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Trimble Business Center Group

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Did you know you can easily apply a vertical exaggeration in TBC's 3D View?


With a project open to a 3D View, notice there is a VE:1.0 text string in the bottom left corner.  What's the 'VE' stand for?  You guessed it, Vertical Exaggeration, which will apply a simple scalar value to the vertical components of TBC data like point clouds or surfaces..



With the view active, press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys on your keyboard, then use the mouse scroll wheel to change the vertical exaggeration.


Scroll up to increase the exaggeration:



And scroll down to decrease the exaggeration:



And, each 3D View can support their own vertical exaggeration scalar, so you can have multiple views open at the same time and visualize your data at different exaggerations:



View your data from multiple angles, multiple views, and multiple exaggerations to aid in your drafting, CAD, data reduction workflows!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Want a free trip (airfare, accommodation, and registration) to Dimensions 2018?  Submit an entry for Trimble's Field to Finish Competition and you could be headed to Dimensions 2018 to present your project and workflows on Trimble!

This week’s Tip of the Week is a user (more like Power User) submission.  Thank you to Pete Lichtenberg for this!

I learned a good way of creating a second surface from an original surface, similar to an old TerraModel routine. Select the original surface either in Project Explorer or Plan View. Right click and use "Select Members".


Now use the "Copy" command under "Edit" and tick "Relayer copied objects". Choose an existing layer or create a new layer. In this example I have created a new layer "TO_TOPSOIL_STRIPPED":



After clicking "Apply" the window "Move Objects" appears. Fill in "From:" and "To:" as below. Put in the Delta Elevation e.g. "-0.1", make sure "3D move" is ticked and click the button "Apply".



The windows "Copy Objects" shows up again. Just close it.

The members of the first surface, lowered by 0.1m are copied on to the Layer "TO_TOPSOIL_STRIPPED".

Now, select these newly created objects and create your second surface, which is vertically lowered by 0.1m.

Thanks Pete!

TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Learn about how TBC Tunneling module can increase your capabilities to stake-out, as-built, and report on tunnels in this month's TBC Power Hour on Wednesday, May 23rd.


Going underground with TBC... in Tunnels


Register here today!

The projected surfaces feature within TBC 4.10 allows for the creation of a surface with a custom UCS. The custom UCS is defined by a plane definition, which is created from either several presets, or user input. This is different from traditional surface creation, where the surface geometry is tied to the WCS, or world coordinate system. Traditional surface creation can typically only model 2.5D topography, or non-vertical surfaces.


The projected surface geometry is tied to its’ custom UCS, therefore any calculations, comparisons, or reports will also be tied the UCS. This can lead to a few minor pitfalls when trying to compare two projected surfaces.

When trying to compare projected surfaces via a report, or cut/fill map, you may get this error mark:



This means that the surfaces you are trying to compare were not created using the same plane definition. The plane definition creates a local coordinate system which determines how TBC interprets the surface’s geometry. If two surfaces have geometries relative to different coordinate systems, TBC cannot compare them.


This would be like trying to compare two point clouds that are not georeferenced to each other, or trying to compare objects with coordinates generated from different datums.


You can check if surfaces are comparable by checking the projected surface’s projection orientation.To view this, go to the surface’s properties and scroll to the bottom of the pane. You should see a category “Projection Orientation.”



The projection orientation defines the surface’s normal axis. This normal axis is how TBC determines if two surfaces can be compared. The normal of a plane is shown below. The normal is a vector that is perpendicular to the defined plane.


If your surfaces have the same projection orientation, you’re ready to compare them, if not, you need to change one of the surfaces’ orientation by using the reproject surface command, found right next to the create projected surface command.



This command will allow you to rebuild a surface using a different plane definition. That way, you can make the two surfaces you are trying to compare have matching projection orientations.


Once in the command pane, select one of your surfaces that you are trying to compare, and then select the “Plane Definition” option. This is where you can select the plane definition that matches the other surface you are trying to compare. Once the correct plane definition is selected, hit apply.



Now you'll be able to create reports, or cut/fill maps between the surfaces.


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.

Interested in learning about the new Projected Surfaces workflow in TBC v4.10? We've got a new tutorial with instructions and data for you!
Check out the "Creating Projected Surfaces" tutorial under the 'Working with Point Cloud' header on our Tutorials page.

