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

Trimble Business Center Group

61 posts

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.


TBC works with raw survey data from your Trimble and third-party hardware, not just with *.CSV or X,Y,Z coordinates.  This means that TBC not only integrates data from different sources, like GNSS receivers, total stations, and levels, but also allows you to check, modify, and recompute the resulting coordinates from those different sources.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate TBC’s computation engine and the Point Derivation Report.  Check out Point 1000:

Zoomed in a bit more with some annotation detail, there are three measurements to Point 1000, a GNSS RTK shot from base station at Point 400, and two foresight total station measurements from Points 102 and RSCT_2.  

You can left-click on any of the colored vectors (blue for RTK, green for total station) and view the raw data properties, shown here:

Any of the text in BLUE color can be changed, for example changing the GNSS receiver measurement method or adjusting the observation’s prism type.  So many QA/QC options when working with the raw data, but I digress… on to the Point Derivation Report...

With Point 1000 selected in Plan View, right-click and select the Point Derivation Report from the context menu.  Alternatively, you can select, then right-click on Point 1000 within the Project Explorer and select the Point Derivation Report or with Point 1000 selected, click in the Reports drop-down from the ribbon and select Point Derivation Report.

An HTML-based report launches, which displays project, coordinate system, local site settings, and, alas, point derivation information!

All observations used to determine the resulting coordinate for Point 1000 show in the Point Derivation Report.  A closer look now shows the reported coordinate for Point 1000 and what observations TBC’s computation engine used to arrive at this coordinate, along with deltas, precisions, distance, and azimuth data.

For Point 1000, the Northing, Easting, and height values were computed using the RTK shot from Point 400 and the elevation is computed from the RSCT_2 resection station.  Armed with this information, you can now go back into the vector properties in TBC and enable or disable observations or toggle horizontal or vertical usage. Recompute the project using the F4 key and generate another Point Derivation Report to see how your manual edits or checks has modified the reported coordinate for Point 1000.  

The computation engine and its hierarchy and heuristics has an entire Power Hour session dedicated to it.  Check out the March 2016 Power Hour with Boris Skopljak and Troy Brown to learn how the computation engine calculates coordinates here:

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

Did you know there is a quick way to convert binary *.job files from Trimble Access into *.jxl files that can be opened in a text editor for review or re-imported into different versions of Trimble Access?  The conversion routine reveals a secret of TBC… TBC converts *.job files upon import into *.jxl files temporarily, then displays the data as a *.job. Capturing the *.jxl during this temporary conversion is this week’s TBC Tip of the Week.

First, open the file folder where your field data resides:

and drag and drop the *.job into TBC:

Looks good, right?  Total station observations and points are imported into Plan View.  Save the project if you wish.

Now, back in your field data folder, grab the same *.job file again and drop it into the same TBC project.  TBC knows that this data is already in the project, so it prompts for how it should merge the data:

If you wanted to continue in TBC, select one of the options, either disable merging of the data which results in multiple versions of the same job in the project; overwrite office edits, which overwrites changes made in TBC to the data; or preserve office edits, which keeps any changes made in TBC to the data.  But… for this Tip of the Week workflow, do not select anything.

Rather, find your field data folder again and notice a *.jxl file called ‘Temporary Conversion File.jxl’ exists now.  Copy and paste this file to the same or another directory and give it a new name if you wish:

Then, click Cancel to the TBC merge options.  Notice that the Temporary Conversion File no longer appears in your field data folder:

But, notice that the newly copied ‘New jxl file.jxl’ file remains.  Congatulations, you’ve just converted the *.job file to a *.jxl.

Double-click on the *.jxl and select a text editor to read the file, you’ll be able to review the XML-based schema of the *.jxl:

The *.jxl can also be imported into different Trimble Access editions with you having to worry about file versions like with the *.job file format.

This tip is also a great routine for survey managers working with crews with potentially different versions of Trimble Access!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

Did you know that with v4.00, TBC Advanced includes the drafting and plotting routines that had been included in the Advanced Drafting module?  With the ability to create custom plan, cross-section, and plan-profile sheets all within TBC Advanced, time for a drafting Tip of the Week!

