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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.