Starting in TBC v4.10, the License Manager has a simplified interface to select a network server hosting your TBC license.  Here’s how:

If you are using a TBC license from a hosted server, such as one-seat from a ten-seat company license stored on a virtual or physical server within the network, TBC’s License Manager needs to be able to communicate and read the network server.  

Select the name of your TBC host server from the License server drop-down menu, click OK, and restart TBC for the changes to apply.

If you don’t see your TBC host server in the drop-down, use the License Support page on TBC’s website:

to review FAQs, Tech Tips, or the Sentinel HASAP License Introduction document.  If you’ve troubleshot as much as you can, contact your local Trimble Distribution Partner.

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

TBC v4.10 is released, have you heard?  Lots of new features like Projected Surfaces, Tunneling module, locking feature-coded geometry, post-processing SSF files, and more.  

Looking to upgrade your current version to v4.10?  With TBC’s perpetually licensed software model, your license warranty date governs what is the latest version of TBC that can be licensed.  For example, TBC v4.10 requires a warranty date of April 1, 2018 or later to license the new version and functionality.

To check your TBC warranty date, open the License Manager from either the Start Page or the Support tab:

TBC v4.10's Start Page - launch License Manager


TBC v4.10 Support tab - launch License Manager


In the License Manager, check the upper right entry called Warranty expiration.  This date is your warranty license date. You are eligible to license any TBC version with the editions and modules you’ve purchased with a warranty (or build) date equal to or before your warranty license date.

So in this example, I am eligible to license the editions and modules under Features Licensed for any TBC version with a warranty (or build, the terms are interchangeable) date equal to December 31, 2020 or earlier.

Ok, that’s easy enough to find, but how can I find the build dates of TBC versions?  Well, you’ll be prompted with the latest available version in the Check for Updates routine, also available in the Start Page or Support tab.

Or, you can check the version’s Release Notes.  The build date will always be listed among the first couple of pages:

Or, Trimble Geospatial Support maintains a Latest Versions list on the Support A-Z page with build dates for TBC and other Geospatial products:

Armed with this license warranty date knowledge, update to v4.10 today (download page here) or contact your local Trimble Partner to extend your warranty past April 1, 2018!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

April TBC Power Hour Announcement!


TBC Power Hour - WYDOT Presents Roading Workflows with TBC


Join fellow TBC Beta member, Andrew Klingenberg, PE, with the Wyoming Department of Transportation as he discusses and demonstrates their roading design, prep, staking, and reporting workflows and how TBC works with third-party design software and Trimble Access field software.


Two sessions on Thursday, April 26th at 8am and 4pm Mountain time.


Register here:


Geospatial Webinars 

Have you checked out the TBC website lately?

We’ve added a lot of information to our site for both the prospective and current user and it’s all in one place… the TBC website!

For the curious surveyor looking for a survey CAD office software package, watch our two-minute overview video, learn about supported workflows, listen to colleagues describe and demonstrate their experiences, and download the latest version of the software.



To help get you started, download our workflow tutorials, review the feature matrix to learn more about each edition and module, or view or register for a TBC Power Hour, or link to our 193 (and counting!) YouTube channel tutorial, new feature, and update videos.

Check out our playlists of new features, workflows, and Customer Testimonial videos.

Looking for a functionality or workflow in a TBC edition or module?  It's in the Feature Matrix.  


And to connect and engage with us and your peers, find our Community forum page, follow us on Facebook, or bookmark the TBC Tip of the Week page!

Join the TBC Community


Tip of the Week Vault - all Tips in one place



With so much information, bookmark or make it your home page so you can watch for updates and new content!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

Did you know that TBC v4.00 shipped with 44 pre-built reports (that the author could count) for you to confidently deliver survey coordinates, adjustment routines, volume quantities, and more?

Most of these reports are listed in the Reports > More Reports menu, as shown:

The reports not listed in More Reports are context-specific, such as the four REB reports, which are primarily used in Germany, and are located in their respective ribbons (REB reports are included in the Corridor tab, in case you are wondering).

Configuring reports, for example to toggle a report to display in the Reports menu drop-down or modifying the header or footer contents, is done in the Report Options menu:

In the Report Options menu, find all reports sorted alphabetically and editable settings below.  For example, the GNSS Loop Closure Results report, which is not included in the drop-down Reports list by default, can be toggled to show in the Reports menu:

In the Report Options for the GNSS Loop Closure Report options, header, footer, report settings, and report sections can also be modified.

