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Trimble Business Center Group

184 posts
Joe Blecha

TBC Power Hour Vault

Posted by Joe Blecha Nov 25, 2020



DJI + Trimble Better Together - Base stations, Phantom 4 RTK, + More

DJI, a global leader in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for survey applications, and Trimble, a global leader in survey and mapping solutions, have partnered to offer our customer bases seamless aerial surveying workflows. Join this webinar as we highlight how to use Trimble GNSS hardware for corrections to DJI flight missions and Trimble Business Center to process, deliver, and integrate survey-grade point clouds and orthomosaics from the DJI Phantom 4 RTK UAV.

Attendees will learn:

  • Setup and connect their Trimble GNSS base receivers to use as local correction sources for their DJI flights
  • Utilize the DJI Phantom 4 RTK UAV in field for their aerial survey projects
  • Import and process DJI Phantom 4 RTK UAV data directly into Trimble Business Center v5.40
  • Create and integrate deliverables from DJI Phantom 4 RTK UAV with their survey data in Trimble Business Center

Date: Thursday, December 17



Previous Power Hour Recordings

Here are links to recordings of the TBC Power Hour sessions:



2018 Oct - Autodesk Interoperability and TBC Feature Coding

2020 June - Utilize CAD Command Line to Maximize Productivity

Construction Data

2017 Apr - TBC for Machine Control

2019 June - Site Modeling in TBC

2020 Feb - WorksManager Integration in TBC

            2020 Sept - Using TBC and WorksManager/WorksOS to create the Landfill Solution

            2020 Oct - Using Machine Data to Create a Subsurface As-Built


2016 Nov - Trimble SX10 Roading and Corridor Workflows using Trimble Access and TBC

2018 Apr - WYDOT Presents Roading Workflows in TBC

2019 July - Corridor Modeling in TBC

2019 Dec - Vectorized PDF - Importing PDF Based Section Conversion

Data Prep

            2020 Aug - Working with the Create Vertical Design Tool in TBC


2016 Feb - Efficiently Create Survey Drafting Deliverables

2016 June - Advanced Drafting Workflows


2016 July - Efficient As-Staked Workflows using TBC and Trimble Access

2016 Aug - Utilizing Trimble Access Pipelines Module and TBC to Streamline Pipeline Workflows

2017 Feb - Data Traceability Using Customized Reporting

2017 Mar - Streamlining Workflows Using Templates, Styles, and Libraries

2017 June - Field to Finish with Confidence

2017 Dec - The TBC Team... Live! Part 1

2018 Mar - COGO Routines in TBC

2018 Dec - The TBC Team... Live! Part 2

2019 Mar - TBC Cutting Plane Workflows

2019 Aug - Working with Trimble's Coordinate System Manager

2019 Sept - IFC Workflows in TBC and Trimble Access

2019 Dec - TBC Team Live

2020 Jan - ML Macro Capabilities

2020 Feb - Augmented Reality Workflows with SiteVision

2020 May - Quantm

2020 June - Macro Solutions

2020 July - Working in the Real World - Cambodia Project


2015 Sept - Survey Feature Coding and Attribution

2015 Nov - How to seamlessly integrate Survey data with GIS data

           2020 Aug - TBC GIS Module: Where Surveying and GIS Intertwine

Mobile Mapping

2019 Feb - MX9 Mobile Mapping Workflows in TBC 

2020 Jan - New v5.20 Mobile Mapping Features


2016 Dec - UAS Processing using new TBC/UASMaster Workflows

2017 May - Enhance Your Deliverables Using Trimble VISION and TBC

2018 Aug - Processing Delair UX11 Aerial Data in TBC

2020 Mar - Processing WingtraOne Drone Imagery

2020 April - Data Processing with Trimble Stratus

Point Clouds

2015 Dec - Trimble V10 Point Clouds From Pictures: Data Capture and Processing Demonstration

2016 Oct - Topographic Map Creation Using Trimble SX10

2018 Jan - Working with Point Clouds in TBC

2019 Jan - Using SX10 and Sonarmite Data Together in TBC

2019 Apr - Scanning Workflows in TBC for Street Topo and Structural Facades

2019 Oct - Introducing the X7 Scanning Solution with TBC

2019 Nov - Visualizing Point Clouds Online with Trimble Clarity

2020 July - Point Cloud Scale Factors - When Theory Meets Practice in TBC

2020 Nov - Virtual Surveying with Scanning Data - A Case Study of an Intersection


2015 Aug - Volumetric Computation Workflows

2018 June - Going Vertical in TBC... with Projected Surfaces


2015 Oct - How to integrate total station, level, and GNSS data

2016 Jan - Working with Level Data

2016 Mar - Integrating RTK, Total Station, Level and User Entered Data

2016 Apr - Working with Total Station Data

2016 May - Network Adjustment Workflows and Best Practices

2016 Sept - Baseline Processing Workflows

2017 Jan - New TBC Tools For Cadastral Survey Workflows

2017 July - Defining + Working with Grid + Ground Coordinates

2017 Aug - Traverse Adjustment vs. Network Adjustment

2017 Oct - Legal Description Writer and Map Closures in TBC

2017 Nov - Site Calibrations and Local Site Settings

2018 Feb - BIM for Land Surveyors

2018 July - TBC Cadastral Workflows: Re-establishing Corners, Ground Labeling, Survey Plats, + More

2018 Sept - Office to Field Workflows using Trimble Sync Manager

2018 Nov - Three Survey Construction Workflows in TBC v5.00

2019 May - Relative Positional Precisions

(TBC’s Network Adjustment + NSPS/ALTA Allowable Relative Tolerance Report)

