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I'm creating a tally using a Mill Manifest and assigning a unique ID to each joint. I encountered the following issue.

A pipe data crew assigns a unique ID and enters pipe number 2992, which they find in a pipe stockpile, into the Pipe No. field and selects find. The software populates the screen with pipe number 2992-6 which exists in the manifest, but pipe 2992 does not exist in the manifest. Both pipes have different heat numbers and lengths and are clearly not the same pipe. Should the software not first prompt that pipe 2992 does not exist in the manifest, rather than auto-populate the fields with attributes from the wrong pipe?

My concern is a field crew inadvertently accepting what the software prompts, rather than clearly being given an error message saying the pipe doesn't exist in the manifest. Is this working as designed?

Marvin Mudahy

White Space error?

Posted by Marvin Mudahy Jun 28, 2016

Why do i receive this error?

"I'm getting an error "whitespace" when i have done my joint mapping using attributes. Can you tell me why or what is it related to i know its linked to joint mapping. Once i do that i cant export anything in relation to the pipe tally until i delete all the jointing mapping data."-001017.jpg

We are in the process of setting up the module and running some tests.  Everything seems to be working although after the first day the pup prompt is no longer appearing; it warns that the length doesn't match the tally, although no pup prompt.

Hi, I'm looking for suggestions on a rugged (cold weather viable) Bluetooth bar code scanner to use for pipe tally. If anyone has a recommendation it would be appreciated.


Thanks in advance,



A recent question from a customer:

Just saw something I thought you might find interesting. I took the collector we are using for Joint Mapping and attempted to generate some Tally Reports. Every single one I tried popped up an error. The funny thing is that the error was: "ERROR: UNKNOWN ERROR". And several of the reports initiated a hard reboot of the collector...  Any thoughts?



It sounds like the TSC3 ran out of memory.  The memory management on the TSC3 operating system is not great, and it can’t handle large amounts of data that need lots of memory to process.

The only solution here is to use the ASCII File Generator application on your PC to create the reports (or use a Tablet).



Yes sir, I'm pretty sure it is the memory issue. Unfortunately, I'm not terribly experienced at creating reports in TBC. It is actually the first thing in my list for Friday morning.



The ASCII File Generator is not TBC – this is a different utility, that can run reports of your TA jobs, and tally files.

You can download it from a similar place as the tally merger utility. There are sample reports you can download there too.



I have the style sheets for TBC that should give me the same ability shouldn't it? 



The data you send into TBC is all the as-built data – which includes all the attributes.

If you want to do a job report, then Yes, you can do it in TBC or the ASCII File Generator.


The actual tally and joint map data is only in the tally files – and they don’t go into TBC.

So if you want to report on the tally and joint maps, then if they are not too big you can use the controller, or you can use the ASCII File Generator. One thing to be aware of is that the ASCII File Generator works off a job, or xml file. The Tally files aren’t either, HOWEVER we do create an XML file for you. On the controller this happens automatically when you go into Tally reports. If you use ASCII File Generator, then the XML file you want to report with can either come from the controller (as just described), or the Merger utility also creates an XML file automatically.


To get a copy of the Pipelines Tally and Joint Map Updater utility go to then click Downloads on the right and browse to Trimble Access Pipelines. There is also a Release note document here, we update this utility from time to time, so I would recommend checking the release notes from time to time to see if there are updates.

The ASCII File Generator utility and sample reports can be found in the same Downloads section.

The Tally files are a collection of files that record attributes and relationships. The tally file holds the attributes for each joint of pipe, the joint map file records the relationship between welds/bends/loose ends and the joints of pipe. The joint map file can also record additional weld attributes, bend attributes, and loose ends.


The tally file and its associated files are stored in the Trimble Data\Common\Tally folder on the controller.

The Tally folder contains the following files:






Attribute data for each joint



Unique ID, status flags, and timestamp and position information for each joint

Joint map


Joint map records, including any additional attributes recorded and timestamp and position information for each weld, bend or loose end



Configured tally options


Any modifications to these files must be performed on the master tally files. The process of merging tally files from multiple crews can add and modify (update) the master, but it does not subtract from the master.


Editing the tally file

The tally .csv and index .idx files work together, and rely on the lines numbers in one file lining up with the line numbers in the other file. In addition, the unique joint ID in the tally must match the unique joint ID at the corresponding line number in the index file.

