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Trimble Business Center Group

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Did you know that with v4.00, TBC Advanced includes the drafting and plotting routines that had been included in the Advanced Drafting module?  With the ability to create custom plan, cross-section, and plan-profile sheets all within TBC Advanced, time for a drafting Tip of the Week!

Starting with a pre-built drafting template included with TBC, launch the Drafting Templates command furthest to the left in the Drafting tab and drag-and-drop a *.vcl into your TBC plan view.  In this example, the Feet - Arch D (24x36) - 1 Column - Inset Grid template is used.

Further customize by adding text, blocks, or images to the Plan Sheet Set or Cross-Section Sheet set.  Note below how to insert an image, such as a company logo, to the Plan Sheet Set, with the Insert Image command.

Once you have your company logo and any other standard info you want to include in your personalized drafting template, you can export as a new *.vcl for future use and sharing.

To export, first delete all data from the project that you do not wish to include in your template, such as survey data, corridor information, and CAD geometry.  But remember to keep your company logo!

Then, select the components in the Project Explorer you want to export, be it sheet sets or individual sheets.  Multi-select by clicking the first template object you wish to export, then hold down the <Ctrl> key and pick any other drafting template object to include.

In the Export Pane, select the Construction tab and scroll down to the VCL Project Link.  The selections are recognized in the Data box, and give the drafting template a name. When happy with your selection and name, click the Export button at the bottom of the command.

Import your custom drafting template into any TBC project via the same, simple drag-and-drop routine and stay in TBC to complete your plan set deliverables!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

You're using TBC to perform a network adjustment for the first time and you're wondering why the Results tab in the Adjust Network pane is telling you the Chi Square (95%) test failed. And what is a Chi square (95%) test anyway? Well the answer may be a lot closer than you think. No need to crank up Google or call your dealer. Simply press the F1 key. A TBC Help topic displays providing an explanation of all of the Adjust Network options, including Chi squares (95%).




And if you want to learn more about the network adjustment workflow in general, click the handy Related topic link at the bottom of the page. Or, click the Contents tab in the Help window to view all of the related network adjustment topics.



All of the command panes and dialogs in TBC support F1 Help functionality. So context-sensitive help is always close at hand. And most Help topics provide links to related topics.


So what if you have heard about the Chi Square (95%) test, want to know how it is used in TBC, but are not in the Adjust Network command pane. Help is still close by. Simply press F1 to open the TBC Help window, type "Chi Square" in the search field at the top of the window, and click the Search button. Note that the "Network Adjustment Options" topic displays at the top of the list. This is the topic that provides the most extensive mention of "Chi Square." 



Note also that the search term is highlighted in the topic to help you easily find it.



The TBC Help also includes a comprehensive glossary that can be accessed from the Contents tab or via a word search.



To make it even easier to perform a task while you are reading the instructions, all "how-to" procedural Help topics include a direct command link to the associated command. This makes it easier and faster to launch the command than searching in the TBC command ribbon.



If you simply want to quickly view an overview and review "fast-track" instructions for performing a task, click the Workflow Guides link on the Start page. Embedded command links make it easy to perform the task as you follow the instructions.


And if you want to go more in-depth and gets some hands-on experience using real data, click the Tutorials link on the Start page. Then select the tutorial you want to download. Each download ZIP file includes the instructions and data/project files you to need to perform the tutorial.


On the other hand, if you prefer to learn while watching someone else perform tasks, you can always click the TBC Survey YouTube Channel link on the Start page to see what's new on the tube.


As you can see, there's a lot of choices for how you learn about TBC. Simply pick the combination that works best for you.


TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence

In TBC, the ability to create construction or staking models for road corridors has a low barrier to entry.  Start with an alignment, name your corridor, build out the templates, and export to your favorite field survey software, Trimble Access, of course.  

TBC can also support more complicated corridors with superelevations, lane transitions, and conditional instructions for templates.  Some templates can be quite complex, with tens of instructions.  After working through plan sets or design documents to key-in the template into TBC, did you know you can save the template for use in another road corridor in a different TBC project or copy or reference this template for use in any station along the corridor?  No need to duplicate work you’ve already done!  Here’s how:

Say you’ve keyed in the following template at Sta. 133+88:

And you’d like to use the same template in a different project or perhaps you’ve built up a library of common templates to reuse as needed.  Note the Options button in the lower right corner, left-click it to expand the menu:

Then select the Save template as xml.  

Pick a location to save the *.xml and your road corridor template is saved.

To load it into another project or corridor, when in the Insert Corridor Template command, select the drop-down arrow for Options:

And select From file definition.  Browse to where your *.xml template is saved, click OK, and it will be imported as a new template into your corridor.

