Version 3 is almost usable for daily work, and is a huge improvement over Version 2. I’m anxious to use it as my daily driver. I love that the map stays visible while taking shots. Constantly going back and forth between the map and point recording views had about a 5 second lag between views, requiring zooming in each time you went to the map view. Without a doubt, this will save me around 15 minutes in a day of surveying.
The data is now stored on the device instead of the receiver, and this saves time when transferring the data to a desktop. One less step is another time saver. Another nice thing is separating the point numbers and descriptions. This is very useful because most survey data is in the PENZD format and I won’t have to manually add point numbers in Excel anymore. Also, referencing another shot is very helpful, such as this survey code for Civil 3D: “EP CPN446” which is read by Civil 3D as “connect this edge of pavement line to point number 446,” which isn’t possible if you don’t know which point number it will be. By having point numbers (or names, as ReachView calls it) different from the descriptions, it makes it possible to add this logic.
V.3 must show AR Validation ratio. I tend not to use data less than 600 AR because it’s highly likely it’s in a slipped fix. v3 doesn’t seem to have a way to view the AR ratio. Without the AR, there’s no way to detect a slipped fix. It’s very common to take a point at <200 AR, come back and take it again at 999, and have a location 19cm different. If I don’t see the AR ratio, I don’t know which one is good. Both will have good deviations because a bad fix doesn’t move around.
If you haven’t done a lot of RTK work, you may think any fixed solution is a perfect shot, and you’ll see the deviations all under 1cm, reinforcing this misconception you’re taking an accurate shot. RTK works with phase shift of the GPS signal, and with an L1-only receiver, you can easily slip a full cycle off and the only indication is the AR ratio is unstable and in the lower ranges.
Some Possible TTFF improvements over V.2:
Known point initialization would be very useful for reducing Time To First Fix. My old Sokkia heads had this feature. It looks something like this: if you have a known point, set up on it, and select the point your occupying. The receiver takes the initial location as truth, and begins it’s float solution refinement from there. If it’s within under 9 cm from the actual location, it should be seconds away from a fix because the best fix is also the closest solution. I realize this may be a firmware feature, but it’s well worth considering because it will save users a whole lot of time.
When I lose fix, and the location drifts more than a few feet, it sometimes takes 10 minutes or more to get back a fix. Continuous mode is faster, and sometimes I’ll put it in continuous mode for a minute, and back to fix-and-hold, or reboot. Would it be possible to have another mode where float solutions remain in continuous mode, and then fix-and-hold once it’s fixed?
Some other features that would really put ReachView in the big leagues is project coordinates, surveyor azimuths, ground distance/scale factors, and cogo tools. I would like to be able to walk on a site, observe two points, and then plot geometry off of those points. It’s technically possible now, but it’s a two-day operation because you need to collect the reference points, download the points, do the plotting in the office, re-upload the new points, and go back to do the stakeouts. Ground distances are very important for this. UTM and ellipsoidal distances are not the same as ground distances when you’re working at CM level at higher elevations.
I can’t wait to use Version 3 all the time. It will be a big time saver when collecting hundreds of shots in a day.