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Trimble UX5

What the UX5 is doing will reinvent how people survey. It’s quite exciting.

Some time ago I was on my way to Africa. I occasionally do some consulting for some mines in the Congo. On the way I stopped off in Belgium. Trimble had acquired a company in Belgium called Gatewing. Gatewing manufactures the UX5. I spent a week with the engineers at Gatewing learning how to fly the UX5 & obtained my remote pilot certification. At the time there was no way to do this in the U.S. because of the FAA rules were not allowing commercial UAVs to fly. I was very fortunate to find this opportunity. Now in the last year the FAA has developed regulations allowing certain exemptions to fly. Trimble was one of the first companies to obtain the FAA’s Section 333 exemption to fly and we now have our own plane.

Now what the plane does is amazing. Your out in the field with a tablet computer using a Google Earth map. You draw a rectangle shape over the area you want to fly and the tablet computer lays out a flight plan that is then uploaded to the UX5 plane. As the plane flies it uses it’s on board GPS to log positions at the precise moment it takes a picture. A 20 minute flight can generate some 800 pictures and cover several acres of land.The pictures need to overlap by some 80% for the process in the office. The plane flies at 80kmph.

For me, the real exciting part is what you can do with the data once the plane lands. The first step is to upload all the GPS positions and digital photos to a very powerful desktop computer. You need a very fast computer. Using Trimble Business Center software you essentially stich the photos together. The software pixel matches every pixel in each photo to every other photo making one huge mosaic.This can take several hours. Once this is done you locate some predefined survey markers in the photo mosaic. At this point the Trimble Business Center software generates a point cloud and 3d Surface. What may of taken weeks to survey using conventionally methods is now done in a day to better standards.

Contact us today for a free Trimble UX5 demonstartion!


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