But there’s more… did you note there are three other options in the drop-down menu?  The New definition is to key-in a template’s instructions from scratch, and the other two, Copy definition and Reference definition, let you utilize any template in the project for the new template you are inserting.  

The differences?  Copy definition uses the same instructions as the source template and creates a new, independent template that can be modified or changed without any impact on the source template.  Reference definition uses the same instructions as the source template and links the new with the source.  So, if the a template is referenced and a new instruction is added to new template, the new instruction is also added to the source template.

Leverage this knowledge and functionality in your next construction or survey staking road corridor project to save you drafting time!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence

Network adjustments are all about detecting, managing, and distributing errors throughout your data.  Beginning the adjustment with accurate initial estimates of your total station, leveling, and GNSS errors assists the least-squares routine in the network adjustment workflow.  Where does TBC get these initial estimates?  Read on…

In the TBC Project Settings, there is a Default Standard Errors header that, not surprisingly, contains the settings that the Network Adjustment routine uses for the initial error estimates.

The default for total station data is set from the imported file, like a *.job or *.jxl.  These settings are likely set in the field software like Trimble Access and the accuracy of the instrument should be considered to establish a proper estimate.

The default for level data is set by the Level Editor, launched when you import a *.dat from a Trimble DiNi, for example:

The default for GNSS data is the result of processing the baselines.  These results are reported at the conclusion of the processing in the Baseline Processing Report:

These default settings can be changed by selecting a different source from the drop-down menu:

The Project Settings options can be set in the corresponding sub-header.  For example, if you set the Total Station source for standard errors to Project Settings, click on the Total Station sub-header to manually set the errors to use in the adjustment.

Now, armed with the knowledge of where the Network Adjustment routine takes it initial error estimates, adjust your network confidently!


Trimble Business Center - Field to Finish with Confidence

The Surface Cut-Fill Map visualization can be used for comparing surfaces, reference elevations, and in conjunction with the Earthwork Report volume computations, but did you know the Cut-Fill Map can be used to stake cut and fills in the field?  Here’s how:

With a reference or initial surface and final surface in your TBC project, select the Cut/Fill Map command in the Surfaces tab.

In this example, the initial surface is a reference surface at a fixed elevation - 1695m - and a finish grade surface model of a simple two-lane corridor with shoulder and sidewalk on both sides.  Be sure that the shade map and label grid are checked to be created.  Select an appropriate grid spacing. 1m interval is selected in the above example.

Executing the command creates the Cut/Fill Surface as well as a 1m by 1m grid, as shown below:

Turn the Cut/Fill Map surface off in the View Filter Manager, leaving the grid only.

Note that the grid consists of a color, denoting cut/fill; a tick mark at the point location; and a label showing the elevation cut/fill value:


In the Edit tab, select the Explode command and select the Cut/Fill grid.  Exploding results in creating a CAD point for each grid point.  Turn the Cut/Fill map grid layer off (which is Layer 0 in this example) for an isolate view of only the CAD points.


Selecting a single CAD point property reveals that the color, layer, and grid coordinate exist for each.  

Note that the grid elevation is the delta between the initial and final surfaces.  A positive elevation is fill, a negative elevation is cut.  These points can either be exported to a CSV or DXF for use in Trimble Access field software for staking, useful to denote areas of pavement, for example, that need to be milled.


When working with raw level data, such as a *.DAT from the Trimble DiNi, you can use the Level Editor within TBC to manage run, manually key-in run data booked in the field, adjust the elevation data, and more.

One of the useful functions of the Level Editor are the yellow circular notifications displayed to the right of the PointID number:

These “sunny” notifications appear when the same PointID occurs in the same level run multiple times, the same PointID occurs in multiple runs, or a combination of both.  This alert draws your attention so that you can confirm that indeed, there are multiple instances of the same point with your leveling routine.

In this example, the notification is on point 1 not because it is used as the initial backsight and the final foresight in Run 1, but because point 1 is also the initial backsight for Run 2A.  Click on the Run - 2A tab and point 1 is included and flagged there as well.

One more tip, the notification does not appear when the Create checkbox is not selected.  Once you complete your editing and click OK to close the Level Editor, those points with unchecked Create boxes will not be created in the TBC project.  So, no need to notify of duplicate points within the same run or across multiple runs when TBC doesn’t create the points.  Turning or intermediate points, for example, might not be needed in the TBC project.

If you uncheck the Create box for point 1 in Run 2A, the sun “sets” for point 1 in both Run 2A and Run 1, but since it is the same point, point 1 will not be created in Run 1 either.


If you’d like to have individual control of each point 1’s creation, click in the 1 in one of the runs and rename it.  TBC reads now two separate points.  Renamed to 1 to 1a in Run 1 - no more notification:

Check back next week for more terrible puns while learning more about TBC!

