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Trimble Business Center Group

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'Tis the season for TBC and Autodesk (specifically Civil 3D) interoperability. Join our October TBC Power Hour to learn how the two software packages work together for you. Feature coding, attributes, and drafting will be covered. Sign up here for the live October 31st session. If you can't make it, still sign up, you'll get recording notifications and you'll be able to watch on-demand for free!

Here you'll find all TBC Tips of the Week linked and accessible for viewing (and re-viewing!):


Field Data

#4 - Spreadsheets - February 2017

#5 - Process Panorama - March 2017

#18 - Visualizing Survey Data in Google Earth - July 2017

#19 - Investigating Data with Point Derivation Reports - August 2017

#27 - "Sunny" Level Editing - February 2018

#33 - Easy *.job to *.jxl File Conversion - March 2018

#43 - New GNSS Planning Online Tool - June 2018


Adjustment & COGO

#1 - Coordinate Controls - January 2017

#9 - Bearing/Azimuth Angle Controls - May 2017

#22 - Transform Survey Points - January 2018

#29 - Sources of Default Standard Errors - February 2018

#34 - The Power of the Comp Engine and Point Derivation Report - March 2018

#47 - Network Adjustment North/East Components - June 2018

#58 - Average Points vs Merge Points Command - September 2018 


CAD & Drafting

#2 - Layer Manager - January 2017

#3 - Project Cleanup - February 2017

#6 - Using View Filters - April 2017

#15 - Using the Best-Fit Line Command to Draft Catenary Lines - June 2017

#16 - Using Selection Sets for Time Saving - June 2017

#24 - Label Style Previews - January 2018

#25 - Hiding the Dynaview Frame - January 2018

#32 - Customize Drafting Templates - March 2018

#42 - TBC Point Symbols in AutoCAD - May 2018

#44 - Locking manual edits to feature coded geometry - June 2018

#45 - Creating Arcs with Polylines - June 2018

#46 - Ortho Snap Modes - June 2018

#48 - Object Snaps - July 2018

#52 - Creating a Point On-Line Between Two 3D Points - August 2018

#56 - Smart Text in Plan Set Templates - September 2018


Surfaces & Volumes

#11 - Breakline Tolerances for Surfaces - May 2017

#26 - "Draping" Ortho Images on Surfaces - February 2018

#28 - Staking Cut/Fill Data - February 2018

#39 - Reproject Surface to a New Plane Definition - May 2018

#40 - Offsetting a Surface - May 2018

#41 - Vertical Exaggeration in 3D View - May 2018

#54 - Speed up Surface Volume Calculations - September 2018



#13 - Using the Explore Objects Command - June 2017

#30 - Re-using Road Corridor Templates - March 2018

#53 - Undefined in Corridor Template Instruction - August 2018


Data Prep

#7 - Auto-Advance - April 2017

#8 - Doing Math in TBC - May 2017

#49 - Image Georeferencing - July 2018


Specialty Solutions

#10 - Measuring Clearances - May 2017

#12 - Creating Orthorectified Image for Facade Reconstruction - Using Multiple Stations - May 2017

#17 - Quick + Clean Facade Segmentation for Orthophotos - July 2017

#23 - Maximize your PC's RAM for Improved Point Cloud Rendering - January 2018



#14 - Customized Keyboard Shortcuts, Ribbons, and the Quick Access Toolbar - June 2017

#20 - Tricks and Right-Clicks - August 2017

#21 - Tips and Zips (Importing a .zip file) - October 2017

#31 - TBC Help is Closer than You Think - March 2018

#35 - Where are all the TBC Report Settings at? - April 2018

#36 - Your New Home Page... - April 2018

#37 - Version Upgrade Eligibility - April 2018

#38 - Available License Servers - April 2018

#50 - Graphic Selection Methods - August 2018

#51 - Quick Zoom Extents - August 2018

#55 - Save Reminders - September 2018

#57 - Context Menu Customization - September 2018

#59 - Freehand (Lasso) Selection 

Come one, come all! Tip of the Week time is upon us. This weeks Tip is on a little known selection method that is shared with Trimble Realworks, the Freehand (or Lasso) Select!


