Compatibility with TopCon TopNet Live


#1

Currently have an account with TopCon TopNet live network RTK. Also have an account with the Oregon State ORGN Network which is also networked RTK. Would be great if Drone Deploy could access these networks through my Iphone or Android device which I use to host the Drone Deploy app.

Thank you.


#2

Interesting, could you expand? What would DroneDeploy do with the network? I manage a large fleet of survey and construction GPS equipment and am familiar with such networks, but am not quite sure what that would have to do with DroneDeploy? Maybe your drone manufacturer…


#3

Thanks for the response. I am not an expert in the field so please bare with me!

Lets take a surveyed, engineered and designed site plan ready for bid by the local contractors. Said contractors currently own TopCon base and rover package. I am familiar with the GR-5 and the Hyper V systems so I will use those for discussion. In order to get a quick overview of the site, cuts and fills etc. the contractor would setup his base over an unknown point, say a post at the corner of the site and then use his rover to find and lock on to five control points throughout the site. From there the contractor could walk the site taking topo shots at approximate intervals or attach the rover to a 4-wheeler etc and auto-topo the entire site. From there you are importing your information into Magnet or some other software to create your cut and fill map / 3D map etc.

Taking this another step further in order to minimize time spent onsite the contractors in our area can subscribe to TopNet live or the Oregon ORGN network which provides them realtime RTK networked over wifi. Granted the lag induced into network operation makes for somewhat degraded RTK data but not much. I have done testing in the past that I cannot reference to right now due to misplacement but I will concede the accuracy is a little less than having a base station setup onsite. Since we are only using this data for 3D modeling and not machine control in my opinion this is not an issue and it saves the time of setting up a base station.

Now we add drones into the mix. In my opinion setup time is about the same as a handheld rover system but time on site is extremely reduced. Sites that may have taken 2 or more hours to topo are now taking 10 minutes to fly. My knowledge of the Drone Deploy system may be lacking here so please correct me if I am wrong. Currently Drone Deploy offers some form of RTK correction but I do not believe it includes onsite base station / hardware RTK correction compatibility, only some form of software compatibility. I have heard a rumor they maybe trying to implement hardware RTK compatibility, would it not be easier for them to instead implement network RTK? Currently our smartphones provide commands from the Drone Deploy app to the drone remote and then to the drone itself. What if at the same time our networked RTK smartphone could also provide the RTK data in order to greatly improve our drone GPS accuracy? In my head this does not seem like it would be very hard to implement but I am not a software engineer! The added RTK data coupled with the current ability in Drone Deploy to lock to a control point would produce a highly accurate 3D model.

Another question which maybe a feature request is… Currently we can lock our drone data to a known control point. Is the system limited to one control point or can multiple control points be specified? Realistically you need four or more control points in order to lock down all axis of your data.

Sorry for the long post. Please share your thoughts and correct me if I have misspoken!

Jay


#4

The first part of your scenario is spot on and is standard construction survey practice nowadays. I stress construction, because a true land surveyor would never do anything other than traverse in a published benchmark (not just something on the plans) and do a full survey themselves. I applaud land surveyors (RPLS) that are picking up drones. Here’s the deal though. Your accuracy is only as good as the benchmarks that are provided. Usually this means there is something on the plans (that may or may not be there) or you have to do a little research through local entities that might have existing monumentation. If you are going to pre-bid topo you better have more than one benchmark and the 2 or 3 that you do have better work together. You’re always left wondering what was actually used to produce what you see in the plans that is most likely from 5-10 years ago. It’s not just locate what’s there and throw the drone up.

We also have a Topcon network and a TXDOT Network. In my opinion the only thing they are good for is preconstruction surveys to give you a good idea of where you are at. The idea is amazing if it were done correctly and put in position that matched any master planning of surrounding municipalities, but as of right now general layout and collecting GIS info is about the extent of its greatness. Forget machine control.

The last portion is where I think there is some misunderstanding. All things referenced to RTK in our scenario are related to the drone itself and not the service provider. RTK is on the drone and is self-sufficient, meaning that it would not even connect to an RTK network. If you think heavy equipment has a problem with RTK network, you can just imagine a drone at 20-30mph… The corrections that DroneDeploy does is a mathematical correction of the of the camera locations as reported by the GPS. Most accurately this is done with Ground Control Points which makes the scenario very similar to setting up your Hiper V base and localizing with the rover.

I hope this helps!