Skip navigation
All Places > Trimble Business Center Group > Blog
1 2 3 Previous Next

Trimble Business Center Group

74 posts

This weeks’ tip of the week is for the drafting users in the audience. It’s a little known shortcut for making arcs from polylines. (Note that this will not work with linestrings)


Start by drawing a polyline. It can be as simple as one line or a complex feature.




Next, in File > Options, or from the Quick Access Toolbar.




Ensure the “Turn on CAD grips” checkbox is selected.


This toggles end and midpoint grips for straight lines and curves.



With the rightmost polyline selected, double click on the midpoint grip, represented by a triangle. (End points of polylines are represented by squares)



The polyline changes to an arc, wow!


By clicking and dragging the midpoint grip, the radius of the arc can be adjusted.



Adjacent polylines can be adjusted individually, to create and replicate complex real world arc features.



The polyline arcs cannot be made to have a diameter larger than the distance between the two end points.

A useful application of this is the ability to draft circles with two points at opposite sides of the circle. For example, take points 100 and 101 below.



Draw a polyline between the points, double click the midpoint grip to convert the polyline to an arc, and drag it the maximum distance either up or down.



This creates a semi-circle with a diameter the distance between points 100 and 101.

Repeat the process, except this time drag the midpoint of the arc the other direction, and a circle is formed.



And voila! A circle from two points. Break time? Break time.


TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

As a professional surveyor, one always working with the same mental and manual precision as your world-class Trimble hardware, you never make any mistakes when feature coding topo in the field right?  Perfection for each shot, for every job, every day of your five (or six or seven!) day work week, right?

Well, if you are like the author and subject to the occasional fat-finger, short occupation, or mis-code, you’ll love the new Lock geometry feature in TBC v4.10 that helps you retain office edits to feature coded geometry.

Take a topo, any topo, like the Processing Feature Code TBC tutorial data set:

Turn off the RTK Vectors, Total Station observations, and Media Folders in the View Filter Manager by unchecking the corresponding boxes under the Raw Data header and process the feature code library by using the Process Feature Codes command in the Survey tab.  Any questions on these steps? Check out the Processing Feature Codes tutorial, available at:


Linework, symbols, line styles, labels, and more are created with a click of a button (with the help of your pre-configured FXL of course!).  Now, just suppose that the field surveyor missed a breakline point in their topo work, along the line boxed in red, points 893-894-895. Focusing, zooming in, and selecting the Properties of the line:

Note that the linestring is feature ‘EdgePvmt’ (Edge of Pavement).  Note how there is a new property under the Feature header called Locked and it is set to no.  More on this later. Adding that missed point manually in TBC, between 894 and 895, using the Edit Linestring command:

And the edge of pavement geometry is now complete.  Here’s the enhancement. View the Properties of the EdgePvmt linestring again:

Notice how now the Locked value is set to Yes.  When the locked is set to Yes, your manuel edits to the feature coded geometry will remain even if you re-process the data source.

To illustrate this, check out the Process Feature Codes again, select the same data source and select the Process Source(s) button:

The manually edited EdgePvmt linestring keeps the added vertex.

If you wish to remove that vertex, you can manually delete it in Edit Linestring or you can set the Locked to no and re-process the data set.

And the manually added vertex is removed.

This new locking property is quite handy when dealing with complex data sets or multiple days of work in the same TBC project.  Keep your edits as you complete your QC checks and manual edits now in TBC v4.10.

TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Believe it or not, Trimble is not just a provider of world-class field-to-finish survey CAD office software, we make industry-leading GNSS units too, among others!  And, we’ve help the broad geospatial community by publishing a new HTML JavaScript-based GNSS Planning Online tool.  Check it out at:

Set your position graphically or with Lat/Longs, enter height, elevation cutoff mask, day and time parameters, along with a constellation toggle to set the satellites you wish to use.

Hit ‘Apply’ and view elevation and satellite charts:

and a skyplot over your time and location:

In addition, check out the World View, plotting the location of satellites around the globe at the given time and mask, run time-lapse to put the satellites in motion, and overlay the TEC or Scintillation Ionosphere maps:

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and QZSS constellations are supported and the new online planning tool is compatible with all web browsers.  English, German, Chinese (Simplified), Spanish, and French languages are supported.

In addition, get status updates for each satellite in the ‘Satellite Library’ tab, with information included like status, eccentricity, inclination, clock offset, and more!

Watch for the new tool to be linked in TBC in a future release!

TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Did you know you can use the *.SHX file to assure that your point symbols used in TBC translate exactly into AutoCAD?  Thanks to Evelina from TBC’s QA team, here’s how...


Symbols can be assigned to points in TBC using the Point Symbol command.



However, when you export a DXF or a DWG from the Export command in TBC, the point symbols are not transferring to AutoCAD with the same appearance. These symbol differences are shown in the screenshot below.



To correct this, copy the file symbol.shx from the TBC installation folder to the Autodesk installation Support folder.