We all know of the Rectangle Select, perhaps also the Polygon Select, they have their own icons in the quick access toolbar and keyboard shortcuts after all. This week’s tip sheds some light on a selection method users have a love/hate relationship with, the Freehand Select!


To use the Freehand Select, begin by choosing Polygon Select from the Quick Access Toolbar.


Once in Polygon Select mode, the Freehand Select can be started in 3 easy steps:

  1. Click and hold the left mouse button then press and hold the Alt key.
  2. Move the cursor slightly.
  3. Release the left mouse button then release the Alt key.


Again, those steps are:

Left click and hold, Press Alt and hold.


Move the cursor slightly, release the left mouse button, release the alt key.

And voila! Freehand selection.


Now you can move your mouse and draw a line with which to select objects in Plan View or 3D View. When you are done drawing a selection area, double click to make the selection, just like with Polygon Select.


Again just like Polygon Select, drawing the selection clockwise will select only objects completely contained in the selection, and drawing counter-clockwise will select all objects which are partially contained in the selection area.


By doing this I have easily cropped this tree from the point cloud! I have the point cloud colored by elevation here.


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence

Hello folks and welcome here to yet another TBC Tip of the Week! Happy Friday, Happy Monday, or Happy whichever day you happen to stumble upon this tip!


Today we will be taking a look at two similar but different commands under the CAD Ribbon, Average Points and Merge Points. Each has distinct functionality that is useful in situations with different intended outcomes.


The Average Points command computes the simple mean of all points selected — the average horizontal and vertical positions — and creates a new point with lines drawn from each of the points involved in the average. Below, we have three total station observations to the same point, and we want to take the average of these points to use as our observed point.


In the drop down for each point under Status, points can be enabled or disabled to easily filter outliers.

When it is computed:


The resulting point 100 is an arithmetic 3D mean of points 16, 17, and 18.


Now onto the Merge Points command! This one has a little more to it and is more flexible than the Average Points command so long as the points are all sideshots (not station setups). In the image below, under Filter Points by ID, are two options. Given the points are the same coordinate quality, identical will merge all points with identical ID’s. For example, if there are 4 points with ID ‘A’, and 3 points with ID ‘B’, these will be merged into two separate points A and B. Ignored will merge all points regardless of ID.


Filter Points by Distance will, you guessed it, filter points based on the distance of each selected point to the position of the specified final point.


When points being merged have different qualities ie. Control vs Survey vs Mapping vs Unknown, points can be merged with points of different qualities, however only a point of the highest quality in the selection will be used for the final point. Below, I have added a point of unknown quality using the Create Point command. TBC will merge lower quality points with higher quality, but will not merge higher quality points with lower quality. Under Selected Points, you may select which point will be the final position, and which points will be merged by checking the Included boxes. The distance each point will be moved to be merged is dynamically updated under Distance. To change the point ID of the merged point, you can enter it under Point ID.


This will merge all 4 points with point 16, and will name the resulting point 16.


There you have it! Depending on the desired outcome of your survey and your knowledge of how it was conducted, you can merge or average points to best suit your needs.


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Hello fellow TBC’ers and here we go with another Tip of the Week! I hope you’re sitting down for this one, that’s the most comfortable way to read after all :)


Minimizing the number of clicks to perform common tasks is always a high priority here at Trimble, and we have efficiency in mind. The context menu is a great example of this. The size of the context menu can be adjusted to contain the right amount of commands to suit your common workflows, whether that’s 5, 7, or 20!


This can be adjusted in the Options, accessed either under File or in the Quick Access Toolbar.


Select Context Menu, and here we can adjust the number of the most recent commands which will be included in your right-click context menu.


I have opted to use 8 commands.


And here is what it looks like with 8 commands included!


And there you have it! Another TBC Tip of the Week, let me know in the comments if you found this helpful and share something you’ve found in TBC that should be a tip!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence

Howdy folks! Happy Friday, and welcome to another TBC Tip of the Week!


Did you know a large portion of the work in TBC drafting routines can be done once and repeated in every project using templates and styles? Additionally, project specific text elements can be auto-filled with smart text. I love it when I only have to do something once!


