Mounting base

Does the Reach RS base need to be accurately level on a tripod? Will it work sitting on the ground?

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Yes, leveling over the base point should be mandatory. There are too many factors that leveling solves to not do it. The only scenario I can think of that it doesn’t matter if it is a one-time setup and you are doing PPK.

It is not guaranteed, but a receiver can possibly work sitting on the ground. The main drawback would be diminished view to satellites and poor RTK transmission.

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So the base either needs to be level on a tripod or you’re saying it could work level on the ground?

Ground mounting is sketchy. The main point is whether or not your are using RTK and/or if you are planning on returning to the point. If yes then you need to be properly located over the point every time. If it is a one-time RTK then yes. If it is a one-time PPK then no.

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We are using RTK using one reach as base, one reach as rover to survey in GCPs for a drone flight… so a one-time RTK?

Yes, if it is just a one-time drone survey, but you need to be accurate located over the known control point from survey or CAD for it to be relative to the design. If you are not concerned with design grade and are just looking for a map to put a CAD PDF or some sort overlay then being absolutely over the point is not necessary.
Just for your information I run PPK and despite all the talk about offset and shutter timing I can attest that none of that matters when you are using GCP’s. I do accurately mount the point, but the PPK is re-geotagging the photos relatively to each other. The GCP’s put it on site coordinates.

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