February TBC Power Hour Announcement - BIM for Land Surveyors - on February 28th
BIM - Building Information Modeling - is not just a long-established buzzword for construction professionals, it is a viable and productive workflow that promotes collaboration, transparency, and efficiency throughout a project’s entire lifecycle. Join us to learn how to leverage actionable BIM processes in TBC and other Trimble software applications in this month’s TBC Power Hour - BIM for Land Surveyors.

Last Chance to apply for the first TBC Power Week - Applications accepted through today, February 5th.


The TBC Power Week is for all TBC users who are looking to increase their knowledge and productivity with TBC. Trimble customers and distributors alike are encouraged to apply!


Application Timeline

The application deadline is Feb 5, 2018. We will notify the selected participants shortly after that date, leaving a month for you to arrange and prepare for travel. If you don’t get a chance to participate in person, we will make an effort to follow-up with you so you can be considered for future events.


Application Process

To apply, fill out the Google Form at the bottom of this post by Feb 5, 2018. Register today, space is limited to 20 participants.


TBC Power Week Objectives

· Improve your understanding of TBC and related workflows

· Gain valuable insights that you can apply to your business

· Influence the future of TBC product development

· Become a TBC Power User



· Day 1: Working with Survey Data: Field data review, QA/QC, working with level, total station and GNSS data, traversing, network adjustment

· Day 2: Drafting and Deliverable creation: CAD workflows, feature coding, template setup, sheet creation and plotting

· Day 3: Surface, Corridors and Interoperability: terrain modelling and surface editing, working with alignments and corridors, data exchange best practices

· Day 4: Individual Assessment and Discussion: Specific individual tasks, TBC future directions and enhancements, and a certificate ceremony

· Day 5: Optional additional discussions with TBC team members or for group meetings


TBC Power Week Cost

The participants will be responsible for their own cost of travel to Westminster and hotel accommodations. We understand that you will have to take time away from your work schedules and appreciate your investment. The event costs, including materials, facility, all lunches and two evening events, are covered by Trimble.

Take your ortho plan view images and surface models further by “draping” the image on a surface.  This provides texture and is a great visualization tool!  Here’s how…

We’ll work with only a surface and a plan view image.  The surface can be generated from linework, points, point cloud, anything.  The plan view image could be an orthomosaic from photogrammetry or a georeferenced image.

In the Plan View on the left, you’ll see the ortho image, on the right, you’ll see the surface model, Topo Surface, in 3D, in a lovely shade of triangulated gray.

(Note in red how each view can have its own View Filter - My Filter and My Filter - Copy - set to view different layers and objects in each layer, maybe a future Tip of the Week?)

Let’s add more detail to the surface by adding the ortho image as a surface member, effectively draping the image on the surface.  In the Surfaces tab, select the Surface Members command.  With the intended surface selected in the Surface drop-down box (Topo Surface in this case), click in the Selected: 0 text box under the Member to add or remove:

Then click on the image you wish to drape.  You may have to select the image in the Project Explorer > Imported Files.  The Selection number will change to 1.  

Then, click the Add button.  After an automatic project recomputation, the surface will be updated with the imagery added:

A closer look…




Pretty cool, huh?  Visual contours better now, extract geometry from the surface more clearly, and impress your clients.

TBC can create highly-customizable plan sets as a CAD communication and deliverable tool.  The frame or “window” into the model space is the Dynaview object.  The Dynaview frame is defined by any closed figure geometry - like a rectangle, circle, or polygon.  This geometry is created separately from the Dynaview object and has its own set of properties - like color, line style, and… visibility.  By turning the visibility off, the Dynaview cleanly and seamlessly sits in your plan view sheet.  Here’s how to do it:

Find the area that you wish to include in your plan sheet.

Then, launch the CAD command to define the closed figure that you wish to use as your Dynaview boundary.  In this example, we’ll use the Create Polygon command.  In the Layer drop-down menu, select <<New Layer>>.

In the Layer Manager, create a No_Show (or any distinguishing name) layer and click OK.  The polygon is assigned to the No_Show layer.


Back in the Create Polygon command, click OK, then you’ll be prompted to draft the polygon.  Complete the polygon to encompass the area of interest to show in the plan view.

Then, launch the Create Dynaview command.  Name the Dynaview if you wish and assign a layer for the Dynaview.  Be sure to assign the Dynaview to a layer different from the No_Show layer.  Click in the Frame text window so the cursor is blinking in the box, then pick your polygon in plan view.  This defines the Dynaview.

Modify and note the Dynaview’s View Filter.  In this example, we’ll use the My Filter.  This will come into workflow later...

With a drafting template inserted into the project from the Drafting Template command or your own custom template, now it’s time to insert the Dynaview on the plan sheet.  In the Project Explorer, right-click on the Plan sheet set and select Create Custom Sheet.  

