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How to start recording PPK survey data with a Trimble TSC2 controller

This document is a step-by-step tutorial on how to perform a PPK survey with a Trimble R8 GNSS receiver with a Trimble TSC2 controller with Trimble Survey Controller software. This information might also (partially) apply to other controllers and GNSS receiver models (like the Trimble 4700, 4800, 5700, 5800, R4, R5, R6 and R7).

First power up your receiver and controller, and start the Trimble Survey Controller software by tapping the "Survey Controller" icon on the Windows Mobile home screen.

Checking PP Kinematic configuration

Before starting the survey, we want to make sure that the recording of post-processing data is enabled and the data storage interval is correct. Also we want to record the data on the receiver, just because we don't want to loose any data when the battery on the controller runs out, or the Bluetooth connection is dropping. Tap the "Configuration" icon from the survey controller's software home screen and select "Survey Styles".

Open the configuratiom menu first
Open the "Configuratiom" menu first.

A list of survey styles predefined on the controller should now be displayed:

A list of available survey styles will be displayed
A list of available survey styles will be displayed.

Locate the "PPK" item and tap it. A new selection of option should be visible. Tap the "Rover Options" item to check the configuration of the rover.

Open the configuratiom menu first
Tap the "Rover Options" menu item.

A screen with rover options appears. Make sure you are at the first screen of the three (1/3). We only need to check the first screen. Make sure the survey type has been set to "PP kinematic". Set the logging device as "Receiver" and make sure that we log satellite data at least once a second. When all settings are correct, tap "Accept", "Store" and "Esc" to return to the main screen.

Check the rover options
Check the rover options. Check for correct survey type and interval

Starting the survey

We can now start collecting data. You should start the survey on your survey controller before recording the first line in Hydromagic, and stop the survey controller after you finished recording the last line in Hydromagic, so there is always overlapping PPK data availble. To start, tap the "Survey" icon:

Check the rover options
Tap the "Survey" icon on the main screen.

Locate and tap the "PPK" option in the list of available survey styles:

Select the PPK survey style
Select the "PPK" survey style from the list.

In the survey menu for the PPK survey style, select the "Start Survey" option to start the initialization process.

Tap Start Survey to start the initialization
Tap Start Survey to start the initialization.

After tapping the "Start Survey" option, the receiver will wait until there are at least five satellites in view. When this is the case, it goes into initialization mode. The default initialization time for 6 satellites or more is 8 minutes or 15 minutes when no more then 5 satellites are in view. The receiver will show "Initialization in 14m33s" (or similar) and starts counting down. When it has stable reception of at least five satellites it will switch from initialization to PP Fixed mode. The screenshots below demonstrate this process:

PPK init hast started, counting down
PPK Initialization has been started. Controller will show a countdown timer.

PPK initialization has been gained
PPK initialization has been gained. Data recording has started.

PPK fixed indication with PDOP value
The controller should now display "PPK: Fixed" together with a PDOP value.

When your receiver failed to reach the "PPK Fixed" state, make sure it is receiving enough satellites. Also a lot of multipath (signal reflections) can cause the receiver to have trouble getting into the "Fixed" state. When in the "PPK Fixed" state you can start your survey on the Hydromagic software. Make sure that the position data is recorded in Hydromagic as well. These records are required to apply post processing data later on.

Ending the survey

When data collection has been completed, you can stop the data recording on the GNSS receiver. To do so, just tap the "Survey" icon and select "End GNSS survey" from the popup menu. When the software asks to power down the receiver, select "No" when you want to transfer the collected data right away, or otherwise select "Yes" to power down.

Ending the PPK survey
Ending the GNSS survey.

Transferring data from the GNSS receiver to the survey controller

After finishing the survey you need to transfer the recorded data to your PC for further processing. The first step is to transfer the file(s) from the receiver to the controller. When you choose to store the file on the controller directly, you can skip this step.

When your receiver has been powered down, switch it on again. You do not need satellite reception to import files from it. The collected files with satellite observations can be imported on the controller using the controller software. To start importing files, tap the "Instrument" icon and select the "Receiver Files..." option from the popup menu:

From the main screen, tap the Instrument icon
From the main screen, tap the "Instrument" icon.

From the popup menu which appears, select the "Receiver Files..." option and then select the "Import Files..." option.

Select the Import Files... option
From the popup menu which appears, select the "Receiver Files..." option.

A list of files currently stored in the receiver will be displayed in the next screen. You can tap to select one or more files:

Tap the files you want to transfer to the controller and tap Import
Tap the files you want to transfer to the controller and tap Import.

When you finished selecting files, just tap the "Import" button to continue. Before the import process starts, the controller software will show you the list of selected files:

Confirm the selection by tapping the Start button
Confirm the selection by tapping the "Start" button.

You can now start the import process by tapping the "Start" button. Depending on the number and size of the files, the import process will take a couple of seconds to minutes. When finished a popup box should appear. The files are now on both the receiver and controller. In the next paragraph you will learn how to get the files from the controller to the PC.

A popup will tell you that the files have been imported
A popup will tell you that the files have been imported.

Transferring data from the survey controller to your computer

When the PPK files have been transferred to the controller, or when they were recorded on the controller, they are stored in the "/Trimble Data" folder on the Windows Mobile's filesystem. You should now be able to copy them to a SD card (inserted at the top of the TSC2 controller) or USB stick (inserted at the bottom of the TSC2 controller). Make sure the media is formatted as FAT32, otherwise it can't be detected as external storage. Return to the Windows home screen of your controller and tap the "File Explorer" icon to start browsing the local filesystem and locate the "Trimble Data" folder:

Locate the Trimble Data folder using the File Explorer
Locate the Trimble Data folder using the File Explorer.

You will notice there are a lot of files in this folder. Use the file times to find the file you are looking for. All PPK survey data is listed with a T01 document icon in front of the file name. When you have located the file to copy, tap and hold your stylus on the file name and select "Copy" from the popup menu.

Tap and hold the file to copy
Tap and hold the file to copy.

Now you have to select where to copy the file. When the controller is able to read the USB stick or SD-Card inserted into the controller, it should show up as an external harddisk. To browse to the location of the external storage, click the folder drop-down at the top of the screen and select the "Hard Disk" item.

Browse to external storage like an USB stick or SD-Card
Browse to external storage like an USB stick or SD-Card.

After selecting the external storage, browse to the folder you want to store the files, and tap the "Menu" button and select "Edit" => "Paste" to copy the selected file(s) to this location. When ready, you can remove the storage and read the T01 files on your desktop PC or laptop.

Paste the selected files to the external storage
Paste the selected files to the external storage.

Converting Trimble T01 files to RINEX files

When using a Trimble receiver, all satellite and navigation observations will be stored as T01 files on either the receiver or the controller (depending on the survey style settings). After transferring the T01 file(s) to your computer, go to a search engine and look for the "ConvertToRINEX" utility and it should appear in the search results.

Use the installer to install the program and execute it using the Windows Starte Menu. Go to "File" => "Open..." and select the T01 files you want to convert. After selecting one or more files the utility should show something like this:

Convert Trimble T01 files to RINEX files using the Trimble ConvertToRINEX utility
Convert Trimble T01 files to RINEX files using the Trimble ConvertToRINEX utility

When completed this last step, you can now use for instance the RTKLib software to generate a correction file for Hydromagic.