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CHC Navigation: Making receivers user-friendly

An interview with Rachel Wong, product manager, surveying and engineering division at CHC Navigation about recent GNSS receiver innovations.

Rachel Wong


What was the most significant technical innovation in your GNSS receivers in the past five years?

CHC Navigation is a technology enabler for geospatial professionals in more than 120 countries. End users of geospatial data increasingly come from diverse backgrounds. This forces us to invest heavily in simplifying data-acquisition processes by focusing on the user friendliness and positioning reliability of our GNSS receivers.

The latest technological developments in GNSS real-time kinematic (RTK) rovers are based on the maturity and improvement of satellite navigation systems, as well as on the integration of IMU sensors in the receivers — the latter being certainly the most important innovation.

In addition, the latest generation of our GNSS rovers, such as the CHCNAV i83, is based on the sophisticated iStar algorithm, which significantly improves the efficiency of tracking GNSS satellite signals for unmatched performance in GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo and QZSS constellations, using all available frequencies including BeiDou 3. This goes hand-in-hand with the integration of the IMU as it helps to ensure increased GNSS positioning accuracy through optimized satellite geometry.

What has it enabled users to do that they could not do before?

A utility worker uses the tilt-pole-compensation feature to measure a manhole. (Photo: CHC Navigation)

A utility worker uses the tilt-pole-compensation feature to measure a manhole. (Photo: CHC Navigation)

The integration of GNSS+IMU modules allows surveyors to survey points without the need to level the range pole, accelerating the adoption of GNSS technologies for early adopters by simplifying work processes. For example, our i83 GNSS is powered by a 1,408-channel multiband GNSS receiver, the latest iStar technology and a high-end, calibration-free IMU sensor for faster, more reliable GNSS field surveys.

The i83 GNSS’ integrated IMU automatically compensates for pole tilt, increasing surveying, engineering and mapping efficiency by 30% over conventional RTK GNSS surveying methods. In less than 5 seconds, the 200-Hz inertial module is initialized to ensure survey-grade accuracy over a pole-tilt range of up to 30 degrees that meets the real-world operational needs of our users.

What is a good example of this?

Surveyors can extend their working boundaries near trees, walls and buildings without the need for a total station or offset measuring tools. This can be illustrated in sewer and drainage applications, such as measuring the bottom of manholes for water, utilities or sewers, which was barely feasible in terms of GNSS measurement before the advent of hybrid GNSS + IMU positioning.

Operators only need to concentrate on their tasks and no longer need to level their pole vertically. They are now able to perform many measurements without compromising accuracy and reliability. Productivity is greatly increased, RTK usability is greatly improved, and potential human error is reduced, whether you are an engineer, foreman or surveyor, and whether you are an experienced or new user.

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