Software to survey on the ground

So lets say I have connected my Reach RS+ with a tablet or smartphone. And lets say that the base-station and the rover are communicating correctly.

What are the kinds of software that I could use to set and identify waypoints / markers?

I mean to use this for surveying and setting out designs in the real world. Designs made digitally through sketchup.

I have found something called Mobile Topographer, and similar programs. Would those work? Or does Reachview have something built in that I can’t see?

You can use Reachview for saving points and laying out points.

You will need to georeference your sketchup plan. QGIS (free, open-source GIS software) has a plug-in for georeferencing .dwg files. You can then create points in QGIS that can be imported into your RS+/RS2. Then you can lay them out using reachview.

Aha, so I can use Reachview to map the land, then import that into sketchup. Then after having used sketchup to alter the geolocated terrain I can use QGIS to create georeferences.

Then I can upload those into reachview and mark them out onto the ground realtime?

PS. I should have mentioned this: I don’t own a Reach RS unit yet. Just trying to understand what is possible.

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Why should you use sketchup to alter the points? Why can’t you just use QGis?

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To be honest I didn’t know about QGis until you mentioned it. I will check it out. Can you make plugins for QGIS?

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I think it is easy to learn it if you already able write scripts in Python. I’m actually thinking about implementing some of my scripts (e.g. my post survey processing script) a QGis plugins.

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Yes you can make python plugins for qgis. I have no experience with this but there is a large bank of plugins, many of which are produced by users. So far there are no “layout” plugins.

Maybe I can explain a bit what I hope to do. In game engine editors like for Skyrim or in Unreal Engine 4 you can define the size and shape of your brush and then ‘paint’ the landscape up or down. Also for UE4 you can make extensions or plugins that do specific things.

What I would like to do is make it easier for people to design their landscape in sustainable ways. So for instance a swale is a water harvesting ditch on contour.

Would it be possible to produce a plugin that lets you ‘paint’ a swale onto the landscape? You define the width and depth of the ditch and the height of the berm and then you just drag it along the landscape along contour.

Interesting concept. Harvesting water seems a little bit strange terminology but holding back water in the landscape is a good thing and is even more important in future as a climate change adaptation.

Concerning your idea I think since all the other tasks are also not on the level of painting in the landscape I don’t see why it is necessary to have a painting tool.

I think if you can load all the necessary data into QGis you are also able to do the calculations with QGis. Its made for such tasks.

After the calculation in QGis was done you could stake out points where your ditch should be and mark also the desired digging depth to get a levelled ditch.

Yeah it makes a lot of sense indeed. The idea is that water is only erosive if it has high speed, great volume and is concentrated (has depth). Swales are designed to slow, spread and sink the water. As a simple mantra you could say we need to plant the rain before we plant the tree.

If you are interested there is a more indepth talk on this subject over here:

Ah, I forgot to clarify: So you can manipulate the landscape in QGIS?

We used Ogre 3D in the past to make this kind of work and output from opensource GIS. We integrated CAD (TIN + road export from mensura) and custom terrain (mix to real and artificial generated from GIS) to share with clients or people who doesn’t understand maps or GIS output.
We have experiences in spatial ecology, water and flooding simulation.

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Sorry, you mean the manipulation of landscape forms in a CAD program?

This could actually be done in Archicad with Architerra plugin. I use it for ditches, roads and getting the slope and terrain the way we want.


Does that even run on a pc younger than Windows 2000? At least it brings beautiful Win95 feeling to these uggly Macintosh machines. I must admit it sends me back to those early days when I started play computer games :wink:

But interesting application anyhow, I was already wondering whether there is a market for 3d environmental models based on photogrammetry/drone images… .


If you need floppy disk to load your coordinates. Your`re out i guess :sweat_smile:
Its a simple cheap tool that gets the job done without 20.000$ in licensing


You would think. TIN or Sosi i get may differ up to meters regarding z-value.
Doing a grid survey in an challenging area could get you out of throuble some times.
And if i could get my tricopter running soon, i would do this faster


It could be but that’s not the purpose. Road technician send us export from CAD to integrate in project. It should be accurate between terrain and CAD tin or profile so better to do in GIS. Draftsight is used to convert DWG to dxf only.
For pure drawing on terrain which does not require this kind of accuracy we use blender in relation to GIS

I wonder whether a plugin which can do comparable calculations with some clicks is available for QGis. I guess there would be a lot of applications… .

Hi there, I am looking into Architerra now. Thanks for the suggestion!