2020 Mar - Find and Correct Common Field Data Errors

2020 Apr - NGS 2022 Spatial Reference Framework Modernization

2020 Sep - Utilizing TBC Level Editor - Features, Functions, Workflows

2020 Oct - Combined Network Adjustments with Multi-Sensor Data


2018 May - Going Underground in TBC... with Tunnels

2020 May - Tunneling Workflows


Do you have a suggestion for a TBC Power Hour topic? Do you want your favorite TBC personalities to break down a specific topic or workflow in TBC? Comment below!

Good morning TBC’ers! If you are using a laptop computer with both an integrated (on-board) graphics card (for example, Intel) and a discrete graphics card (for example, NVIDIA) enabled, have you ever noticed TBC freezing when you are working with points clouds? Well, to avoid this problem, you must select to disable the integrated graphics card and use only the discrete graphics card when working with scan registration


To disable the integrated graphics card within your computer follow these steps:


1. Open your Windows Control Panel, select BitLocker Drive Encryption (you can use the search bar and search BitLocker if you do not immediately see it), and select to Suspend protection-- if it is turned on. This is required to make the BIOS (Basic Input/ Output system) change required to disable the integrated graphics card.


2. Restart your laptop computer and select to enter the BIOS setup utility as soon as the first image displays (prior to Windows launching) by pressing the appropriate shortcut key (for example, F1, F2, F10, ESC, or DEL). The BIOS shortcut is typically displayed briefly on the screen during startup.


I have Windows 10 on my laptop, so the BIOS setup utility will look something like this:


3. Once in the BIOS setup utility, navigate to the location of the graphics card control and use the appropriate method to disable the integrated graphics card. The method for doing this will vary depending on the BIOS setup utility. You can search the Internet for specific instructions.


For example, for a Dell laptop implementing NVidia Optimus technology, you would select Settings > Video > Switchable Graphics in the BIOS setup utility, and then uncheck the Enable Switchable Graphics checkbox.


4. Save changes and exit the BIOS setup utility to continue computer startup.


5. If BitLocker Drive Encryption was suspended, turn it back on.


Additional Notes:

  • Your laptop computer consumes more power when using the discrete graphic card exclusively. If it is running in battery mode, you should re-enable the integrated graphics card when you are done working with scan registration. 
  • Do not use Device Manager to disable the integrated graphics card. Device Manager disables the card just for Windows, not for the entire motherboard, causing the integrated graphics card to still load first. 
  • Some laptops do not allow you to disable the integrated graphics card.


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you encounter TBC freezing when working with point clouds!

Good morning TBC’ers! If you use your own feature code library instead of the default one shipped with TBC, and you utilize that FXL in the (semi-)automatic point feature extraction workflow, you may have run into these questions: Instead of just getting the position of the feature, how do I also write the tree/pole/sign height values to the designated attribute fields? Do I need to set it up in every single project? Well, today I will be showing you how to export a Feature Extraction Attribute Map file, or an EXL (.exl) file, to solve the problems once and for all. The EXL file defines how the auto-extracted attributes are mapped to attribute fields in a feature code library. Once configured, you can export it and share it with colleagues and clients, ensuring that they can extract attributes in the same schema as you did. 



To export an EXL mapping file, follow these steps:


1. The first time the Extract Point Feature command pane is opened with your own feature code library, notice the unmapped fields on the left hand side of the mapped attributes list. To configure the attribute map, pick the attribute fields in the Select attribute drop-down list to match the attribute on the right hand side. The two-column section allows you to map a feature code attribute (left) to each of the extraction attributes (right).


2. After you have extracted your desired point features and corresponding attributes with the Extract Point Feature command, navigate to the Home Ribbon and select Export under Data Exchange:

Prior to exporting my EXL file, I automatically extracted trees and poles from my classified point cloud dataset:


3. In the Export pane, select the GIS tab, and select Feature Extraction Attribute Map (.exl) exporter in the list: 

Optionally, you can change the default name and location for the new EXL file. The default name is the same as the project name. The default location is the project folder.


4. Click Export at the bottom of the command pane:


With the EXL file exported, the EXL file can now be shared with other TBC users. The exportedEXL should have a new section appended to the end of the file as shown below (I opened my exportedEXL file using Notepad):


Now, to import the new EXL file into a new TBC project to ensure consistency when extracting points features and attributes, follow these steps:


1. Open the Project Settings from the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of your TBC window, and navigate toFeature Code Processing:


2. In the Feature extraction attribute map field, browse to theEXL that you wish to import by clicking the :


3. ClickOK in the Project Settings window to finalize the EXL import: 


Exporting a Feature Extraction Attribute Map, AKA anEXL file, can be very useful for big organizations needing to use their own feature coding library. I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with extracted point features in TBC!

The purpose of these posts is to pull apart a process and higlight a workflow in TBC, while also highlighting some significant pain points in TBC and identifying some enhancements that will help improve results.