In TBC, the first thing we do while setting up a project is ensure our company and user information is correct. All this information needs to be contained on our plans as well.


It would be pretty nifty if all these details could be automatically inserted and updated on our plan sets, wouldn’t it? Well fear not! This feature is called Smart Text. Below is a demonstration of the text inserted into my block.


And here is the text used to insert this from the project setting information.


An explanation of Smart Text controls is documented very well in the TBC help section. Which is accessed by pressing F1 and searching for ‘smart text’. Smart Text can be used to relay a wide variety of information, such as: your company name and contact information, the slope of a line, area of cut/fill, volume of cut/fill, easting, northing, elevation, and height just to scratch the surface.


Smart Text can greatly reduce the amount of manual data entry required on drafting projects, and can bring significant gains in productivity and significant reductions in frustration.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s TBC Tip of the Week, if you have suggestions for future tips, or inquiries about ways to streamline your workflow, let me know in the comments!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.



P.S. isn't a real email address, but it should be.

Good day folks! Happy Friday, we made it through another week of productivity in TBC!


Have you ever found yourself plugging away on a big project, and realize it’s been a few hours since you last saved? A power failure could have been disastrous! Sometimes all we need is a gentle reminder that saving is important.


In options, which can be accessed in two ways:


In the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of TBC.

And under File > Options.



Under General > Project Management, there is a setting for ‘Save Project’ Reminder.


This will prompt the user to save at a variety of time intervals. The prompt will look like this:


Utilizing this feature in your day to day workflows can help by giving you the gentle reminder that saving is important, and can help prevent the ever frustrating redoing of work! Have a great weekend!


TBC - From Field to Finish With Confidence

Happy September TBC’ers! This week we discuss a project setting which can greatly reduce the processing time required for volume calculations between large surfaces. Often the need for a fast rough volume arises. This is how you do that!


Here I have two (small) surfaces between which I wish to generate an Earthwork Report and calculate a volume. The green (Plan View & 3D View) surface is the Original Ground, and the purple (Plan View2 & 3D View2) surface is a gravel pile.


Go to Project Settings.


Computations > Surface. Under General, Volume computation: The default setting is Track All Triangles.


Using Track All Triangles will provide the most accurate volume for your surfaces, but is quite computationally intensive. For doing rough work, or rough volumes where time is of the essence, change this setting to Do Not Track Breaklines.


Using Do Not Track Breaklines will reduce the computation time by up to 95% in our tests. This large time savings was when using two dense surfaces created from point clouds were being used for the volume computation, such as UAS or laser scanning data. For a detailed explanation of what these settings do differently, take a look at TBC Help (accessed by pressing F1 in TBC) and search for “do not track breaklines”, or “track all triangles”.


To perform a volume calculation, generate an Earthwork Report under the reports command in the Surfaces Ribbon.


TBC - From Field to Finish With Confidence

Hello folks and welcome to the reading of another TBC Tip of the Week. Thank you to the very knowledgeable Alan Sharp for this tip, he sure knows TBC!


When modelling and creating a corridor in TBC, it is common for many templates to be used. Would you believe me if I told you most corridors can be modelled with just one? There is a trick to this! (Hint, it’s using the ‘undefined’ (?) character in template instructions)


Here I have created a corridor using an imported alignment.



I will now create a template using Corridor > Corridor > Insert Template with Begin station: 0+00.00.

Insert Corridor Template


In the Edit Corridor Template command pane, Under Offset/slope from: select 1 > HAL (HAL is my alignment name). This selects the start point for the instruction to be referenced from. Under Offset: select Table.

Edit Corridor Template - Create Instruction


Select the three ellipses to open the table.


I filled the table out as below. For the pavement of my corridor, I want a gradual change from 0’ from the alignment to 12ft from station 1+80 to 2+20. I want a 12ft width until station 3+00 where I have an intersection and want to have a gap in this template. I want the template to resume at station 3+80.

Instruction Table


I set the Slope % to -2.00% and named the instruction EOPR (Edge of Pavement Right). Click Add.


