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2020
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.

 

Brief:

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. 

 

CSV to FXL:

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.

 

GREAT! WE'RE STARTING TO GET SOMEWHERE.

 

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.

 

FINALLY A WORKFLOW:

  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.