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Welcome to our mid-issue newsletter... Since the last newsletter I've been traveling, first to Chicago for a press event hosted by LizardTech, the leader in file compression. Any of you who deal with aerial images have probably encountered the company's popular MrSID file format. It's easy to grasp how the also-popular zip format operates: repeating pixels in an image—for instance, blue pixels in the sky—are replaced by a marker. Then, when the file is uncompressed for viewing, the marker replaces these pixels.
LizardTech's MrSID, however, takes compression to another level. An outgrowth of early-90s research at Los Alamos National Lab, the company has been around for more than a decade, and announced its fourth-generation MG4 (MrSID Generation 4) format at the press event. To deal with non-raster 3D data, the company also handles LiDAR data, either aerial or terrestrial. Because file sizes for aerial or LiDAR data can be enormous, without compression disk space can quickly be exhausted. Using a technique called wavelet compression, ratios range from 2:1 to 20:1 and beyond.
Image compression can be either lossless or lossy—no pixels lost or pixels discarded. In between, the company has figured out a way—something it calls visually lossless—to dramatically compress images without affecting what the human eye can detect. If you are interested in learning more, the company has issued a 261Kb PDF white paper HERE. Look for a future article in the magazine about this fascinating technology.
After Chicago, I traveled to Lousiville for the Carlson User Conference. You can read about it below. As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you've got a project or story you'd like to share. Thanks for your support.
Until next time,
Marc Cheves, LS
The American Surveyor

[Send your comments, announcements, tips, gripes, or kudos to Marc]
Sponsored by Intuicom

The Intuicom RTK Bridge provides connectivity to the Real-Time Network data required for precision GPS/GNSS applications such as Survey, Construction, and Machine Control. Compatible with all the major GNSS equipment, the RTK Bridge gets you on the network, makes you more efficient and saves time and money. No more base stations, less equipment, faster set-up.

Get more productive—GET CONNECTED!

Guest Editorial: The Sky Refuses to Fall...GPS is NOT Dead!
The GPS constellation is not dying. Really. While yet another GAO (Government Accountability Office) report issued in September 2010 warned of potential risks to the constellation, this one titled "Global Positioning System--Challenges in Sustaining and Upgrading and Upgrading ....
Read the Article
Tech Show 
New Tech Showcase: Environment Analysis from JAVAD GNSS
Ever wonder why your RTK sometimes takes two minutes to go from float to fixed rather than five seconds? To address the fact that sometimes GNSS doesn't work on one or more bands, and to provide a tool that explains why, JAVAD GNSS announced its latest (patent pending) enhancement for ....
Read the Article
Tech Show 
New Tech Showcase: MOVE3 Moves to the U.S. Survey Market
Given redundant and imperfect measurements, Network Least Squares finds the most probable position of points. It produces estimates of point accuracy in the form of "error ellipses" or confidence regions, typically at the 95% or 99% level. Network Least Squares is a tool that allows you ....
Read the Article
Just Say You've Been There
Fellow surveyors, who among us has not, at some point in our careers, lost a little sleep thinking about an error in our work that others may not even notice? After all, the public trusts our judgment in matter of boundaries and we have ...
Read the Article
Hard Work, Miserable Conditions—Surveying Tennessee's Cumberland Trail
Land surveyors are often attracted to the trade by the prospect of working outdoors, preferably in the woods. But even so, the surveyors at The RLS Group must have wondered if they ...
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Another Coordinate System—This Time Without Survey Marks
The National Geodetic Survey Federal Geospatial Summit was held in Silver Spring, MD on May 11­12, 2010 to introduce recommended replacements for the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) introduced to interested federal agencies a ...
Read the Article
Product Review: Nikon Nivo C
Nikon's history stretches back over 90 years. It began as a merger of several smaller firms in Japan along with eight German technicians. Originating as Nippon Kogaku, K.K., or Japanese Optical Company, today Nikon is in a strategic joint venture with Trimble Navigation to ....
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Vantage Point: Misperceptions
This is a different kind of story than what I usually write. It is about people who look normal but are not. That is not to say that they are strange, only that they have something different about them that is not immediately evident. And that can cause troubles with other people who ...
Read the Comments
GIS Matters: Something for Nothing
This article compares several free GIS software programs related to types of data management and map production activities of interest to the land surveyor. The list is not comprehensive; I simply chose to test and compare the software that is easy to find on the Internet, readily available ...
Read the Article
Reconnaissance: Society Committees Adopt Draft of New 2011 ALTA/ACSM Survey Standards
The final draft of the proposed 2011 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ ACSM Land Title Survey Standards was approved by a joint committee of the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the ...
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Sponsored by Altus Positioning Systems

Altus Positioning Systems is a company designed to bring to market products which directly meet the needs of the Surveyor without compromise. Altus is about simplicity, supplying what's needed, what's essential in today's survey workplace and planning for the needs of tomorrow too. We understand what's required in the market place and we deliver. Our motto is "Better by Design".

Visit Altus Positioning Systems for more info.


feature 3rd Annual Carlson User Conference... Held in the historic Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville, nearly 200 people attended this popular event. Titled Carlson Works—Partnering You With the World, customers and dealers from all over the world were in attendance. As conferences go, this one is tightly-packed with a myriad of sessions. Tracks for the sessions included Survey, Takeoff Estimating, 3D Model Building & BIM, Machine Control, Mining, SurvCE/Field, and Civil

Bruce Carlson (right) and his team have built a popular following by practicing extreme customer support. In many of the sessions, users suggested improvements, the presenter made notes, and if feasible, the enhancements will quickly show up in future versions, often at no extra cost.