Starting with a pre-built drafting template included with TBC, launch the Drafting Templates command furthest to the left in the Drafting tab and drag-and-drop a *.vcl into your TBC plan view.  In this example, the Feet - Arch D (24x36) - 1 Column - Inset Grid template is used.

Further customize by adding text, blocks, or images to the Plan Sheet Set or Cross-Section Sheet set.  Note below how to insert an image, such as a company logo, to the Plan Sheet Set, with the Insert Image command.

Once you have your company logo and any other standard info you want to include in your personalized drafting template, you can export as a new *.vcl for future use and sharing.

To export, first delete all data from the project that you do not wish to include in your template, such as survey data, corridor information, and CAD geometry.  But remember to keep your company logo!

Then, select the components in the Project Explorer you want to export, be it sheet sets or individual sheets.  Multi-select by clicking the first template object you wish to export, then hold down the <Ctrl> key and pick any other drafting template object to include.

In the Export Pane, select the Construction tab and scroll down to the VCL Project Link.  The selections are recognized in the Data box, and give the drafting template a name. When happy with your selection and name, click the Export button at the bottom of the command.

Import your custom drafting template into any TBC project via the same, simple drag-and-drop routine and stay in TBC to complete your plan set deliverables!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

You're using TBC to perform a network adjustment for the first time and you're wondering why the Results tab in the Adjust Network pane is telling you the Chi Square (95%) test failed. And what is a Chi square (95%) test anyway? Well the answer may be a lot closer than you think. No need to crank up Google or call your dealer. Simply press the F1 key. A TBC Help topic displays providing an explanation of all of the Adjust Network options, including Chi squares (95%).




And if you want to learn more about the network adjustment workflow in general, click the handy Related topic link at the bottom of the page. Or, click the Contents tab in the Help window to view all of the related network adjustment topics.



All of the command panes and dialogs in TBC support F1 Help functionality. So context-sensitive help is always close at hand. And most Help topics provide links to related topics.


So what if you have heard about the Chi Square (95%) test, want to know how it is used in TBC, but are not in the Adjust Network command pane. Help is still close by. Simply press F1 to open the TBC Help window, type "Chi Square" in the search field at the top of the window, and click the Search button. Note that the "Network Adjustment Options" topic displays at the top of the list. This is the topic that provides the most extensive mention of "Chi Square." 



Note also that the search term is highlighted in the topic to help you easily find it.



The TBC Help also includes a comprehensive glossary that can be accessed from the Contents tab or via a word search.



To make it even easier to perform a task while you are reading the instructions, all "how-to" procedural Help topics include a direct command link to the associated command. This makes it easier and faster to launch the command than searching in the TBC command ribbon.



If you simply want to quickly view an overview and review "fast-track" instructions for performing a task, click the Workflow Guides link on the Start page. Embedded command links make it easy to perform the task as you follow the instructions.


And if you want to go more in-depth and gets some hands-on experience using real data, click the Tutorials link on the Start page. Then select the tutorial you want to download. Each download ZIP file includes the instructions and data/project files you to need to perform the tutorial.


On the other hand, if you prefer to learn while watching someone else perform tasks, you can always click the TBC Survey YouTube Channel link on the Start page to see what's new on the tube.


As you can see, there's a lot of choices for how you learn about TBC. Simply pick the combination that works best for you.


TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence

In TBC, the ability to create construction or staking models for road corridors has a low barrier to entry.  Start with an alignment, name your corridor, build out the templates, and export to your favorite field survey software, Trimble Access, of course.  

TBC can also support more complicated corridors with superelevations, lane transitions, and conditional instructions for templates.  Some templates can be quite complex, with tens of instructions.  After working through plan sets or design documents to key-in the template into TBC, did you know you can save the template for use in another road corridor in a different TBC project or copy or reference this template for use in any station along the corridor?  No need to duplicate work you’ve already done!  Here’s how:

Say you’ve keyed in the following template at Sta. 133+88:

And you’d like to use the same template in a different project or perhaps you’ve built up a library of common templates to reuse as needed.  Note the Options button in the lower right corner, left-click it to expand the menu:

Then select the Save template as xml.  