Let's take a look at another process here where we want to work in the vertical plane in TBC.


There are a couple of cases here:

  • A site has a wall on it and it is encroaching into the title of a site and it needs to be identified how far it is onto the side across the entire boundary.
  • An old wall is shifting and it need to be seen how far out of vertical it is.
  • A building fascade needs to be drawn up.


This then needs to be presented both digitally as well as plotted on a plan.


The workflow below will look specificaly at the first two cases above, where we are trying to identify how far a wall encroaches on a site and how vertical it is. The third case is an extension of this process, and while this tear-down looks at using scan data, this work can be done with a traditional total station taking reflectorless shots to certain points, this process can be used for that application as well.


For this example an SX10 has been used to do a single scan on a tight site to capture 3 walls around an empty lot, which is then compared to the title boundary.


Spoiler alert: We can produce nice results, however we can't really do much with them.


This is a relatively simple project where are importing the scan data as a JOB file into a new TBC project and then importing the DWG..



 In this process we have colourised scans, classified regions as well as put the three main walls on individual regions.





As we need to use projected surfaces here, Planes need to be set up to project the surfaces against. A vertical plane was created against each of the walls.



NOTE: The direction of the plane will be important as to which direction Grid text will be placed in the Cut/Fill map later. It is recommended that the RED Axis line is directed into the direction where the view is taken from. If this isn't done when creating the surface, then the text will be in reverse.

This will also define the direction of "Cut / Fill" later, with Fill being out along the RED axis line and Cut being away.



Now that the Planes have been created the Projected surfaces can be generated, starting with the scan data. Normal surfaces will not work here as they are assuming a horizontal depth, hence why a projected surface is used and also why a plane is created for each face.



TIP: Use the Cutting Plane View in the plane of the surface you are looking at to use tools like Trim Surface Edge and create shapes to add to the surface as breaklines.


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Allow Projected Surfaces to be handled the same way as a normal surface for all tools. Currently there is no ability to use some tools, like Edge Breakline, on a projected surface.


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Ability to turn off the rebuilding of the surface at a global level, currnetly every surface is set to Auto and there is no global setting for how this is handled. Surfaces in this consideration is ANY surface type, so surface, projected surface, cut/fill map, contours, etc.

NOTE: The reason for this request was TBC constantly needing to recalculate all the surfaces, however this was later identified as being the Cut/Fill Grid. With that said this still a needed request and should be in the Project Preferences to be able to be saved at a template level.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Recalculate surfaces button to recalculate all surfaces without needing to work through individual surfaces one at a time.



A comparison is being made against the boundary and the scanned wall here. For this reason we need to create a surface of this line to compare the wall location with.


The boundary imported is currently 2D, and for the comparison we need to make it 3D. To do this a Copy was made of the imported boundary and it was shifted to the same point, with a 30m elevation elevation to ensure that the wall is completely covered by the boundary surface.



Once this is done you can create the individual projected surfaces for each of the boundaries using the same process as the wall scan surfaces.



BUG: Colour by height is actually colour by depth in projected surfaces as we are colouring against the change along the plane. TBC calls it Colour by height which when looking at a vertical surface doesn't make sense.


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Exaggerate a projected surface, similar to how we can do it with vertical data.



By now we have set up the project in terms of all field data collected. We have the walls in regions, the surfaces generated and our bounaries defined. From this point onwards things get a little tricky.



While for this application the tool name could be a litte different, it isn't too bad overall.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Remove the need to have two surfaces here and allow users to create a cut/fill enquiry against scan data. This would simplify this overall workflow significantly and reduce the amount of work needed in the buildup. This can be done in TRW, where a surface and scan data can be compared allowing for difference surface to be created at the end.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Look at ways to speed up this tool for applications like this, even for small surfaces it takes ages to produce the surfaces. Interestingly the Grid is produced almost instantly.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Allow the Grid to simply be produced without needing a surface to be produced. This would allow users to simply create a quick overlay against images in a station view to get a visual representation of the project.


Before running this tool for vertical applications it is recommended to look at the Project Settings and change the way TBC handles the lables and colours. The default is set up for a cut and fill approach for earthworks which doesn't really work in this application. Its personal preference as to how this is set up.


TIP: Recommend using the settings below for vertical applications to help the resulting represenation of the infomration on screen. It is important to consider the colour of the text against the shading being used in the heatmap.



BUG: Every time this menu is opened the shading cut colour reverts to 237, 28,36 even if something else is saved previously.


NOTE: This is where the plane direction will come into play in terms of how colours are appled, the direction of the lables and also what is defined as cut and fill.


When creating the Cut/Fill Map we select the corresponding boundary surface as the initial and then the scan surface as the final, in the setup it is recommended to make sure that the grid labels for each surface are put on their own layer so they can be turned on and off independently.


TIP: ENSURE that the grid is placed on its own layer, and turn it off as soon as a Cut/Fill map is generated.

Trust me, it will save you time and frustration in the long run here.


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Once a Cut/Fill Map has been created, TBC cycles through loading graphics for Plan view and 3D after any function or change is made. This is increadibly annoying after a while making the software hard to work with.