Keynote addresses included Esri's CAD Products Manager Don Keuhne and Ashtech's General manager François Erceau. Keuhne is one of Esri's visionary evangelists and gave a fascinating presentation on Ideas. Many of the ideas pertained to the future and described a world that could be. He brought it all together by discussing Esri's latest push, GeoDesign. I've written about this before, and GeoDesign isn't merely melding GIS and civil design, but rather looking at civil design in an entirely new light, one that addresses sustainable development. Look for more about this subject from us in the future.

Erceau's keynote addressed the future of GNSS. He described the road ahead for GPS, Russia's GLONASS, Europe's Galileo and China's Compass. As we have reported for many years, the new signals and greater numbers of satellites will result in more accuracy, faster acquisition, greater use in urban canyons and under cover, and longer distances for RTK. Erceau described the difficulties in miniaturizing the equipment because packing more functionality in smaller packages can create interference between the various components.

Erceau spoke frankly about the future of Galileo and stated that by 2014, the constellation will contain only 14 satellites. Unknown is when Galileo will reach full operational capability. China has yet to issue the critical Interface Control Document which will allow manufacturers to begin developing equipment. Even so, China is saying that Compass will have 30+ satellites aloft by 2015.

He spoke positively about Japan's QZSS augmentation which will work much better in urban canyons and is addressed primarily at mobiles apps such as video, audio and data. Erceau said that the next ten years will see much improvement in GNSS, with developments occurring much faster in the latter half of the decade. He stressed the value of GLONASS and SBAS. I am proud of what Erceau and his team has done with Ashtech. After languishing for many years, the company has introduced a full suite of modern products. The partnership with Carlson for surveying gear and machine control will provide many benefits for users.


Sponsored by Ashtech

Ashtech ProMark 500 V4: More features, enhanced performance and a new price offer. Contact us today to learn more about the new RTK capabilities of the latest Ashtech GNSS receiver for land surveyors.

Visit Ashtech for more information.


Topcon Introduces QS Robotic Total Station Series
Carlson Software Introduces New Carlson Supervisor
Hemisphere GPS Grows 46% on Record Third Quarter Revenues
Construction Unemployment Rises to 17.3 Percent in October
Whitewashed: Five Important Truths Behind the I-35W Bridge NTSB Report
Gov. Chris Christie's Buried Tunnel—What It Means for the Future of Infrastructure Projects in the U.S.
Howard County, Maryland Announces App for County Geodetic Control Network
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Presents New Vision at GEOINT Symposium
ITT Announces the Release of ENVI 4.8 and ENVI for ArcGIS Server
Nonresidential Construction Spending Points Lower in September
LizardTech Unveils GeoExpress 8 at GEOINT 2010 Symposium
Nonresidential Fixed Investment GDP Slows in Third Quarter
Credent Technology Sells Velodyne HDL 64E to Singapore's Major Research Lab
Vexcel Extends Imagemap's Distribution Coverage
Carlson Software Names New Australia-Pacific Regional Sales Director
UPDATED - JAVAD GNSS Tracks QZSS Satellite and its New L1C Signal
MicroSurvey Purchases STAR*NET
GeoEye Finalizes Contract With Lockheed Martin to Complete the Construction of GeoEye-2 Satellite
SPECIM AisaEAGLE Collects Hyperspectral Data over the Hungarian Territory Affected by the Toxic Sludge Spill
Trimble GPS Handhelds Support Green Initiatives for the City of Shanghai
Sokkia Introduces the New Generation of the SRX Robotic Total Stations
Avenza Releases Geographic Imager 3.2 for Adobe Photoshop
TerraEchos Receives Frost & Sullivan’s ‘New Product Innovation of the Year’ Award
Milan Cathedral Restoration Goes Hi-Tech with Pointools 3D Laser Model
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    Sponsored by Topcon

    Topcon's GRS-1 is the world's first fully integrated dual constellation network enabled RTK rover system. It is an all-in-one handheld GNSS receiver and field controller featuring high-speed processor, increased memory, built-in camera, digital compass, optional internal GSM or CDMA modem, and wireless connectivity via Wireless LAN and Bluetooth® wireless technology.

    Visit the Topcon GRS-1 for more information.


    This section is an update about surveying and other geospatial conferences, training, seminars, webinars, and relevant events. Feel free to make a suggestion for future consideration. For a complete listing of events, please visit our online calendar HERE.
    Send your event info to editor[at]


    The following articles from the Vol.7, No.7 issue are also available on the Amerisurv website.


    Did-U-Know Glenn Letham at our sister site has compiled a state-by-state list of free imagery HERE

    bookHistoric Print Collection -- Christian Hurtin / A highly decorative surveying compass, dated 1794, made by clock and instrument maker Christian Hurtin in Goshen New York. This particular compass displays primitive art typical of many 18th century American clock and instrument makers. Note: This print is 23"x18".

    Printed on high-quality photo paper, this poster is capable of being a center-piece for the room or space of your choosing. These unique reproductions are both fascinating and sure to please.

    Our maps and posters make excellent gifts for clients or employees!

    Sponsored by Trimble

    TRIMBLE S8: THE POWER TO EXCEL The most demanding jobs require the most advanced total station in the industry. Whether you need solutions to drive productivity for day to day survey tasks or precision solutions for demanding engineering projects, the Trimble S8 is the most advanced total station solution available today.

    Visit Trimble for more information.


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