94
DSM12/212 1.71 SPS356 4.93
DSM132 3.06 SPSx61 4.87
DSM232 3.70 SPS585 5.00
MS750 1.58 SPS880/SPS881 4.61
SPS780 2.34 SPS882 4.93
SPS781 2.34 SPS985 4.93
SPSx50/x51 4.87 SPS985L 4.93

What is a leap second?
Announced by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), a leap second is an adjustment to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to account for the slowing rotation of the earth. Leap seconds were introduced in 1972 to simplify adjustments to UTC, one of the successors to Greenwich Mean Time and the primary regulator of world time. Leap seconds are only applied as needed and since their inception we have had 25 leap seconds. The last leap second, in 2012, caused problems on the internet and web based systems, with some web servers unable to process the extra second.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to check your receiver platforms to ensure they are running the most current firmware available from the respective manufacturer.

Contact your local SITECH office if you need any assistance in update your software or firmware.

Taking the Volume out of End of Month

uav-1Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Trimble’s Connected Site

Whether monitoring progress against the plan or calculating volume-based payments, end of month volumetric surveys are an indispensable part of heavy civil construction projects. But the traditional survey methods require boots on the ground, and plenty of them – dedicated surveyors lugging equipment, clambering over stockpile after stockpile, setting-up, recording and post-processing – all in the name of accuracy. Aside from the obvious time and cost commitments, these methods are likely to raise the heart-rate of any occupational health and safety officer.

Enter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or ‘drones’ as they are more colloquially known.

Using a UAV, data can be collected from the entire site in a fraction of the time, with the same if not better accuracy and without the safety risks of traditional survey methods. Depending on site size, data can be processed overnight to output next-day deliverables, namely:

  1. a high-resolution, geo-referenced colour orthophoto image; and
  2. a 3D digital elevation model.

The orthophoto image is an informative and illustrative accompaniment to the 3D digital elevation model and allows project stakeholders to visually assess the entire project site and make comparisons on a regular basis, for example, visual comparisons of changes and progress on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis.

The 3D digital elevation model allows project stakeholders to calculate accurate volumetric measurements of stockpiles, pits, extractions, subsidence and so on in order to assess progress against the plan, calculate volume-based payments or to determine, for example, if there’s enough material for cut and fill.

Using Trimble’s Connected Site software solution, data captured with the UAV can be uploaded to “Trimble Business Centre – HCE” and, by way of the 3D digital elevation model, volume reports can be made available in the cloud for viewing in “VisionLink”; anywhere, anytime. These reports can be scheduled, together with UAV flights and processing, on a regular basis, be it end of month or otherwise.

The application of UAV’s with Trimble’s Connected Site for regular site surveys is not only a win on time, costs and safety, but also for the stakeholder’s overall project understanding, enabling easier and more accessible billing and project progress tracking.

Two commercial, ready-to-market, aerial imaging UAV platforms – the Sensefly eBee and the Trimble UX5 are available from our partner company, UPG. Both UAVs have options for high accuracy RTK GNSS on board, virtually eliminating the need for ground control. The application of UAV’s on a construction site forms a crucial part of the whole-of-site solution with Trimble’s Connected Site.

If you would like to learn more about how UAVs can make your end of month easier contact us.

Using SCS900 software for surface grade checking

SPS985 On any civil construction project where grading is being carried out, it’s important to know the accuracy of the surfaces you’re leaving behind. The technical specs of your grade control system tell you the horizontal and vertical accuracy you can achieve under ideal conditions, but things like machine geometry and hydraulic responses can have an effect on the actual outcome.

With Trimble SCS900 Site Controller Software, you can visualise how well the systems are doing using the “CHECK SURFACE GRADE” function, under the “MEASUREMENTS” main function.SCS-3

This feature allows you to record surface points and compares it against the selected design surface in the selected work order. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Synchronise your data
  2. Go to SCS Data Manager and view the results of the Work Order with the SCS Report Utility.
  3. Click on the Reports Option and then you can check the box to generate a Surface Grade Check Report. The Report will show you important data like percentage of Points that are either High, In Tolerance, or Low. It also shows you what you had selected in SCS900 as the Tolerance Dead band.
  4. Click on the Plot icon to see a graphical representation of the points you measured which will be colour coded red for high, green for in tolerance and blue for low.SCS-4-300x208
  5. You’ll also get a chart with
    1. Maximum High (Cut)
    2. Average High (Cut)
    3. Maximum Low (Fill)
    4. Average Low (Fill)
    5. Standard Deviation

To read more about SCS900 Site Controller Software, take a look here. If you have any questions about the SCS report utility, contact us today.

Sandpiper Dredging helps replenish Sorrento Beach

Popular Sorrento beach had been losing its sand! As summer approached, Sandpiper Dredging utilised hydrographic survey technology to replenish the beach.

Shifting sands in Port Phillip have left the front beach at Victoria’s popular destination of Sorrento beach lacking sand. As summer approached, the Mornington Peninsula Shire and Australian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) decided to replenish the beach by dredging a near shore sandbank.

DEPI awarded the contract to Sandpiper Dredging due to their history of minimising environmental impact. Sandpiper has a decade of dredging experience and builds their own precision dredgers in Tweed Heads NSW.

Sandpiper-1-300x169The contract specified the dredge ground extent and the minimum Australian Height Datum (AHD) height Sandpiper could dredge. To achieve the job specifications and efficient operation of their dredge, Sandpiper knew they needed hydrographic survey technology on board. They turned to their local Trimble distributor, SITECH Construction Systems, for advice.

Consultation with SITECH Construction Systems established three key equipment requirements in order to precisely position in 3D the cutter suction head on the dredge frame in real time.

  1. Trimble® SPS461 GPS Heading and Positioning Receiver—a robust and accurate position and heading system all in one integrated GPS receiver designed for easy and fast installation
  2. Inclinometer to measure the angle of the cutter head frame
  3. Trimble HYDROpro™ Dredge software to display and log seabed levels—an easy to use software solution that can be configured for a wide range of dredgers.


To obtain precise 3D positions from the SPS461 receiver GPS corrections were streamed in, via cellular Internet, from the Victorian Government’s CORS (Continually Operating Reference System).  Position and heading from the SPS461 receiver were interfaced into HYDROpro Construction software to display dredge position. The inclinometer mounted on the dredge frame also interfaced with HYDROpro and allowed the AHD height of the cutter head to be displayed. The dredge position displayed in HYDROpro allowed operators to stay within the dredge grounds and ensure no over dredging occurred. The HYDROpro software was the central hub in the wheel house displaying and logging dredge positions and the AHD height of the dredge head. The easy-to-use HYDROpro software allowed the dredge operator to focus on controlling the dredge rather than understanding where to dredge. Using GPS and AUSGeoid09 removed the need for considering tide data because HYDROpro displayed the AHD height. The logged data could be delivered to the client as an as-built drawing.


Daniel Fristch,owner of Sandpiper, said “Building our own dredging systems is something we’re really proud of. In building them we can apply our years of experience to ensure we have the right machinery we need to carry out our clients’ work”.

“Working with SITECH Construction Systems is a true partnership because they are as focused on the needs of the customer as we are. After speaking about the challenges we had been facing, SITECH came back with the solution of the Trimble HYDROpro system which meant we could dredge in exactly the right place and maintain coverage, all the while protecting the environment of the beach.”