This seems to be associated with the Cut/Fill map grids, as if you turn them off it doesn't to all surfaces in the view, however there is still an issue where it cycles through loading graphics for Plan and 3D view which is a pain.


Once a Cut/Fill map has been made its worthwhile making sure that the colour mapping is appropriate to the needs of the project.


TIP: Use a bold style for the Text style for the the Grid lables as the values will come out better. Also use a contrasting text colour against the heatmap colour.




So now we have a project in TBC ready for exporting out.

What next?



This is a bit of a problem. Essentially we are left wtih the data in TBC unable to export most of the vibrancy of what has been created out to another package.


At the moment the answer is it can't really be done other than taking screenshots in TBC.


BUG: exporting a projected surface flips the vertical orientation so it lays horizonal to the ground.

BUG: Plotting cannot be done from dynaviews in a vertical plane, the dynaview can be created however it doesn't plot anything inside the view.

BUG: Weird one, but exporting a Cut/Fill map (for whatever reason) assumes that it is horizontal not vertical, so it flips the orientation to its side. Other projected surfaces seem to export ok.

BUG: Cut/Fill map legends can't be created for a Projected Surface, they aren't able to be selected and can't be placed in plan, 3D view or a cutting plane view.


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Ability to export rectified images with overlays of other information in a project. Rectified images can't be exported with an overlay such as the grid and the only way to capture this information is a screenshot.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Ability to export the Grid from TBC. Currently the cut/fill grid can't be exported, so it can't be used in anoter package for viewing or use against other information.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Similar to TRW it would be good to get a slice through process of two surfaces. This tool should have the option to produce the result TRW does which maps the difference between the two surfaces as well as an option to show the pure difference so users can see how both surfaces map against each other, the case being if there is a kink in the title and a kink in the wall, TRW makes one wall look constant and straight however in reality you want to see the position and different of both like a horizontal cutting plane view.

This could be handled as simply creating slices of a cutting plane view at set intervals and putting them out to CAD. The goal being to represent the data to a customer easily showing the differences between different lines.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Better output reports for projected surfaces. A good example would be the Cut/Fill map with the grid overlay and the legend showing as a simple export.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Ability to apply photos to surfaces as a shading style, the reason here being it would enhance the surface and grid overlay information.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Show surface colours in cutting plane views.



I am sure there are a lot of other exports to consider and options here, however as a starting point these would be needed to produce vibrant and useful information from TBC.

Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever imported a large point cloud dataset and wished you could simplify your graphic view and focus on just your area of interest? Well, today I will be showing you the Set Limit Box command. The Set Limit Box command displays a customizable planar box in the Plan View or 3D View to select scan points or other objects that you want to view; all objects outside of the box are no longer displayed in the graphic view. You’re able to specify the size, shape, location, and orientation of the limit box using either the Set Limit Box command pane, OR the controls displayed with the limit box in the graphic view. Limit boxes are helpful in hiding extraneous objects in the project, and providing focus only in the area of  interest (i.e. a single floor in a multi-floor building).


Although you can display only a single limit box at a time in the Plan View or 3D View, you can create multiple limit boxes with names that you can select to reuse when necessary.


To utilize the Set Limit Box command, follow these steps:


1. Navigate to the Point Clouds Ribbon, and select Limit Box under View:


At the same time the Set Limit Box command displays, a default limit box appears in the selected view. The first time the limit box is activated in a view, it defaults to including all of the objects displayed in the graphic view:


2. In the Set Limit Box command pane, enter in a name in the Name field if you plan to save the limit box to reuse:


3. To change the limit box, complete the edit fields as necessary in the Set Limit Box command pane:

         A. Plan View: Specify the box outline color, origin, length/ width/ height, and Z-axis rotation

         B. 3D View: Specify box outline color, elevation, origin, length/ width/ height, and X/ Y/ Z-axis rotation


Optionally, use the controls displayed with the limit box in the graphic view to change it:


Plan View

Use click + drag to do the following:

  • Move grip (1): Move the limit box in any direction
  • Axis grips (2 & 3): Move the limit box north/ south or east/ west. Or, change the Z-axis rotation of the limit box
  • Planar grips (4): Change the width (green markers) or length (blue markers) of the limit box. The origin points changes accordingly
  • Vertex grips (5): Change the size of the limit box while maintaining the same width/ length ratio. Or, press the Ctrl key when using these grips to make sizing changes without maintaining the same width/ length ratio


3D View

Use click + drag to do the following:

  • Move grip (1): Move the limit box in any direction
  • Axis grips (2 &3): Move the limit box north/ south or east/ west. Or, change the X-, Y-, and Z-axis rotation of the limit box 
  • Planar grips (4): Change the width (green markers), length (blue markers), or height (red markers) of the limit box. The origin point changes accordingly 
  • Vertex grips (5): Change the size of the limit box while maintaining the same width/ length/ height ratio. Or, press the Ctrl key when using these grips to make sizing changes without maintaining the same width/ length/ height ratio


4. Optionally, use the check boxes in the Set Limit Box command pane to display or hide the various limit box controls in the graphic view:


5. Optionally, click any of the following buttons in the Set Limit Box command pane:

         A.Reset Axis Rotations: Reset the current axis position back to zero

         B.Fit to View: Refit the limit box to the view (AKA include all objects)

         C.Create: Save the newly edited limit box so you can reuse it when necessary. Be sure you have first entered an          appropriate new name in the Name field. The saved limit box can be selected to use in the Active Limit Box          drop-down list in the TBC ribbon

         D.Activate/ Deactivate: Activate or deactivate the currently displayed limit box 


Note: You can use an active limit box to create a region by selecting the content of the limit box in the graphic view (drag a selection box around it) and select Create Point Cloud Region in Point Clouds > Region. You can also use the Rectangle Select or Polygon Select tool to create a point cloud region with the limit box.


