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2018

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