Name the plan sheet as you wish, Sheet 1 is used in this example, and click OK.  Then, right-click on the newly created plan sheet in Project Explorer and select New Sheet View.

This launches a new paper-space view of the sheet.  It is time to insert the Dynaview.  Click in the Location text box back in the Create Dynaview command so the cursor is blinking.  Then, move the cursor into the plan sheet and you’ll see a preview of the scale and size of the Dynaview.  Adjust the scale as needed.  For this example, 10 scale fits better than the default 50 scale.  Click in the plan sheet to insert the Dynaview.


Specify any desired rotation of the Dynaview and click the Create button.  Notice how the Dynaview frame shows.  

If you wish to turn the frame off, open the View Filter Manager and make sure the active View Filter is the same View Filter used by the Dynaview.  Find the No_Show layer in the Layer header and uncheck its visibility box.  

TBC automatically updates and the Dynaview polygon frame will not display leaving a clean Dynaview!

Tip of the Week #24 - Label Style Previews (Joe, published 1/19/2018)

Use the Label Style Manager to set-up labels for lines, arcs, points, and polygons with applicable properties like length, azimuth, slope, tangent chord length, elevation, area, and perimeter.  With all these options, the Label Style Manager has a Preview Window to show you how your label will look in Plan View.  But, did you know that the Preview Window in the Label Style Manager is interactive?        

With your cursor inside the Preview Window, scroll up to zoom in to text and press and hold the scroll wheel to pan.  You’ll be able to see the text label much better!

If you click on a line of the label text, for example the 787.400 ft, the Label Properties to the right changes label type settings.

In this example, 787.400 ft represents the Arc Radius of the arc.  Change the properties below and the Preview Window automatically updates, like setting the Precision to 0.1:

You could also enter a prefix in the Prefix text box, like R =, to delineate what the value represents.  The Preview Window automatically updates!  This interactivity helps you understand what label types are included in a setting and makes editing more efficient.  When you’re finished completing the style setup, click OK to save, and utilize the respective labelling command for your application - either Label Points, Label Lines, or Label Polylines.  TBC can also insert leader lines, but that’s a topic for another Tip of the Week...


TBC’s PC hardware requirements for working with point clouds suggests 2GB RAM minimum and 32GB RAM or more recommended for working with aerial photogrammetry or point cloud data.  To optimize your rendering capabilities when working with point clouds, change TBC’s Rendering memory cache size option to reflect your workstation’s RAM amount.  By default, TBC defaults to 2GB of RAM when rendering, displaying, and navigating throughout point cloud data.  This Tip of the Week shows you how to change this value.

First, launch TBC and open an existing or start a new project.

Then, from the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Options command:


In the Options menu, click the Point Clouds text along the left side, under the General tab:

Find the Rendering memory cache size in GB (limited to half of physical RAM size).  TBC can utilize up to half of your system’s RAM for point cloud operations.  So, if your workstation has 32GB of RAM, as suggested, enter 16 into the text box.  Or, if your workstation has 32GB of RAM and you enter 32, TBC will automatically reduce the number to half your workstation’s RAM:

Click OK and your change is retained in all new TBC instances and projects on your workstation.

With an increased amount of RAM dedicated to your point cloud rendering operations in TBC, you’ll notice faster load times and quicker navigation.


TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence

TBC's come a long way over the past few years. Don't take our word for it (we are a bit biased), so how about Jarrod Black's? Jarrod is Vice President at Rochester and Associates in Georgia. Check out his opinions on TBC here:

January 31st - 8am Mountain time zone session only


Point clouds offer unprecedented flexibility and capability for surveyors looking for robust geospatial data and client deliverables. From the Trimble SX10 and TX-series instruments to third-party hardware, TBC imports and supports all industry-standard point cloud formats. Leverage the point cloud functionality along with TBC’s powerful CAD and deliverable creation commands to complete your next project. Join us to learn how to use TBC’s point cloud tools to fulfill and leverage the power of the point cloud.


Geospatial Webinars 

Start your new year off in style with handy TBC knowledge.  This week?  What you need to know about the Transform Survey Points command.


Often times the surveyor is provided data in local or ground systems but works in a global (or GNSS) coordinate system.  What are some ways we can adjusted data from one system to another?  The answers lies in the Transform Survey Points command.  This powerful feature enables users to perform either a 3, 5, or 7 Helmert or Least Squares Adjustment on a selection of survey points.  To do this you will need several pairs of points with known or measured coordinates in the current and desired coordinate system.


The seven parameters available are for translations in the northing, easting, elevation coordinates, rotation in the X, Y, Z axes, and scale for horizontal and vertical data.


Transform Survey Points command in TBC


Happy 2018!