These are the default folder locations where each software program is installed: Trimble Business Center -  C:\Program Files\Trimble\Trimble Business Center and Autodesk Support folder - C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD [Version Number]\Support.



If you’ve installed either software package in locations other than the default, the installation directory is likely different so first check where each program is installed. Search for the symbol.shx file from the TBC installation folder and copy it to Autodesk Support folder.


Once you copy the symbol.shx file, export the TBC project as a DXF or DWG again, then all of the default TBC point symbols will be visualized correctly in AutoCAD, as shown by the symbols below:



You'll only have to do this once to assure that your TBC symbols match in your version of AutoCAD.


Thanks Evelina!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Did you know you can easily apply a vertical exaggeration in TBC's 3D View?


With a project open to a 3D View, notice there is a VE:1.0 text string in the bottom left corner.  What's the 'VE' stand for?  You guessed it, Vertical Exaggeration, which will apply a simple scalar value to the vertical components of TBC data like point clouds or surfaces..



With the view active, press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys on your keyboard, then use the mouse scroll wheel to change the vertical exaggeration.


Scroll up to increase the exaggeration:



And scroll down to decrease the exaggeration:



And, each 3D View can support their own vertical exaggeration scalar, so you can have multiple views open at the same time and visualize your data at different exaggerations:



View your data from multiple angles, multiple views, and multiple exaggerations to aid in your drafting, CAD, data reduction workflows!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Want a free trip (airfare, accommodation, and registration) to Dimensions 2018?  Submit an entry for Trimble's Field to Finish Competition and you could be headed to Dimensions 2018 to present your project and workflows on Trimble!

This week’s Tip of the Week is a user (more like Power User) submission.  Thank you to Pete Lichtenberg for this!

I learned a good way of creating a second surface from an original surface, similar to an old TerraModel routine. Select the original surface either in Project Explorer or Plan View. Right click and use "Select Members".


Now use the "Copy" command under "Edit" and tick "Relayer copied objects". Choose an existing layer or create a new layer. In this example I have created a new layer "TO_TOPSOIL_STRIPPED":



After clicking "Apply" the window "Move Objects" appears. Fill in "From:" and "To:" as below. Put in the Delta Elevation e.g. "-0.1", make sure "3D move" is ticked and click the button "Apply".



The windows "Copy Objects" shows up again. Just close it.

The members of the first surface, lowered by 0.1m are copied on to the Layer "TO_TOPSOIL_STRIPPED".

Now, select these newly created objects and create your second surface, which is vertically lowered by 0.1m.

Thanks Pete!

TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Learn about how TBC Tunneling module can increase your capabilities to stake-out, as-built, and report on tunnels in this month's TBC Power Hour on Wednesday, May 23rd.


Going underground with TBC... in Tunnels


Register here today!

The projected surfaces feature within TBC 4.10 allows for the creation of a surface with a custom UCS. The custom UCS is defined by a plane definition, which is created from either several presets, or user input. This is different from traditional surface creation, where the surface geometry is tied to the WCS, or world coordinate system. Traditional surface creation can typically only model 2.5D topography, or non-vertical surfaces.


The projected surface geometry is tied to its’ custom UCS, therefore any calculations, comparisons, or reports will also be tied the UCS. This can lead to a few minor pitfalls when trying to compare two projected surfaces.

When trying to compare projected surfaces via a report, or cut/fill map, you may get this error mark:



This means that the surfaces you are trying to compare were not created using the same plane definition. The plane definition creates a local coordinate system which determines how TBC interprets the surface’s geometry. If two surfaces have geometries relative to different coordinate systems, TBC cannot compare them.


This would be like trying to compare two point clouds that are not georeferenced to each other, or trying to compare objects with coordinates generated from different datums.


You can check if surfaces are comparable by checking the projected surface’s projection orientation.To view this, go to the surface’s properties and scroll to the bottom of the pane. You should see a category “Projection Orientation.”



The projection orientation defines the surface’s normal axis. This normal axis is how TBC determines if two surfaces can be compared. The normal of a plane is shown below. The normal is a vector that is perpendicular to the defined plane.


If your surfaces have the same projection orientation, you’re ready to compare them, if not, you need to change one of the surfaces’ orientation by using the reproject surface command, found right next to the create projected surface command.



This command will allow you to rebuild a surface using a different plane definition. That way, you can make the two surfaces you are trying to compare have matching projection orientations.


Once in the command pane, select one of your surfaces that you are trying to compare, and then select the “Plane Definition” option. This is where you can select the plane definition that matches the other surface you are trying to compare. Once the correct plane definition is selected, hit apply.



Now you'll be able to create reports, or cut/fill maps between the surfaces.


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Interested in learning about the new Projected Surfaces workflow in TBC v4.10? We've got a new tutorial with instructions and data for you!
Check out the "Creating Projected Surfaces" tutorial under the 'Working with Point Cloud' header on our Tutorials page.