The instruction is shown on the plan (and 3D View). Notice the use of the ‘undefined’ (?) character has created a gap in the instruction in the template. This allows the input of repeating sections of a corridor quickly and easily.

End Result of Corridor Template

TBC - From Field to Finish With Confidence.

In many situations it is useful to create a point between two 3D points, with an interpolated elevation and a desired horizontal offset from one of the lines; here's how that can be done easily and efficiently!


I have two points separated by 141m horizontal, 10m vertical. In the plan view I have the point elevation displayed.


Short version:

Create Linestring between the two points. (direction matters)

On the Edit ribbon, use the break line command.

Create a point at End of line. (In Create Point drop-down)


Detailed version: 

First is to Create Linestring between the two points, starting from the point you want to set the offset distance.

I have drawn the line from point 1 to 2. After opening the Create Linestring command, you can press "Enter" to skip the first menu, and go directly to selecting the start and end points of your line. After clicking the two points, pressing "Esc" twice will exit the command.


Next, go to Edit > Lines > Break


Select the line (if it's not already), and enter the distance along the line you would like to create the new point. (This is why the direction the line was created matters) I would like my new point to be 50m from the start point.


Hit Break or press "Enter" on the keyboard.


Next, CAD > Points > Create Point (select the drop down) > End


Select the end of the broken line, and click Add or press "Enter". A point will be created here.


 If the linestrings are not desired, they can be deleted.


And there you have it! 


TBC - From Field to Finish With Confidence

Hello fellow TBC’ers! Happy friday!


Short and sweet one this week for you folks, I learned this myself recently and hopefully it soon becomes common knowledge!

When navigating the plan or 3D views in TBC, often it is useful to use the Zoom Extents command on the View ribbon, but moving the mouse to the top left corner of TBC takes just as long as zooming out using the scroll wheel. Fear not! There is a shortcut to Zoom Extents which will always be in reach.


Simply double click on the scroll wheel of your mouse, and TBC will Zoom Extents. The 3D view will maintain the angle with which you are viewing your data when you double click the scroll wheel.


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence

Joe Blecha

TBC Power Hour Vault

Posted by Joe Blecha Aug 7, 2018

Here you'll find links to recordings and tentative schedules for the TBC Power Hour sessions:



August - Volumetric Computation Workflows

September - Survey Feature Coding and Attribution

October - How to integrate total station, level, and GNSS data

November - How to seamlessly integrate Survey data with GIS data

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



January - Working with Level Data

February - Efficiently Create Survey Drafting Deliverables

March - Integrating RTK, Total Station, Level and User Entered Data

April - Working with Total Station Data

May - Network Adjustment Workflows and Best Practices

June - Advanced Drafting Workflows

July - Efficient As Staked Workflows using TBC and Trimble Access

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

September - Baseline Processing Workflows

October - Topographic Map Creation Using Trimble SX10

November - Trimble SX10 Roading and Corridor Workflows using Trimble Access and TBC

December - UAS Processing using new TBC/UASMaster Workflows



January - New TBC Tools For Cadastral Survey Workflows

February - Data Traceability Using Customized Reporting

March - Streamlining Workflows Using Templates, Styles, and Libraries

April - TBC for Machine Control

May - Enhance Your Deliverables Using Trimble VISION and TBC

June - Field to Finish with Confidence

July - Defining + Working with Grid + Ground Coordinates

August - Traverse Adjustment vs. Network Adjustment

September - Introducing Trimble Clarity

October - Legal Description Writer and Map Closures in TBC

November - Site Calibrations and Local Site Settings

December - The TBC Team... Live! - December 20th - Session 1 and Session 2



January - Working with Point Clouds in TBC

February - BIM for Land Surveyors

March - COGO Routines in TBC

April - WYDOT Presents Roading Workflows in TBC

May - Going Underground in TBC... with Tunnels

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

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

August - Processing Delair UX11 Aerial Data in TBC

September - Office to Field Workflows using Trimble Sync Manager


Up Next:

October 31 - Autodesk Interoperability and TBC Feature Coding - register here for free:


Got a suggestion for a TBC Power Hour topic?  Want your favorite TBC personalities to break down a specific topic or workflow in TBC?  Comment below!