Pick a location to save the *.xml and your road corridor template is saved.

To load it into another project or corridor, when in the Insert Corridor Template command, select the drop-down arrow for Options:

And select From file definition.  Browse to where your *.xml template is saved, click OK, and it will be imported as a new template into your corridor.

But there’s more… did you note there are three other options in the drop-down menu?  The New definition is to key-in a template’s instructions from scratch, and the other two, Copy definition and Reference definition, let you utilize any template in the project for the new template you are inserting.  

The differences?  Copy definition uses the same instructions as the source template and creates a new, independent template that can be modified or changed without any impact on the source template.  Reference definition uses the same instructions as the source template and links the new with the source.  So, if the a template is referenced and a new instruction is added to new template, the new instruction is also added to the source template.

Leverage this knowledge and functionality in your next construction or survey staking road corridor project to save you drafting time!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence

Network adjustments are all about detecting, managing, and distributing errors throughout your data.  Beginning the adjustment with accurate initial estimates of your total station, leveling, and GNSS errors assists the least-squares routine in the network adjustment workflow.  Where does TBC get these initial estimates?  Read on…

In the TBC Project Settings, there is a Default Standard Errors header that, not surprisingly, contains the settings that the Network Adjustment routine uses for the initial error estimates.

The default for total station data is set from the imported file, like a *.job or *.jxl.  These settings are likely set in the field software like Trimble Access and the accuracy of the instrument should be considered to establish a proper estimate.

The default for level data is set by the Level Editor, launched when you import a *.dat from a Trimble DiNi, for example:

The default for GNSS data is the result of processing the baselines.  These results are reported at the conclusion of the processing in the Baseline Processing Report:

These default settings can be changed by selecting a different source from the drop-down menu:

The Project Settings options can be set in the corresponding sub-header.  For example, if you set the Total Station source for standard errors to Project Settings, click on the Total Station sub-header to manually set the errors to use in the adjustment.

Now, armed with the knowledge of where the Network Adjustment routine takes it initial error estimates, adjust your network confidently!


Trimble Business Center - Field to Finish with Confidence

The Surface Cut-Fill Map visualization can be used for comparing surfaces, reference elevations, and in conjunction with the Earthwork Report volume computations, but did you know the Cut-Fill Map can be used to stake cut and fills in the field?  Here’s how:

With a reference or initial surface and final surface in your TBC project, select the Cut/Fill Map command in the Surfaces tab.

In this example, the initial surface is a reference surface at a fixed elevation - 1695m - and a finish grade surface model of a simple two-lane corridor with shoulder and sidewalk on both sides.  Be sure that the shade map and label grid are checked to be created.  Select an appropriate grid spacing. 1m interval is selected in the above example.

Executing the command creates the Cut/Fill Surface as well as a 1m by 1m grid, as shown below:

Turn the Cut/Fill Map surface off in the View Filter Manager, leaving the grid only.

Note that the grid consists of a color, denoting cut/fill; a tick mark at the point location; and a label showing the elevation cut/fill value:


In the Edit tab, select the Explode command and select the Cut/Fill grid.  Exploding results in creating a CAD point for each grid point.  Turn the Cut/Fill map grid layer off (which is Layer 0 in this example) for an isolate view of only the CAD points.


Selecting a single CAD point property reveals that the color, layer, and grid coordinate exist for each.  

Note that the grid elevation is the delta between the initial and final surfaces.  A positive elevation is fill, a negative elevation is cut.  These points can either be exported to a CSV or DXF for use in Trimble Access field software for staking, useful to denote areas of pavement, for example, that need to be milled.


When working with raw level data, such as a *.DAT from the Trimble DiNi, you can use the Level Editor within TBC to manage run, manually key-in run data booked in the field, adjust the elevation data, and more.