The best (and safest) way to delete or rename a joint in the tally file is to use the Tally and Joint Map Updater utility. This utility has an Edit button where you can delete and rename joints in the master tally file. When you use the utility to make these modifications both the csv and idx file are modified to ensure they rename in sync.

To download the Tally and Joint Map Updater utility go to then click Downloads on the right and browse to Trimble Access Pipelines. There is also a Release note document here and we update this utility from time to time so I would recommend checking the release notes from time to time to see if there are updates.


Deleting a joint map

The Tally and Joint Map Updater utility also has an option to delete a joint map record. However, because the joint map file is not directly related to another file like the csv and idx, you can delete joint map records with an editor such as Notepad ++ if required – but remember to only delete from the master joint map file.

Adding or removing attributes in the joint map file

Additional weld attributes and bend attributes can be recorded during joint mapping, and later during the as-built process are automatically retrieved and recorded with the as-built survey positions.

The additional attributes to record are configured in Pipeline options, and once set ‘cannot’ be changed. The header line of the map file records the attribute names, and if you really do need to modify this, then you could carefully modify the header. This header is the only place Pipelines determines the additional fields, so the header is the place where it ‘could’ be modified. However, the map file is a comma delimited file, and if you do make any modifications to the header, through the addition or removal of additional weld or bend fields, then you MUST ensure that the appropriate changes are also made for each and every weld or bend line, as appropriate, in the map file. Microsoft Excel is good at managing comma delimited files, and would probably be a good tool to use to do this.

Renaming attributes in the joint map file – and the relationship to the fxl

If you rename an attribute name in the header file, then you are not adding or removing columns, so there is no need to make any changes to the rest of the joint map file.

However, you probably need to update your FXL. The FXL plays two important roles with respect to the additional bend and weld attributes. Firstly it provides things like field validation and drop down lists when initially collecting the attributes. Secondly, the fxl file is the mechanism used to record the attributes at survey time – for example, if WELD COATING is an extra attribute recorded at joint map time, then the WELD code used at survey time must have an attribute called WELD COATING in order to have this attribute filled in automatically from the joint map data.

Error checking with the Tally and Joint Map Updater utility

When the utility is run to either preview a merge or actually merge data, it checks the master and new joint map files to identify problems with duplicate IDs. The following checks are performed:

  • Check for any duplicate joint map IDs
  • Check for any duplicate joint map definitions - where there is another joint map ID that lists joints ahead and behind that have already been used in another joint map
  • Checks through all weld joint maps to ensure that a joint ID is not referenced as a joint ahead or a joint behind more than once.

If the report says there are issues with duplicate joint ID’s or definitions, then the master joint map file should be analyzed and the duplicates should be resolved/deleted.

A recent question from a customer:

How does the module compute a slope chainage for ground shots?

Slope chainage appears to be generated based on reference to the alignment (start reference 0+00….etc) However does it use the slope distances obtained from measured shots as absolute/only value for the slope chainages or is it a mixture of other parameters?

What is the needed distances of connection between the as-built pipeline vs alignment to make slope chainage generated from the module viable?



An alignment can be defined in Pipeline options, this alignment would typically be the design alignment - or something as close as possible to the design alignment.

From this design alignment we can compute stationing - but the stationing is obviously just a preliminary stationing. True stationing can only be computed from the start of the pipeline using asbuilt survey measurements on the pipeline. On any particular survey day it is highly unlikely that one data collector has all the asbuilt survey points in the job, so we cannot compute true stationing, all we can really do is compute approximate stationing from the preliminary alignment. True stationing can only really be computed in the office using all the asbuilt survey data.


When the Slope stationing check box is selected stationing is computed on the slope distance instead of the horizontal distance. In hilly terrain, slope stationing gives a better representation of true stationing than horizontal stationing.

Note – Slope stationing can only be computed if there is a valid vertical alignment defined along with the horizontal alignment.

Trimble Access provides a way to create templates (Settings / Templates), and when a template is selected as part of the process to create a new job, the new job adopts the settings in the Template. This works great for most Trimble Access applications, except for Pipelines, because Pipelines has a few additional options that the core Trimble Access system doesn't know about.


However, there is a way to create a template so that new Pipelines jobs can be correctly configured, without having to set up the extra Pipelines options on each new job created.