Starting in TBC v4.10, the License Manager has a simplified interface to select a network server hosting your TBC license.  Here’s how:

If you are using a TBC license from a hosted server, such as one-seat from a ten-seat company license stored on a virtual or physical server within the network, TBC’s License Manager needs to be able to communicate and read the network server.  

Select the name of your TBC host server from the License server drop-down menu, click OK, and restart TBC for the changes to apply.

If you don’t see your TBC host server in the drop-down, use the License Support page on TBC’s website:

to review FAQs, Tech Tips, or the Sentinel HASAP License Introduction document.  If you’ve troubleshot as much as you can, contact your local Trimble Distribution Partner.

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

TBC v4.10 is released, have you heard?  Lots of new features like Projected Surfaces, Tunneling module, locking feature-coded geometry, post-processing SSF files, and more.  

Looking to upgrade your current version to v4.10?  With TBC’s perpetually licensed software model, your license warranty date governs what is the latest version of TBC that can be licensed.  For example, TBC v4.10 requires a warranty date of April 1, 2018 or later to license the new version and functionality.

To check your TBC warranty date, open the License Manager from either the Start Page or the Support tab:

TBC v4.10's Start Page - launch License Manager


TBC v4.10 Support tab - launch License Manager


In the License Manager, check the upper right entry called Warranty expiration.  This date is your warranty license date. You are eligible to license any TBC version with the editions and modules you’ve purchased with a warranty (or build) date equal to or before your warranty license date.

So in this example, I am eligible to license the editions and modules under Features Licensed for any TBC version with a warranty (or build, the terms are interchangeable) date equal to December 31, 2020 or earlier.

Ok, that’s easy enough to find, but how can I find the build dates of TBC versions?  Well, you’ll be prompted with the latest available version in the Check for Updates routine, also available in the Start Page or Support tab.

Or, you can check the version’s Release Notes.  The build date will always be listed among the first couple of pages:

Or, Trimble Geospatial Support maintains a Latest Versions list on the Support A-Z page with build dates for TBC and other Geospatial products:

Armed with this license warranty date knowledge, update to v4.10 today (download page here) or contact your local Trimble Partner to extend your warranty past April 1, 2018!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

April TBC Power Hour Announcement!


TBC Power Hour - WYDOT Presents Roading Workflows with TBC


Join fellow TBC Beta member, Andrew Klingenberg, PE, with the Wyoming Department of Transportation as he discusses and demonstrates their roading design, prep, staking, and reporting workflows and how TBC works with third-party design software and Trimble Access field software.


Two sessions on Thursday, April 26th at 8am and 4pm Mountain time.


Register here:


Geospatial Webinars 

Have you checked out the TBC website lately?

We’ve added a lot of information to our site for both the prospective and current user and it’s all in one place… the TBC website!

For the curious surveyor looking for a survey CAD office software package, watch our two-minute overview video, learn about supported workflows, listen to colleagues describe and demonstrate their experiences, and download the latest version of the software.



To help get you started, download our workflow tutorials, review the feature matrix to learn more about each edition and module, or view or register for a TBC Power Hour, or link to our 193 (and counting!) YouTube channel tutorial, new feature, and update videos.

Check out our playlists of new features, workflows, and Customer Testimonial videos.

Looking for a functionality or workflow in a TBC edition or module?  It's in the Feature Matrix.  


And to connect and engage with us and your peers, find our Community forum page, follow us on Facebook, or bookmark the TBC Tip of the Week page!

Join the TBC Community


Tip of the Week Vault - all Tips in one place



With so much information, bookmark or make it your home page so you can watch for updates and new content!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

Did you know that TBC v4.00 shipped with 44 pre-built reports (that the author could count) for you to confidently deliver survey coordinates, adjustment routines, volume quantities, and more?

Most of these reports are listed in the Reports > More Reports menu, as shown:

The reports not listed in More Reports are context-specific, such as the four REB reports, which are primarily used in Germany, and are located in their respective ribbons (REB reports are included in the Corridor tab, in case you are wondering).

Configuring reports, for example to toggle a report to display in the Reports menu drop-down or modifying the header or footer contents, is done in the Report Options menu:

In the Report Options menu, find all reports sorted alphabetically and editable settings below.  For example, the GNSS Loop Closure Results report, which is not included in the drop-down Reports list by default, can be toggled to show in the Reports menu:

In the Report Options for the GNSS Loop Closure Report options, header, footer, report settings, and report sections can also be modified.

If you are looking for more customized reports, check out the Customized Report templates available for you to modify in Microsoft Word *.docx format.  Templates available in TBC v4.00 are Alignment Geometry, As-Staked Points, Baseline Processing, Earthwork, Network Adjustment, Point Card, Point List, and Site Calibration Reports.  

Check out the TBC Tutorial on Custom Reporting here: or the Custom Reporting Power Hour from February 2017 with Riley Smith and Adam Hussein here:

Use TBC’s reporting to deliver confident results to your clients!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.