Happy to partner with Delair and announce the TBC August Power Hour on August 29th...


Processing Delair UX11 Aerial Data in TBC


Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have rapidly worked their way into the geospatial industry as useful and economical technology for data collection. With the increase of solutions on the market today, selecting the right hardware, processing software, and workflow for your needs is not always easy, but critical to your success. This month’s TBC Power Hour session will show how pairing Delair’s UX11 UAS hardware with the processing and deliverable capability from TBC is a viable, streamlined, and familiar solution for your UAS surveying needs.


Sign up here for free!

Geospatial Webinars 

Good day Ladies and Gentlemen! It’s Tip of the Week day, I hope this excites you as much as it does me! An aside before we dive in: A study was published in the Journal of Science last week by a team of Italian researchers, they have compelling evidence that liquid water exists under the poles of Mars. I think scientific developments like these are so cool. Find the study here:


When selecting points, linework, and objects within TBC, did you know the direction the selection is made affects the way objects are selected? This can be done in both the Rectangle and Polygon selection modes.


Rectangle Select can be selected in two locations by default, in the quick access toolbar at the top of TBC, and on the “Data” ribbon under Select.


To select only objects completely contained by the rectangle, drag from left to right. Below, only the lamp post CAD object and the two points, 1050 and 1051 are selected.


When the rectangle select rubber band is drawn from right to left, any object partially contained within the rectangle will be selected as shown below. The selection area is shown with a dotted line to indicate it will select objects partially contained. In the same selection area, this time from right to left, the linework of the parking lot island is also selected.


The Polygon Select command can be found right next to the Rectangle Select command in both the quick access toolbar and “Data” ribbon under Select.


The Polygon Select command has similar functionality to the Rectangle Select command. When the selection area is drawn clockwise, only objects completely contained are selected. When the selection area is drawn counterclockwise, any object partially contained is selected.


Click and drag to start the polygon select command. Insert additional vertices by clicking, and double click to finish drawing the polygon.


As seen below, when drawing the polygon in a clockwise direction, only objects completely contained are selected.


When the polygon is drawn counterclockwise, any object partially contained is selected.

Here two very different polygons can be used to select this group of CAD tree objects.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s tip of the week, and hopefully this helps to streamline your day just a little bit more!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence

Hello TBC’ers! This week we have a short but effective one for you.


It is very beneficial in Cadastral workflows, and watch out for it used in the July 25th Power Hour! How’s that for a hook? You’re stuck reading now for sure!


Picture this, you’re tasked with carrying out a cadastral survey. (crazy!) You’re emailed a PDF copy of the subdivision plan, and you get to work.




First up, entering the boundaries of your parcel into TBC. Fortunately, we have a great tool to both streamline your workflow and maintain confidence your COGO values were entered correctly. That tool is called CreateCOGO. Check out this video on it. TBC 3.80 Create COGO - YouTube 


Drag the image into your project in TBC. TBC Supports .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .png, and .tif image files.



TBC recognizes the file you have dropped in is an image, and prompts you with the Place Image command pane. This pane serves the purpose of scaling and rotating the image to match the project.


I opted to use the Line with distance and bearing method. As part of this process I entered the distance I read off the plan, selected the beginning and end of that line in the “From pixel” and “To pixel” boxes. I entered the bearing from that line into the “Bearing” box. NOTE: It is important to match the bearing (or azimuth) to the “From” and “To” pixels selected.


Right click on the image under “Imported Files” on the Project Explorer, select properties.



Under Render Settings, the Transparency of the image can be adjusted. I find 40-60% is a good range for most workflows.


On the Home ribbon, under Images you will find Georeference. Using the Georeference command, an image can be matched to survey points collected in the field. This is a great way to visually inspect points to ensure they closely match the paper plan.


The georeferencing is performed by selecting “Add”, picking an image coordinate in the Plan View, then selecting a point or entering a coordinate. A minimum of 3 points is required to georeference.


After georeferencing, visual inspection can be performed to ensure close agreement between a drafted deliverable and the original plan.


Check out the power hour mentioned above for a run through of Single & Double Proportioning routines, Labelling, CreateCOGO and more!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence




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