Here is my limit box in the 3D View that focuses just on the church in my point cloud dataset after hitting Close in the Set Limit Box command plane:


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with point clouds in TBC!

Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to extract grid points from a scanned road along an alignment so the points can be staked out later on? Well, today I will be demonstrating the Create a Surface Elevation Grid command. The Create a Surface Elevation Grid command simply creates a grid that labels the elevation of a surface; the labels can be generated along an alignment. Surface elevation grids can be used in conjunction with contour lines to highlight changes in terrain.


To utilize the Create a Surface Elevation Grid command, follow these steps:


1. Make sure you have created a surface from your road scan, along with an alignment to represent the centerline of the road, prior to opening the Create a Surface Elevation Grid command: 


2. To associate the alignment to the surface, open the Properties Pane of your surface. In the Horizontal alignment box, select your road alignment from the list:


3. Navigate to the Surfaces Ribbon, and select Elevation Grid under Create:


4. Select the surface on which the grid will be based in the Surface list:


5. Select the layer on which you want the grid to reside in the Layer box, or select <<New Layer>> to create a new layer for the grid:


6. Select a style that controls for the text font, font style, justification, and size for the grid annotations in the Text style box, or select <<New style>> to define a new text style:


7. In the Grid spacing box, type a value for the uniform interval at which the grid lines or tick marks for the measurements will be spaced:


Note: The intervals of the grid spacing will be in the same units that your project units are set to in Project Settings.


8. Select an option for how the location of each measurement will be denoted in the Grid style box:


9. Select the number of decimals to use in the measurement in the Decimal precision list:


In this demonstration, I have set the number of decimals to be displayed to 0.1. 


10. Click OK:


The elevation grid is created along the alignment with a spacing of 2.5 meters. The elevation grid appears in graphic views and the Project Explorer


Here is my elevation grid with the Grid style set to ticks:


Additional properties, such as the grid’s insertion point, rotation, colors, and grid spacing can be set in the Properties pane. To adjust the grid spacing along the alignment, select the elevation grid to open its properties, then enter in a value in the Grid spacing (along alignment) box. For this demonstration, I entered in a value of 10 meters:


The grid spacing along the alignment is then updated in the graphical view to 10 meters:


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with surfaces and alignments in TBC!

Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever extracted classified point cloud regions in TBC but noticed an object that was classified incorrectly and wished you could manually add the object to the correct region?  Well, today I will be demonstrating the Add to Point Cloud Region command. The Add to Point Cloud Region command dissociates selected scan points from their existing point cloud region and associates them with a different region.


To access the Add to Point Cloud Region command, follow the steps:


1. Automatically classify your imported point cloud with the Extract Classified Point Cloud Regions command; the Extract Classified Point Cloud Regions command is found in the Point Clouds Ribbon under Regions:

In my classification, I noticed a pole was misclassified as a tree (poles & signs are defaulted to red, and high vegetation is defaulted to green): 


2. Navigate to the Point Cloud Ribbon, and select Add to Region under Regions:

3. In the Add to region drop-down list, select the point cloud region to which you want to add scan points:

In this demonstration, I want to add the misclassified pole to thePoles and Signs region, and remove it from the High Vegetation region.


4. Click in the Scan points to add field, then, in a graphic view, select the scan points you want to add to the selected point cloud region. Depending on the type of selection you want to make, select either the Rectangle Select or Polygon Select command in the Status Bar at the very bottom of your TBC window:

Note: Utilizing the View Filter Manager is very helpful here as we can turn off the Building and Ground regions to make a more accurate point cloud selection:


5. Click the Add button:

The selected points are removed from their previous point cloud region and added to the selected point cloud region:


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with point clouds in TBC!

Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to measure the clearance from a cross-over bridge down to a road surface to ensure heavy duty trucks can pass through the road? Well, today I will be demonstrating the Measure Vertical Clearance command. The Measure Vertical Clearance command allows you to select a point or CAD object and automatically compute the distance (clearance) between the selection and either the top or bottom of the point cloud at that location. You can then optionally save the distance as a Stored Measurement in the project. 


To access the Measure Vertical Clearance command, follow these steps:


1. Navigate to the Point Clouds ribbon, and select Measure Vertical Clearance under Measure:

2. In the Measurement direction list, select the direction for which you want to measure the clearance: 

Your selection determines whether the distance is measured upward or downward vertically through the point cloud to the most extreme scan point at that location. In this demonstration, I measured the clearance down from a cross-over bridge down to a road surface. 


3. Click in the Point or CAD object selection field and then, in a graphic view, select the point or CAD object form which you want to measure the clearance:

In this demonstration, I selected a point in the graphic view. The results of the measurement are displayed in the Results section:

The measured distance is also displayed in the graphic view:

4. Optionally, click the Save button to save the measurement in your project and display it nested beneath the Stored Measurements node in the Project Explorer

You can double click a measurement in the Project Explorer to view and/ or edit its properties (including its name) in the Properties pane.