One of the useful functions of the Level Editor are the yellow circular notifications displayed to the right of the PointID number:

These “sunny” notifications appear when the same PointID occurs in the same level run multiple times, the same PointID occurs in multiple runs, or a combination of both.  This alert draws your attention so that you can confirm that indeed, there are multiple instances of the same point with your leveling routine.

In this example, the notification is on point 1 not because it is used as the initial backsight and the final foresight in Run 1, but because point 1 is also the initial backsight for Run 2A.  Click on the Run - 2A tab and point 1 is included and flagged there as well.

One more tip, the notification does not appear when the Create checkbox is not selected.  Once you complete your editing and click OK to close the Level Editor, those points with unchecked Create boxes will not be created in the TBC project.  So, no need to notify of duplicate points within the same run or across multiple runs when TBC doesn’t create the points.  Turning or intermediate points, for example, might not be needed in the TBC project.

If you uncheck the Create box for point 1 in Run 2A, the sun “sets” for point 1 in both Run 2A and Run 1, but since it is the same point, point 1 will not be created in Run 1 either.


If you’d like to have individual control of each point 1’s creation, click in the 1 in one of the runs and rename it.  TBC reads now two separate points.  Renamed to 1 to 1a in Run 1 - no more notification:

Check back next week for more terrible puns while learning more about TBC!

February TBC Power Hour Announcement - BIM for Land Surveyors - on February 28th
BIM - Building Information Modeling - is not just a long-established buzzword for construction professionals, it is a viable and productive workflow that promotes collaboration, transparency, and efficiency throughout a project’s entire lifecycle. Join us to learn how to leverage actionable BIM processes in TBC and other Trimble software applications in this month’s TBC Power Hour - BIM for Land Surveyors.

Last Chance to apply for the first TBC Power Week - Applications accepted through today, February 5th.


The TBC Power Week is for all TBC users who are looking to increase their knowledge and productivity with TBC. Trimble customers and distributors alike are encouraged to apply!


Application Timeline

The application deadline is Feb 5, 2018. We will notify the selected participants shortly after that date, leaving a month for you to arrange and prepare for travel. If you don’t get a chance to participate in person, we will make an effort to follow-up with you so you can be considered for future events.


Application Process

To apply, fill out the Google Form at the bottom of this post by Feb 5, 2018. Register today, space is limited to 20 participants.


TBC Power Week Objectives

· Improve your understanding of TBC and related workflows

· Gain valuable insights that you can apply to your business

· Influence the future of TBC product development

· Become a TBC Power User



· Day 1: Working with Survey Data: Field data review, QA/QC, working with level, total station and GNSS data, traversing, network adjustment

· Day 2: Drafting and Deliverable creation: CAD workflows, feature coding, template setup, sheet creation and plotting

· Day 3: Surface, Corridors and Interoperability: terrain modelling and surface editing, working with alignments and corridors, data exchange best practices

· Day 4: Individual Assessment and Discussion: Specific individual tasks, TBC future directions and enhancements, and a certificate ceremony

· Day 5: Optional additional discussions with TBC team members or for group meetings


TBC Power Week Cost

The participants will be responsible for their own cost of travel to Westminster and hotel accommodations. We understand that you will have to take time away from your work schedules and appreciate your investment. The event costs, including materials, facility, all lunches and two evening events, are covered by Trimble.

Take your ortho plan view images and surface models further by “draping” the image on a surface.  This provides texture and is a great visualization tool!  Here’s how…

We’ll work with only a surface and a plan view image.  The surface can be generated from linework, points, point cloud, anything.  The plan view image could be an orthomosaic from photogrammetry or a georeferenced image.

In the Plan View on the left, you’ll see the ortho image, on the right, you’ll see the surface model, Topo Surface, in 3D, in a lovely shade of triangulated gray.

(Note in red how each view can have its own View Filter - My Filter and My Filter - Copy - set to view different layers and objects in each layer, maybe a future Tip of the Week?)

Let’s add more detail to the surface by adding the ortho image as a surface member, effectively draping the image on the surface.  In the Surfaces tab, select the Surface Members command.  With the intended surface selected in the Surface drop-down box (Topo Surface in this case), click in the Selected: 0 text box under the Member to add or remove:

Then click on the image you wish to drape.  You may have to select the image in the Project Explorer > Imported Files.  The Selection number will change to 1.  

