Trimble Announces New Base Station for UAV Mapping

By Mike Ball / 28 Sep 2017

Trimble mapping drone

Trimble has announced the release of its new GNSS Smart Target Base Station for high-accuracy mapping from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The announcement was made at the INTERGEO 2017 conference.

Comprised of a survey grade, multi-frequency, multi-constellation GNSS reference station complete with a foam Ground Control Target with integrated carrying case, the Smart Target Base Station logs the raw GNSS observables required to perform centimeter level post-processed Differential GNSS positioning of UAVs, and acts as a photo-identifiable Ground Control Point (GCP) for quality control.

The Smart Target Base Station is supported by both the Applanix POSPac UAV GNSS-Inertial post-processing software for Direct Georeferencing on UAVs and Trimble UASMaster Photogrammetric software. With the included Smartphone app or web UI, users can remotely begin logging the raw GNSS observables data collected by the target that is required for post processing. At the end of the mission, the target is retrieved and the raw GNSS data downloaded along with the data collected from the Trimble APX UAV GNSS-Inertial system installed in the UAV. Global coordinates of the reference station are computed automatically using the Trimble Centerpoint RTX post-processing service in POSPac UAV, or if local coordinates are desired, the foam target can be centered over an existing reference point.

“Efficient mapping from UAVs using cameras, LiDAR and other sensors requires the right solutions that need to be simple and easy to use,” said Joe Hutton, director of Inertial Technology and Airborne Products at Applanix, a Trimble Company. “The Smart Target Base Station is a result of listening to our customers’ needs for a GNSS reference station to support Direct Georeferencing on UAVs that is cost-effective, easy to deploy in all terrains, and does not require special knowledge to operate. Aerial surveyors can quickly realize greater value and significant cost savings with this system, while obtaining high accuracy.”

The Trimble GNSS Smart Target Base Station operates autonomously for up to 4 hours with its embedded lithium ion battery. Extended operation can be achieved with a user supplied external USB battery.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact