Whether you’re surveying land, staking out a construction project, building a road or even planting crops, an RTK GPS Network Rover is one of the most modern, cost affective (and more importantly, accurate) tools for use in suveying, machine control, GIS and mapping just to name a few. Best of all, the technology behind these rovers is fairly simple and setup isn’t very involved, so even a relative novice can quickly and easily use this useful tool to get some of the most accurate position readings available with today’s technology.
The RTK GPS Network Rover In Action
An RTK GPS Network Rover, also sometimes called a GNSS Network Rover, is a single-unit, dual-frequency GPS device that uses a cellular phone modem or WI-FI connection to receive corrections from a network of terrestrial GPS base units via the Internet. These networks, commonly called Real Time Networks or RTNs, are comprised of four basic components: the permanent base stations (which pull raw data from GPS satellites), central computing hubs (which process the base stations’ data and send it to the Internet for end users), communications devices (the RTK GPS Network Rovers, which take the data from the computing hubs and present it in a useful way for the end user), and the end user (the person who needs GPS information).
Finding a reliable RTN is crucial to getting accurate information, but luckily networks (such as TopNET by Topcon, SpiderNET by Leica, and VRS by Trimble) are available throughout the US. RTNs can be free or require a subscription to access (depending upon who owns them), but all of these networks run in the same basic way. Let’s try an example to illustrate this!
Let’s say Bob is a land surveyor who’s working on an as-built survey with contours. His project requires the survey to be on state plane NAD83 coordinates, so he pulls out a GNSS Network Rover. Within minutes, his rover connects to a central computing hub, which has information passed to local base stations by GNSS satellites. The hub tells Bob’s Rover where he is, and the Rover translates that into terms that Bob can easily understand. Within minutes of taking his RTK GPS Network Rover out of his truck Bob is collecting data and well on his way to completing his survey.
As you can see, the ability to collect or stakout accurate points using an RTN makes GNSS Network Rovers extremely useful tools to have around. So where can you find a good one?
Choosing a Network Rover
SurveyorCentral.com is a Tier 1 Carlson software dealer and recommends the Carlson Surveyor+ GPS System, a survey-grade GPS system that easily and automatically connects to your RTN of choice. The Carlson Surveyor Plus GPS System functions exactly as the RTK GPS Network Rovers described above, though its sub-centimeter accuracy makes it ideal for surveying applications. The Surveyor + GPS System also comes with Carlson SurvCE, a data collection package with Total Station and GPS modules, giving you a toolbox that’s hard to beat.
Find out more about the Carlson Surveyor + GPS HERE