Then, click the Add button.  After an automatic project recomputation, the surface will be updated with the imagery added:

A closer look…




Pretty cool, huh?  Visual contours better now, extract geometry from the surface more clearly, and impress your clients.

TBC can create highly-customizable plan sets as a CAD communication and deliverable tool.  The frame or “window” into the model space is the Dynaview object.  The Dynaview frame is defined by any closed figure geometry - like a rectangle, circle, or polygon.  This geometry is created separately from the Dynaview object and has its own set of properties - like color, line style, and… visibility.  By turning the visibility off, the Dynaview cleanly and seamlessly sits in your plan view sheet.  Here’s how to do it:

Find the area that you wish to include in your plan sheet.

Then, launch the CAD command to define the closed figure that you wish to use as your Dynaview boundary.  In this example, we’ll use the Create Polygon command.  In the Layer drop-down menu, select <<New Layer>>.

In the Layer Manager, create a No_Show (or any distinguishing name) layer and click OK.  The polygon is assigned to the No_Show layer.


Back in the Create Polygon command, click OK, then you’ll be prompted to draft the polygon.  Complete the polygon to encompass the area of interest to show in the plan view.

Then, launch the Create Dynaview command.  Name the Dynaview if you wish and assign a layer for the Dynaview.  Be sure to assign the Dynaview to a layer different from the No_Show layer.  Click in the Frame text window so the cursor is blinking in the box, then pick your polygon in plan view.  This defines the Dynaview.

Modify and note the Dynaview’s View Filter.  In this example, we’ll use the My Filter.  This will come into workflow later...

With a drafting template inserted into the project from the Drafting Template command or your own custom template, now it’s time to insert the Dynaview on the plan sheet.  In the Project Explorer, right-click on the Plan sheet set and select Create Custom Sheet.  

Name the plan sheet as you wish, Sheet 1 is used in this example, and click OK.  Then, right-click on the newly created plan sheet in Project Explorer and select New Sheet View.

This launches a new paper-space view of the sheet.  It is time to insert the Dynaview.  Click in the Location text box back in the Create Dynaview command so the cursor is blinking.  Then, move the cursor into the plan sheet and you’ll see a preview of the scale and size of the Dynaview.  Adjust the scale as needed.  For this example, 10 scale fits better than the default 50 scale.  Click in the plan sheet to insert the Dynaview.


Specify any desired rotation of the Dynaview and click the Create button.  Notice how the Dynaview frame shows.  

If you wish to turn the frame off, open the View Filter Manager and make sure the active View Filter is the same View Filter used by the Dynaview.  Find the No_Show layer in the Layer header and uncheck its visibility box.  

TBC automatically updates and the Dynaview polygon frame will not display leaving a clean Dynaview!

Tip of the Week #24 - Label Style Previews (Joe, published 1/19/2018)

Use the Label Style Manager to set-up labels for lines, arcs, points, and polygons with applicable properties like length, azimuth, slope, tangent chord length, elevation, area, and perimeter.  With all these options, the Label Style Manager has a Preview Window to show you how your label will look in Plan View.  But, did you know that the Preview Window in the Label Style Manager is interactive?        

With your cursor inside the Preview Window, scroll up to zoom in to text and press and hold the scroll wheel to pan.  You’ll be able to see the text label much better!

If you click on a line of the label text, for example the 787.400 ft, the Label Properties to the right changes label type settings.

In this example, 787.400 ft represents the Arc Radius of the arc.  Change the properties below and the Preview Window automatically updates, like setting the Precision to 0.1:

You could also enter a prefix in the Prefix text box, like R =, to delineate what the value represents.  The Preview Window automatically updates!  This interactivity helps you understand what label types are included in a setting and makes editing more efficient.  When you’re finished completing the style setup, click OK to save, and utilize the respective labelling command for your application - either Label Points, Label Lines, or Label Polylines.  TBC can also insert leader lines, but that’s a topic for another Tip of the Week...