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with point clouds in TBC!

Think about it, the capabilities of positioning a job and creating some reference scans with an SX10, then filling in the detail with the speed and efficiency of an X7. Both instruments working in unison with one another so when the data comes into TBC it is quickly combined and off you go.


Lets look at two cases here which should be fairly standard workflows where this could be used:

- RURAL: Road project where cracks in the bitumen are filled with bitumen which aren't adequately picked up with the SX10 but can be with an X7. Along with this due to the terrain and ease not all scan stations will leveled during pickup against the internal compensater for the X7.

The road has not been closed off during scanning meaning each site where the bitumen has been used to fill cannot be identified as pickup with the SX10, time constraints mean that the SX10 can't used a sole scanner, and positioning requirements mean the X7 can't be used as the sole scanner.

A project like this is used as an example at the end of this post.


- URBAN: Urban pickup including an entire multi-level car park, internals and externals, along with the surrounding area.

Again the area has not been closed off during scanning, however there was some field pickup done with the SX10 this time, time constraints mean that the SX10 can't used a sole scanner due to the number of setups needed, and positioning requirements mean the X7 can't be used as the sole scanner.


On paper this process works and is quite elegant, however in reality there are some large loopholes that we can get caught in when it comes to processing the data in TBC which should be considered so a successful outcome can be achieved. Along with this there are some issues with some of the processes in TBC meaning the full solution can be a little broken at times.


While as a whole the overall process is important, it should be noted the steps in bold below as there are some parts that can potentially have issues in this process:

Project Setup

Import Control (SX10)

Import Additional Data (X7)


Classify Regions

Process data



Set up project.

  • For projects on datum scale factors will be used, as a result needs to be considered here.
  • For Scale only projects, use a Blank project where a factor of 1 is set as the default.
    • This can be where custom scale factors can be set up too if needed.


This step is going to be important when considering what happens to the data on import especially with regards to scale factors.




Import control / GPS data first if it exists.

  • Make sure that control is set first, if there is no additional control specifications used this step can be ignored.

Import the SX10 and merge with existing control if needed.

  • This is associated with the control import in that we are concerned with the network coming in to set the correct location in TBC.

Perform adjustments and ensure the control is correct if needed.


TIP: Wherever possible use the same point name for different measurements to the same point from different data sources, and use the merge or rename point data on import. This will make it easier to control where data is placed on import.


This is a standard recommended process for all TBC projects, not just scan data.


--- This next part of the process has some particular points that need to be noted to ensure a successful time handling the data in TBC ---



Import X7 / other scan data.

  • This process should be taken for imported scan data too from third party imports, especially Gridded / structured data.

NOTE: For importing data from external sources without TBC performing any changes to the data, particularly Scale, it is recommended to use the the Advanced option in the Import menu when importing the file into TBC and select Point Cloud from Unknown source. Otherwise a scale factor may be applied in the background on import.


  • TBC will import the data into the centre of the imported data.
  • This will also go great lengths to help make sure no unwanted scale factors will be applied through the shift.


BUG: Changing scan colour cannot be undone, however all other changes can be undone.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Allow X7 data to be brought in at the central coordinate system to any other imported data, especially SX10 stations. Currently the X7 data only imports central to the data if GPS points are used, otherwise data is imported at an arbitrary datum location.


This is a recommended workflow for data import in general however due to the way TBC handles scales and projections, even in blank projects with a large shift, sometimes changes to the registration can occur which is undesirable. Using this workflow will ensure that the data holds a single centroid location making shifts minimal in the process.



Pairwise registration of the X7 data to SX10 data.

  • Preferably use Pairwise Registration of the data, don’t use plane based, and where possible use more than 1 point to define the registration of the data.


NOTE: If there are leveled scans in the X7 data, be it one or many, this will force the level of the X7 data to be held constant in Plane-based and Pairwise registration.

This can be addressed by selecting all X7 scans in the Project Explorer and in the properties changing them to unleveled.

Once this is done the registration process will work. 


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Add a unlock leveling during pairwise and plane based registration option that is tuned on by default (meaning to keep the leveling in the X7 scans you physically have to turn it off), similar to the refinement process. 

Sometimes X7 data can be off and holding the level constant like this is generally pointless when registering data against SX10 data which will most likely be assumed to be correct due to the factors that have gone into registering the data in the field. This process currently doesn't make it immediately obvious that the level has been held as constant causing issues later on.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: When selecting scan stations, see if scans taken at that spot are leveled. Currently to turn off the levels of scans you need to select manually each individual scan after expanding each scan station. When using X7 data there can be 50+ scans quite easily and this is an extremely tedious and time consuming process to do it for each individual scan.

EDIT: Retrying this, this can be done already, for some reason I wasn't able to change this in the dateset state I was working with. It would be nice to see this in the project explorer, so stations with leveled scans have a slightly different symbol or something.


We need to do better at visualising data from different data sources so we can focus on one type. At the moment we handle everything as an individual scan OR as an entire point cloud. When merging datasets we need to have the ability to easily turn off subsets to be able to work with one data or another when problem solving. 