To create a Pipelines job template:

  1. Create a job as usual:
  2. Configure the pipeline options:
    1. From the main menu, tap Jobs / Pipeline options.
    2. Configure the options for the pipeline project. For more information, see Pipeline options in the Pipelines Help PDF file.
    3. Tap Accept.
  3. Copy the .job file you just created from the Trimble Data\<username> folder on the controller to your desktop computer.
  4. In Windows Explorer, change the file extension from .job to .jot.
  5. Give the new Pipelines template file a suitable name.
  6. Now copy the .jot file you created to the Trimble Data\System Files folder on the controller(s) required.
    The .jot file will now appear in the Template field when creating new jobs and should be selected to ensure the new job has all the appropriate pipelines settings configured.


When copying the new .jot template file to additional controllers, ensure that all the other files referenced are also on the required controllers:

  • Copy the tally.csv and any associated tally files (.dfn, .idx, .map extension) including the manifest .csv file if you are using one to check the tally against, from the Trimble Data\Common\Tally folder on the first controller to the Trimble Data\Common\Tally folder on the additional controllers.
  • Copy any other data files used, such as alignment, surface, corridor, and exclusion zone files to the Trimble Data\<username>folder on the controller.

There are a few Trimble Access Pipelines videos you can watch on the Trimble Geospatial YouTube Channel:

Trimble Access Pipelines Overview - YouTube


They were created early 2015, and a number of enhancements have been made to Pipelines since then, but they give a good overview of some of the core functionality.

Rob Koot

How is a tally created?

Posted by Rob Koot Mar 10, 2016

The tally file is simply a CSV file, each line in the CSV holds the Joint ID, and the joint's attributes.

Where possible, the tally should be created from the pipe manufacturers manifest, but when this is not available, creating a new CSV file is a simple process.

To start, you need to create a CSV header that contains the joint ID, and headings for all the attributes you wish to collect, it might look like this:

Unique ID,Pipe #,Heat #,Length,Diameter,Wall thickness,Manufacturer,Coating,Grade,Comments,Photo1


So, you just need to create a .csv file, with a header looking something like the above, and copy the file to the \Trimble Data\Common\Tally folder on the controller.


The next step is create a 'dummy' code in your feature and attribute library called tally, and then create attribute names that match the headers in your tally CSV file, and configure those to match the properties required. For example, you would create a Number attribute called Length, a suitable min and max and the number of decimal places. A List attribute for things like Diameter, Wall thickness, Manufacturer, Coating, and Grade. For the Pipe and Heat number you could create a text attributes simply to make them 'required' fields to ensure they are completed.


The next thing you need to be aware of, is that because the tally attributes are now recorded to the tally file, you need to setup the feature codes such as Welds, Bends and Valves to only record the attributes of the welds, bends and valves and the Joint ID - but not the attributes of the joint. The attributes for the joint are recorded with the asbuilt survey measurements simply through the relationship to the Joint ID.


To see an example, check out the sample files that can found here: Trimble Access v2015.2x Pipelines sample files

Trimble Access Pipelines is a comprehensive application designed for surveyors performing pipeline surveys:

  • Create tally files - collect joint attribute data
  • Create weld maps - record the relationship between a weld and joint ahead and joint behind
  • As-built pipelines - survey the welds, and by simply entering the weld ID, identify the joints referenced in the weld map and from these all the attributes related to those joints


When the weld is measured, all the weld, joint ahead and joint behind attributes are recorded with the weld measurement.

Recording joint, weld and bend attributes while the pipeline is still above ground, and then having this information available for recording during the asbuilt surveys is the main workflow.


But Pipelines does a lot more:

  • Merging tally and joint map files from multiple crews into Master set
  • Automated PUP creation
  • Automated cover computations
  • Automated cover checks to ensure minimum cover is achieved
  • Automated distance check between measured welds and joint length recorded in the tally
  • Bar code scanner support
  • Photo support
  • Corridors - warnings if you measure outside the working corridor

  • Exclusion zones - warnings when you enter an exclusion zone

  • Slope stationing

  • Ahead and back stationing

  • Measuring with a laser rangefinder, and averaging 3 laser shots

  • Compute deflection angles

  • Compute crossing angles and separation
  • Printing joint attributes on a P4T mobile Bluetooth printer
  • Reporting


For more information see the links available at Product Resources, and Pipelines Help PDF file available from the Documentation tab: