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Joe Blecha

Keep Working in TBC + TRW!

Posted by Joe Blecha Mar 31, 2020

Hey all Trimble Business Center and Trimble RealWorks users! We want to make sure you have access to your licenses wherever you are working from these days...

Joe Blecha

TBC Expert Webinar Series

Posted by Joe Blecha Mar 26, 2020
Join Civil engineering and Construction professionals from across Trimble as they tackle primary workflow topics like takeoff, mass haul, and site design in TBC.  These free, on-demand 30-40 minute long sessions are perfect to refresh your memory or take your skills to the next level. 

Welcome to another TBC tip ! Got a pretty short but important one today. Many times we have used TBC, we may have wondered how to distinguish the coordinate quality. The symbols are displayed in the properties of the points but how do we tell which symbol corresponds to which quality ? Well, in today’s tip, we will be showing you exactly that !


Let's look at all the symbols we may see : 



 Control quality : This is for the highest quality of a coordinate


Survey Quality : This is for the coordinate of high quality surveyed data



  Mapping Quality : This is for the coordinate of low/average quality surveyed data



Unknown Quality : This is for the coordinate of unverified/lowest quality data.


Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center !


Stay safe everyone ! 


Session editor has been a very handy tool in TBC and allows you to improve the quality of your baselines by either disabling unhealthy satellites, conceal bad satellite data and adjust occupation times. In this tip, you’ll see how you can perform these improvements, and understand how the session editor displays unhealthy satellite data.  


To enter the session editor, select the baseline of interest to view the session and select ‘Session Editor’ under the Survey Tab. 



With the Session Editor Open, you can read the editor as : 






G = GPS Satellite 


R = GLONASS Satellite


E = Galileo Satellite 


C = BeiDou Satellite 


J = QZSS Satellite 











Blue lines : Represents the first point in the baseline, generally the base station.

Green lines : Represents the second point in the baseline, generally the rover station. 




The gaps in the sessions defined by dashed lines represent the cycle slips of each session (if there are any)



When you find cycle slips, you can disable this part of the satellite data by executing a left-click and dragging your cursor across the cycle slip 



You may also find sessions that may have either ended or started too early. Although it is not necessary to disable these sessions, you can simply select the satellite to disable the whole session. In this case, I selected ‘G7’ to disable the session. 




Once you’ve made the proper adjustments to your sessions, click ‘Ok’ and re-process the same baseline to review the new results.



Hopefully this tip comes in handy the next time you’re using Trimble Business Center!

I have spent the last couple of days putting an existing code library into an FXL, and wanted to share some pain, thoughts and feelings on the process for anyone interested.


I also want to share some pain here as a user.



Create a FXL with ~410 codes, about 190 point features and 220 line styles

We were provided a DWG file with the codes, layer names, linework, colours and symbols, as well as some reference documents for some of the more finite details on attributes and layers. 



To start with I created a blank FXL in TBC and exported that to a CSV for editing and in Excel I then block edited the codes according to their feature type and the columns. Once complete and happy defining all the fields, the CSV file was saved and then imported into TBC to define the FXL, at this stage the file needed to be redefined according to what type of code the imported format was, along with the columns.

  •   ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: If the imported CSV is imported with the same headings as the exported CSV with just the code information filled out, why can't this simply be an import straight in?
    Can we get the CSV to FXL function to recognize the format of the file and import it rather than messing around selecting columns and redefining what they are.

The result here was that all the layers were created, however they were all white, and we needed to give the layers a correct colour.

Importing Layers into the Layer Manager:

So using the Layer Manager I exported the layers to the .Layer format which (fun fact) is an XML format and can be imported into Excel (It requires the development tab to be turned on and allow the export to a .XML function).

  • ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Can we get this to export a CSV? This would be easy when defining layers like this, the .LAYER format as an export isn't particularly helpful.

The layers were edited in excel to give them colours and also give groupings to them which was a request in the FXL creation. When exported to .XML from Excel the file can either be renamed to .LAYER or imported into the Layer manager in TBC as a .XML if all files are shown in the import window.

  • ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Can we get the Layer Manager importer to recognize .CSV files or at the very least .XML as a native format.

When importing however while there are Layer Groups defined in the window, the groups aren't created in TBC and are ignored.

  • BUG: Layer groups defined in imported layer definitions should be created.
  • BUG: Importing layer definitions with the same name, but different groups appears to import only one layer in the final group location, with the first layer definitions parameters, so:

    Name – Red – Solid – Group 1

    Name – Green– Dot – Group 2

    Name – Blue– Dashed – Group 3

    Seems to become:

    Name – Red – Dashed – Group 3

At this point it was a bit of a mess but I had all the information needed so I started a new project and Created the Layer groups, then imported my layer definitions.