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Ability to create registration sets easily. Currently this can be done in the pairwise registration tool, however it is a bit tedious and time consuming. It would be good to just be able to select different scans and add them to a registration set.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Ability to turn on and off registration sets in the View Filter manager. Sometimes there are several scans you want to isolate. Particularly with regards to merging datasets from different instruments. It would be good to be able to turn off the X7 scans or the SX10 scans as a blanket set, or have subsets of scan groups which can be turned off at once so you can quickly just get to an area you want to focus on.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Colourise scans according to Registration sets. This would help identify better what data has come from where in instances where the data has come from different instruments.


TIP: When using Pairwise, the optimise pair registration step can be run multiple times to improve results to a point, too many times and they can start to degrade (if this happens hit undo to go back a step).


Run a refinement

  • To do a final tightening of the network and get a report out we now need to run a refinement.


BUG: Running the refinement step when there is SX10 and X7 data in the project breaks the registration of data apart for some reason returning horrible results. Running this process with just one instrument type seems to work ok, its only when we have a combination it seems to break.

BUG: Output report becomes rubbish as a result of the breaking up of the scans in this process.

BUG: The registration report is 50-50 on if the report produces percentages as a factor of 1000%, sometimes the report works correctly so XX.XX% others in the same dataset its X,XXX.XX%


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Ability to get a registration report out of pairwise or plane based steps, or some sort of report without needing to run the refinement step first. Not everyone wants to do a refinement, and as seen above this process can break up the registration of the data. In cases where we need to do this step to get the report out, if something goes wrong there is no way to check the data before running this step. Also users may want to check data quality along the way, and currently TBC doesn't have that ability.




TIP: For road pickups create a surface on the road using the point cloud and ensure that it is flat, if it looks like swiss cheese there may be two levels of data being looked at and the registration process needs to be done again.


ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: In the properties of a STATION in TBC show the scale factor that has been applied to data, especially scan data. We show the rest of the data here, and it might not be editable here as this is a project setting, however the ability to see what the scale factor is on the data is important to see that a change has been made. At the moment it is hard to get this information out...if at all.

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: Similar to SX10 data into blank projects, specify the scale factor for X7 data on import into TBC. 

ENHANCEMENT REQUEST: In the Georeference scans option handle it similar to a site calibration where users can enter specific parameters they want to see in the shift for the data, not just X,Y,Z. Also allowing users to define the centroid parameters, scale factor and location if one is desired.


Using the above workflow ensures that the same centroid is being worked off in both datasets and no scale factor will be applied. This process will also hold scale factors better in jobs where one is being used.



Run the region classification process

  • It is important this is run after the above checks to ensure everything matches up to give TBC the best chance at correctly registering the data.

TIP: The classify regions tool can be run on regions that have already been classified like the Default region to help get more data classified. Once a subsequent classification is done the data is placed in a new region, this can be added to the main region using the Add to region tool which will also remove the empty region.


This step should only be run once the data has been checked and the data is registered correctly.


NOTE: If the classification process results are weird / poor then look for separation / ghosting in the point cloud between different scans. If this happens then registration needs to be run again to tighten the point cloud.


--- This next part of the step is back to being fairly straight forward. ---



There are many ways this can be done in TBC to a multitude of levels. Multiple bug and enhancement requests have been reported in the forums.



Use one of the export processes to export the data. Multiple bug and enhancement requests have been reported in the forums. This is a specific one to the X7 workflow.


BUG: TDX format doesn't appear to export colourised scans that are colourised in TBC. If they are done in the tablet and imported colourised that way then it exports correctly. Its only if the colourisation step is done in TBC that while it views in TBC as true colour it doesn't appear to be exported as such.




The process works and CAN work well, however there are several considerations that need to be made.

  • Do standard processes where control needs to be set before importing additional data.
  • Leveled scans from the X7 have an impact on how the registration process works
  • Scan registration Refinement processes break the registration of scans when using different data sources.
  • Care needs to be taken when creating regions of the scan data, breaking the output report.




Green SX10

Yellow X7 <- Some leveled stations

TBC cannot register the two data types just from the imported data, below is as close as it gets.

Another example of this the blue is the ground from the classify regions tool. The red is a second pass of the classify regions tool on the resulting original Default layer. A clear indication that something was wrong was the miss-classification of the ground region.

The gap here is 1.3m between the two datasets.

Resulting surface - highlights the issue in another way.



Registration significantly improves across the project.

This is the result 


Running a refinement process to get a report:

Running a refinement on this breaks them apart again:

Erin Johnson

Tip #125: Create a 3D PDF

Posted by Erin Johnson Sep 25, 2020

Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to save a 3D model as a PDF for data sharing or presentation purposes? Well, today I will be demonstrating the Create 3D PDF command. The Create 3D PDF command saves your 3D model as a PDF which can then be viewed or manipulated in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader as in the 3D view, enabling you to explore your model from any computer or mobile device with 3D PDF support. 


Note: In the 3D PDF, points appear as solid black dots, and images do not appear.


To access the Create 3D PDF command, follow these steps:


1. Filter your view and set properties and layer options to ensure that your model displays all and only the objects you want in the colors and styles you want to appear in your PDF.


