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All Places > Trimble Business Center Group > Blog > 2018 > June

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, geometry nerds of all varieties! A short and sweet one for you this week folks.


If you would like to follow along at home, the data I will be using (which is an excellent dataset for practicing network adjustment routines) and detailed information/instructions can be found on the page TBC Tutorials. Use the “download link…” for Adjusting the Network under the section Performing common workflows to download this data as well as an instructional PDF for the network adjustments tutorial. Might I also take this opportunity to promote the fabulous help documentation in TBC, it can be accessed any time by pressing the F1 key, I find myself referring to it often.


In the Adjust Network command, when working with data of varying qualities or precisions, it is often useful to be able to adjust the standard errors associated with your measurements. In TBC the default setting is to have the components broken down into horizontal and height standard errors.


A nifty trick to add to the toolbelt for any geometry aficionado is about to be exposed. If you know about this already, congratulations! You’ve spent some time digging through the project settings and have discovered one of the many gems of TBC.


Go to project settings, this can be accessed through the quick access toolbar at the top of the TBC window, or from the top of the Adjust Network command pane.


Under Units > Coordinate, for Expand horizontal standard errors: Select “Yes”.

(Please excuse my display order set to Northing, Easting, Elevation if you’re a type that follows the Easting, Northing, Elevation convention, I like to stand out.)


Click Ok to close the project settings menu.


Notice now that the individual North and East standard error components can be adjusted to really dial in your network adjustment and achieve the best results to match your local conditions.


It is important to note, the check boxes associated with each point must be checked for the entered values to be used in the adjustment.


“The larger the value you enter, the more freedom the adjustment will have to move the adjusted position away from the control coordinate and the larger the error ellipses will be for fixed and propagated points.” -TBC help documentation


And there you have it folks! Hopefully you’ve been inspired today to open up an old project and see if you can squeeze a bit more improvement from those residuals. I know I have!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Happy Monday fellow TBC’ers! If you’re reading this on a different day of the week, happy (insert that day here)! This week’s Tip of the Week will be investigating “Ortho Snap Modes”. Ortho Snap Modes enable you to draw polylines horizontal and vertical with respect to grid coordinates, and easily draw polylines orthogonal to other polylines. To select these options, left click the Snap button on the bottom right side of the TBC window in the Status Bar.



Select the second tab, Ortho Snaps.

The default mode is Off, this enables the curser to move freely in any direction and is not locked to any axis. The “Snap Mode Description” section gives information about each of the options, these are what I will go through.

The second mode, Ortho, restricts the curser to horizontal and vertical positions. It is a huge time saver when doing edits to plan templates or drawing geometric features; given those features are aligned horizontally/vertically (read on for working with features not aligned horizontally/vertically). There are two other ways to toggle Ortho mode. The first, by left clicking “Toggle ortho snap mode” in the Status Bar.


This button, represented by a right angle, is displayed highlighted blue when Ortho mode is active, and grey as above when Ortho Snap Modes is Off.

And the second, by holding down Shift on the keyboard. In fact, while holding the shift key the “Toggle ortho snap mode” button turns blue to indicate that Ortho mode is active. Give it a try now! Neat hey?

With Ortho mode turned on, either by selecting it in the Ortho Snap Modes menu or by holding the Shift Key while drawing polylines, the curser can be snapped to other lines to set the endpoint of the line being drawn to align with the snapped vertices. This can be done with any feature you can snap to.

The two horizontal lines are now the same length and the left sides line up vertically.

The third option in “Ortho Snap Modes” is Ortho Tracking. This option locks the cursor to the horizontal/vertical axis when the cursor approaches the axis without the need to use the Shift Key. If working with non-horizontal/non-vertical features, this mode will also lock orthogonally from a previously drawn line segment.

The X drawn through the cursor indicates that the position is currently locked to an alignment, removing any guesswork as to if it is currently locked. With Ortho Tracking enabled, geometric features can be drawn giving the ability to quickly and easily draft unmeasured corners on geometric objects.

When Ortho Tracking mode is selected, holding the shift key returns TBC to Ortho mode, to ensure you can easily snap line lengths when drawing polylines.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks’ Tip of the Week!

TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

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.