If you are looking for more customized reports, check out the Customized Report templates available for you to modify in Microsoft Word *.docx format.  Templates available in TBC v4.00 are Alignment Geometry, As-Staked Points, Baseline Processing, Earthwork, Network Adjustment, Point Card, Point List, and Site Calibration Reports.  

Check out the TBC Tutorial on Custom Reporting here: or the Custom Reporting Power Hour from February 2017 with Riley Smith and Adam Hussein here:

Use TBC’s reporting to deliver confident results to your clients!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.


TBC works with raw survey data from your Trimble and third-party hardware, not just with *.CSV or X,Y,Z coordinates.  This means that TBC not only integrates data from different sources, like GNSS receivers, total stations, and levels, but also allows you to check, modify, and recompute the resulting coordinates from those different sources.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate TBC’s computation engine and the Point Derivation Report.  Check out Point 1000:

Zoomed in a bit more with some annotation detail, there are three measurements to Point 1000, a GNSS RTK shot from base station at Point 400, and two foresight total station measurements from Points 102 and RSCT_2.  

You can left-click on any of the colored vectors (blue for RTK, green for total station) and view the raw data properties, shown here:

Any of the text in BLUE color can be changed, for example changing the GNSS receiver measurement method or adjusting the observation’s prism type.  So many QA/QC options when working with the raw data, but I digress… on to the Point Derivation Report...

With Point 1000 selected in Plan View, right-click and select the Point Derivation Report from the context menu.  Alternatively, you can select, then right-click on Point 1000 within the Project Explorer and select the Point Derivation Report or with Point 1000 selected, click in the Reports drop-down from the ribbon and select Point Derivation Report.

An HTML-based report launches, which displays project, coordinate system, local site settings, and, alas, point derivation information!

All observations used to determine the resulting coordinate for Point 1000 show in the Point Derivation Report.  A closer look now shows the reported coordinate for Point 1000 and what observations TBC’s computation engine used to arrive at this coordinate, along with deltas, precisions, distance, and azimuth data.

For Point 1000, the Northing, Easting, and height values were computed using the RTK shot from Point 400 and the elevation is computed from the RSCT_2 resection station.  Armed with this information, you can now go back into the vector properties in TBC and enable or disable observations or toggle horizontal or vertical usage. Recompute the project using the F4 key and generate another Point Derivation Report to see how your manual edits or checks has modified the reported coordinate for Point 1000.  

The computation engine and its hierarchy and heuristics has an entire Power Hour session dedicated to it.  Check out the March 2016 Power Hour with Boris Skopljak and Troy Brown to learn how the computation engine calculates coordinates here:

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

Did you know there is a quick way to convert binary *.job files from Trimble Access into *.jxl files that can be opened in a text editor for review or re-imported into different versions of Trimble Access?  The conversion routine reveals a secret of TBC… TBC converts *.job files upon import into *.jxl files temporarily, then displays the data as a *.job. Capturing the *.jxl during this temporary conversion is this week’s TBC Tip of the Week.

First, open the file folder where your field data resides:

and drag and drop the *.job into TBC:

Looks good, right?  Total station observations and points are imported into Plan View.  Save the project if you wish.

Now, back in your field data folder, grab the same *.job file again and drop it into the same TBC project.  TBC knows that this data is already in the project, so it prompts for how it should merge the data:

If you wanted to continue in TBC, select one of the options, either disable merging of the data which results in multiple versions of the same job in the project; overwrite office edits, which overwrites changes made in TBC to the data; or preserve office edits, which keeps any changes made in TBC to the data.  But… for this Tip of the Week workflow, do not select anything.

Rather, find your field data folder again and notice a *.jxl file called ‘Temporary Conversion File.jxl’ exists now.  Copy and paste this file to the same or another directory and give it a new name if you wish:

Then, click Cancel to the TBC merge options.  Notice that the Temporary Conversion File no longer appears in your field data folder:

But, notice that the newly copied ‘New jxl file.jxl’ file remains.  Congatulations, you’ve just converted the *.job file to a *.jxl.

Double-click on the *.jxl and select a text editor to read the file, you’ll be able to review the XML-based schema of the *.jxl:

The *.jxl can also be imported into different Trimble Access editions with you having to worry about file versions like with the *.job file format.

This tip is also a great routine for survey managers working with crews with potentially different versions of Trimble Access!

TBC - Field to Finish with Confidence.

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