Importing layer definitions and codes:

The problem came when I created my empty FXL and imported the CSV (needing to define all the import information again). This seemed to cause a bit of a mess as most of the layers I had imported previously reverted to white and default line style information, not all of them just most of them.

  • BUG: Importing a CSV to create an FXL seems to override some of the Layer information, at the very least at a graphical UI level.

That is ok, we can get back there right? No, re-importing the layer information into the Layer Manager doesn't fix this.

But the layer groupings work...right?

  • BUG: Imported Layers from a CSV in the create FXL process cause some layers to be pushed out of their original groupings and back into the default Layer group. Not all layers do this, and it seems to be a weird selection of layers, but it happened to me for about 20% of layers.

This can be fixed though by going back into the layer manager and changing the layers that have shifted out of their grouping from <<none>> to their correct group. Luckily this can be done to multiple layers at once. FINALLY we can create our base FXL.


OK, so I have a bit of a mess, but now we have "clean" files, lets start again to get a clean slate.



  1. Start a blank project
  2. Create Layer groups
  3. Import Layer definitions
  4. Import FXL
  • NOTE: Importing the FXL this time rather than the CSV retains the Layer definitions.


Now it is time to move onto defining symbols and linestyles. TBC lets you import a DWG file with Blocks in it and use those blocks as Symbols. This is straight forward for solid blocks brought into TBC as a DWG such as a standard tree.


  • BUG: with blocks created in TBC from a combination of a different items such as linework and a static text attribute, exporting and using the block as a block seems to work, however when the block is used as a symbol it is scaled differently to the original file. Grid and ground has no impact on this process.

Why not use a block instead of a symbol?

  • ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Allow scaling of Blocks according to attributes in TBC for blocks using one point pickups.

This aside we still need to individually go through and assign each symbol independently to the feature code.

  • ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Give the CSV to FXL importer the option to import a symbol / block name to be used. This way this could all be set up in TBC and when importing the FXL definition it just maps to the existing blocks / symbols.


So there are some issues with point and block imports, what about addressing the linear features definitions. They can be defined in the CSV to FXL import.

  • BUG: When importing a line style definition into TBC from an imported file for the layer manager, even if the linestyle exists we seem to want to show it as being a solid line in the UI of the layer manager with the correct name. There seems to be a disconnect between the imported definition and the line style manager. This could be a UI glitch.

Even with this in consideration, we hit one other problem in this process.

  • ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Allow linestyles to have a text attribute placed in it. Currently for this to happen the text has to be drawn in the linestyle manager which is messy to say the least.
  • ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Allow the importing of linestyles or assigning blocks to a linestyle. This would simplify this process and make it far more user friendly. Block the linesyle and define the two ends of the block of where the linestyle repeats.


So after all of this, where did we get?

Well the process works, sort of. There is a LOT of messing around and fiddling to get a desired outcome and along the way users are fighting with what should / could be a simple process.


From this the above workflow is still recommended:

  1. Start a blank project
  2. Create CSV of blank FXL and populate
  3. Import CSV and create FXL
  4. Start blank project
  5. Create Layer groups
  6. Create and then Import Layer definitions
  7. Import FXL
  8. In TBC assign linestyle and symbols to features
  9. Export Final FXL
  10. Create template with Layer groups, Layer definitions and final FXL

Many of us may have used Direct Reflex in the field, but did you know that you can use DR straight within TBC as well ? Direct Reflex allows surveyors to take measurements to surfaces and objects without the need for a prism. With that same principle, we can create measurements and other objects such as points and CAD objects using the virtual DR mode in station view. 


So how does it work ? when picking a point using the virtual DR mode,TBC projects a nearby scan point onto the line-of-sight ray to help calculate the 3D position of the new point


Before we begin, we must ensure that our stations have images associated with them. This allows us to use the Pixel Picker to select on a referenced photo image the location (pixel) where we want to create a measurement, CAD object, or point


So to begin, we enter the station view of the station we want to use virtual DR with. While we are here, we can check the ‘Virtual DR’ box. 





To see more points, we can select the ‘Image filter’ option and turn on ‘Show scans from other stations’ to see the points from other stations. This will give us more dense point cloud which in turn allows us to pick our points with more confidence. 






Once we have turned on ‘Virtual DR’ mode and turned on Scans from other stations, we are ready to create objects using the virtual DR mode. 


We can go ahead and open up the ‘Linestring’ command and when we get to pick the coordinate, we can pick approximately where we want the linestring to begin and we will see a pixel picker that lets us verify where we want to pick on the Image under laid on the scans. 





Using this method, we can create points and other CAD objects as well ! 


Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center.

As many of us have worked with various types of lines and points in TBC, we may have run into a situation where we wonder if we set the elevation to ‘0’ or leave it as ‘?’. This short tip will explain the difference in using ‘?’ for elevations and ‘0’ 


The ‘?’  defines an undefined elevation. Hence, when we are creating a linestring ,polyline or point that requires no elevation, we can simply type ‘?’ and our line will have an undefined elevation (which is not the same as 0)  


However, if we edit the elevation of an already elevated polyline to undefined, the elevation will become 0. 




Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center !

March is looking like a double TBC Power Hour month... lucky you!

First up: Processing WingtraOne Drone Data in TBC

The Wingtra and Trimble Business Center (TBC) teams proudly announce support for the WingtraOne vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) mapping drone in TBC’s Aerial Photogrammetry module. This TBC Power Hour session on Wednesday, March 18th at 8am US Mountain Time will show how pairing the WingtraOne hardware with the processing capabilities and deliverable creation options from TBC is a viable, streamlined, and familiar solution for your aerial surveying needs.

Linestrings are a very powerful tool that is used in TBC for the creation of complex 3D or 2D lines and curves with CAD properties feature codes, used for construction, modeling, surface creations and various other deliverables. When we create linestrings, you may have noticed there are two tabs, horizontal and vertical, this tip will walk you through the different functions of the horizontal and vertical linestring options. 









Horizontal linestrings are the most common, as they allow us to create linestring by selecting a starting coordinate and then simply selecting the coordinates of the following nodes. We can select the type of geometric connections we want between the nodes as well. As well as creating the linestrings, we can give each node an elevation, unless there is a constant elevation we can simply specify 2D coordinates for the nodes for a quick creation of lines. 





The vertical linestring option is used for establishing the vertical components of a linestring, in this case vertical control points along the linestring. Each vertical control point is defined by : A curve type, a distance along the linestring and an elevation. 


The three different types of curves types include : 


  1. No curve : Simple transition at the vertical control point using the two straight segments created by the point.


  1. Parabolic : Transition more smoothly by rounding off the two straight segments created by the point using a parabolic curve.

  1. Arc : Transition using an arc defined by its radius 






We can also create curves and arcs with specific incoming, outgoing and offset slopes along with slopes and line intersections. 


For more in depth information on the functionalities of the horizontal and vertical line string components, consult the TBC help document. 


Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center ! 

The introduction of Trimble’s SX10 made it possible to combine survey data with scan data. With the ability to capture point clouds and imagery using a total station with survey workflow, almost eliminating the need for the registration process back in the office. Unfortunately, mistakes can be made in the field and alter our data from the field. In today's tip we will see how we can convert stations to scan stations for registration purposes. 


We see below a .JXL imported from a survey done from an SX10 but unfortunately due to poor survey practices, the station locations are clearly not properly positioned. 






and if we look at our project explorer we can see that the scans are nested under ‘Stations’, noted by the total station symbol. In TBC, we are unable to perform registration between scans nested under stations. For this reason, we must create scan stations to be able to register our scans together. 




To create scan stations, we must navigate to the ‘Point Clouds’ ribbon and select ‘Create Scan Station’ command. 



We are welcomed to the command, where we can select our total stations that we want to create scan stations from. Along with how we want the name of the newly created scan stations to appear. 

  • ‘Move to Scan station’ option will move the scans and images associated with the original station to the newly created scan station.
  • ‘copy to scan station’ option will copy the scans and images associated with the original station to the new scan station. Hence, choosing this option will cause our project size to increase. 



After all the parameters are chosen we can go ahead select ‘Apply’ 







and in our project explorer, we can see that our scans are now nested under scan stations and we can register our scans with ease.





Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center !

As we all know, TBC is home to an abundant amount of commands and functions that help our ease our workflows, but there may be times when we need something very specific that the current commands are not capable of doing. This is where the use of TML’s comes in, where we are able to create functions that are specific to different use case scenarios. 



Where do we find TML’s ? and How do we know what they do ? 


All these answers can be answered by visiting the Macros community page : 


In this page, we can download the TML status extension provided by Rockpile Solutions which allows us to easily access and add extensions into TBC straight within TBC. 


In this community page we can see all the TML’s created by Trimble and a description of what each TML offers. Here we see TML’s by our very own Gary Lantaff. 




Once we have the TML status extension added to TBC, we can navigate to the Macros tab and open the command. 




Here we can see all the TML’s created by either Trimble or Rockpile Solutions that can be added to your TBC by selecting the command and selecting ‘Update’. 

note : The TML’s by Rockpile Solutions are licensed. 


Here we have added the ‘Exploded Surface’ TML and once TBC restarts, it can be seen in the Macros tab under ‘Surfaces’ 








We highly recommend getting familiar with all the available TML’s as they may suit your project needs and make your workflows faster and more efficient. 


Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center !

Welcome back to a brand new year of TBC ! We can kick off 2020’s collection of tips by learning how we can break apart any objects that contain multiple components for further modifications, moving or even exporting individual components. 


Let's take the following surface as an example, created using a corridor, but we want to be able to access the CAD objects used to create the corridor. 




To achieve this, we must navigate to the Explode command in the ‘Edit’ tab under the ‘CAD’ ribbon. Here we can select which objects we want to break apart. 



In the Explode command, we can go ahead and select our surface to be exploded.‘Delete blocks after exploding’ checkbox refers to situations where you do not want to retain the original block as well as the exploded components. 




and after exploding, we can see that the surface has exploded into 15 individual components which we can now modify, move or even export 





Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center !


Have a great year !

TBC is home to all kinds of observations, such as total station observations and RTK vectors. With all of these observations and data types in one project, it can be somewhat difficult to find each point in your graphical view. This week's tip is all about different ways we can use TBC to find your points in your views for easy accessibility !  


Let's take the following data set as an example, using this data set we can use 


  1. Center command
  2. Pan Precise Command 
  3. Select Points by Vector command


to easily find our points. 





‘Center’ command 


This command allows you to center to a specific point. We must first zoom in generally close, so when we use the center command, we can clearly see the point. In your project explorer right click the point you want to view and select ‘Center’ 








‘Pan Precise’ command 


In the ‘Home’ ribbon, under the ‘View’ tab we can find the pan precise command. Using the pan precise command we can pan our 2D view from your current position to the point we are looking for. 


In the ‘From’ field, we can select the point ID of the point we want to pan to and in the ‘To’ field we can select the middle of our current view. In this example, we want to pan to point ID 988




and our view has panned over to where point 988 is located ! 



‘Select Points by Vector’ command 


There may be times when you may not know the point ID you are looking for, but you do know other information such as : Time it was collected, Target Height, Prism Type, Horizontal or Vertical precision and other information. 


for cases such as these, we can go to either the vector spreadsheet for RTK vectors or Optical spreadsheet for total station observations located in the ‘Home’ ribbon. 



We will be using the Optical spreadsheet and look for two points created around 9:25 AM. We can go ahead and select these observations in the optical spreadsheet. 




With our observations selected, we can navigate to the plan view and right click anywhere and select ‘Select Points by Vector’ 





After we select the ‘points points by vector’ command, the points created by these observations will be selected and we can use the ‘Center’ command once more to center our view to the points. 




This great tip was suggested by Joshua Cho, our TBC testing Intern, Thanks Josh !. If you have any cool tips and tricks that you want to share with the community, reach out to us ! 


Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using TBC ! 


Happy Holidays to everyone that is Celebrating and see you in the new year !

PDF drawings of plan sets contain copious amounts of useful information such as line works, structures, elevations, contours and other information. However, did you know that you can convert these PDF’s into CAD objects to be used for data prep, surface creation and other operations straight within Trimble Business Center ?


Before we get started two things are necessary for this to work 

  1. A Vectorized PDF.
  2. Two points in TBC that will be used for georeferencing the PDF. 



Let's take this PDF as an example, we want to bring this into TBC and convert them into CAD entities. 


To begin, open up your TBC project with your points that will be used to georeference your PDF and then drag and drop your PDF into the project. 


With your PDF loaded, the following dialog will open up. From this dialog we will select ‘Georeference Vector PDF’ shown in the red arrow 








In this window, if needed, we can apply a clipping boundary to our PDF if there are unnecessary information. With our desired PDF size chosen, we can go ahead georeference the  PDF by matching the pixels in the drawings to the corresponding points in your project. 


With our georeferencing, our PDF will be scaled and rotated accordingly to match the two points precisely. 




Now, we can navigate to the project explorer and right click our PDF under the imported files and select ‘Import Vector PDF data’ 



In the ‘Import Vector PDF data’ pane, we can specify which type of dashed line extraction method we prefer as well as the Layer extraction method. 




Once we are satisfied with the options, we can select ‘Import’ 



and our PDF line work has been converted into CAD objects. Using these lines, we can perform data prep, elevate our lines, create surfaces and much more ! 




Hope this tip comes in handy, the next time you are using Trimble Business Center !

Dear TBC users,



The GEOID18 grid files in the little endian and ASCII grid formats that were posted by NGS prior to November 26, 2019, contained errors in a small percentage of the grid cells (1 in 500). NGS has corrected the errors and replaced these files. Therefore, the TBC team has since incorporated these critical changes in the Coordinate System Database 88 (CSD88). Please see our ‘Check for Updates’ in TBC to install the latest changes.

Thank you!
ngs geoid csd88