2. Navigate to the Drafting Ribbon and select Create 3D PDF under Print:

Alternatively, you can select the Print icon in the Quick Access toolbar and choose Create 3D PDF:

3. Type a path and file name for the exported file in the File name box, or click the Browse icon to browse for a location and specify a file name:

Note: By default, the exported file is given the name of your project.


4. Enter the User name as you want it to appear at the bottom of the PDF (4 in the final image below):

5. Enter any Description text about the model or project that you want to appear below the PDF’s 3D view (3 in the final image below):

6. In the Company Information group, enter your company name, website, email, or phone number as you want it to appear at the top of the PDF (2 & 4 in the final image below):

Note: You can leave any of the user, description, and company boxes empty.


7. To have the user and company information you entered update/ overwrite the same fields in Project Settings > General Information, leave the Modify project settings box checked:

8. To upload your company’s logo or another icon/ image and place it at the top of the PDF (1 in the final image below), leave the Include icon box checked; click the Browse button and browse to the file. A preview of the icon displays in theIcon box:

Tip: Square image files up to 512 x 512 pixels work best.


9. Click OK to create the 3D PDF. The PDF reader opens:


In the reader, the navigation gestures are different than in TBC:

  • Zoom in/ out: right-click and drag up/ down
  • Orbit (around the center of view): click and drag
  • Pan: press [Control] and click and drag


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with 3D models in TBC!

Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to export your extracted feature attributes to an external GIS software? Well, today I will be demonstrating the Export Feature Attributes command. The Export Feature Attributes command exports feature attributes from your TBC project to Excel or as a CSV spreadsheet file. Each record in the exported file includes an ID for the selected object, associated feature code, easting/ northing/ elevation coordinates (points only), and each associated attribute value.


Note: You can export feature attributes from your project only if the features have been processed. 


To access the Export Feature Attributes command, follow these steps:


1. Navigate to the GIS Ribbon, and select Export Feature Attributes under Data:

2. Click in the Objects field and select the objects whose feature attributes you want to export either in the Project Explorer or graphic view. Click the Options button for additional selection options. Regardless of your selection, only feature attributes will be exported.


In this demonstration, I extracted tree points and attributes from my point cloud.


3. Select the appropriate category of feature attributes you want to export:

         A. Points only: Only feature attributes for points included in your selection are exported. Northing, easting, and          elevation distances will be exported in the units specified in the Units > Distance in the Project Settings dialog. 

         B. All objects: Feature attributes for all objects included in your selection are exported. 


You can also choose to display column names and units by checking theInclude column names and Include units boxes:


In this demonstration, I chose to export all objects, and to display column names and units. 


4. Select either of the following options:

         A. Load data into Excel: The feature attributes will be exported to an Excel spreadsheet.

         B. Save data into CSV file: The feature attributes will be exported to a .csv file.


5. Click the Apply or OK button. Apply causes the Export Feature Attributes pane to continue to display after the export is complete. OK causes the pane to close after the export is complete. 

         A. If you selected the Load data into Excel option, an Excel spreadsheet opens showing the feature attribute data:


         B. If you selected the Save data into CSV file option, you are prompted to enter a name and location for the file:


Your CSV file will then be stored in the desired location:


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with feature coding & attributes in TBC!

If you know anyone who would be interested, feel free to pass along the link to our latest position now open in the Geospatial Support group. We are looking for an experienced Surveyor to join our team!  The position will be located in Westminster, CO or Dayton, OH.



As you may be aware, there was a bug discovered in the release of v5.32 that prohibited proper imports of total station data using the standard resection method. We now have a patch available to resolve the issue, and can be done by utilizing the check for updates routine within the product, or going to the download page here. I want to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused everyone, and appreciate your patience as we worked to provide a solution. 


Have a great weekend!

Good morning TBC’ers! Have you ever wanted to compare topo shots to an original ground surface model? Or have you needed to measure the clearance from the top of a tunnel or bottom of bridge steel to the road surface? Well, today I will be demonstrating the Points to Surface command. The Points to Surface command simply measures the difference in elevation from one or more points to a surface.


To utilize the Points to Surface command, follow these steps:


1. Navigate to the Surfaces ribbon, and select Points to Surface under View:


2. Click in the From field and then use a graphic view or the Project Explorer to select one or more points you want to measure:


3. In the To field, select the surface to which you want to measure:


4. Click theApply button at the bottom of the command pane.


Measurement information, including the delta elevation (distance from point to surface), is displayed in the Report Delta Elevations table for each selected point. Note that you can click any column header in the table to resort the rows in the table based on ascending or descending values in the column. If you make additional measurements, they are added to the table, which is cleared only when you close the Points to Surface command pane.

5. To view the measurement information in a Points to Surface Results report, select in the table the rows you want to include, or select no rows to include them all, and click the Show Report button located just above the table:


Note that the report is not stored with the project and is viewable only at this time. The report will open in an internet explorer page:

6. When you are done, click Cancel to close the Points to Surface command pane.


I hope this tip comes in handy next time you are working with surfaces in TBC! 

Hello TBC users,


Trimble Business Center v5.32 users are currently experiencing difficulties when importing all total station data in which a Standard Resection is used as a Station Setup. Data such as point clouds and total station vectors do not appear after import. Please review the attached Support Bulletin for more details. Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.