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How to Use GPS Search Feature on Your Trimble S Series Robotic Total Station (S3 - S9, VX and SX10)

GPS Search is a very useful feature available for all Trimble S series robotic instruments.  From the S3 to the S9 (including the VX, SX10 and SX12).  Available in Trimble Access 2017 and newer, GPS Search utilizes the controllers built in GPS receiver to help the instrument locate you. GPS Search works on most Trimble controllers including the TSC3, TSC5, TSC7, Ranger 5, Ranger 7, as well as the TDC600 and numerous tablets.

Enabling this feature can dramatically reduce downtime spent waiting for your robotic instrument to find you – and best of all – you don’t need to buy anything – it’s already built into your existing controllers!

GPS search is especially helpful when running a S3, S5 or SX10 in passive (prism) mode – but it’s also very helpful when you’re using an active tracking prism like the AT360 and MT1000.

Note: Since this feature uses GPS, you will need to use a defined coordinate system – like any state plane / NAD83 – or create a relationship between the coordinates by using a site calibration routine.

Trimble GPS Search on Panasonic FZ-M1 | Positioning Solutions

Part 1 ----------------------------------------->

How to Configure GPS Search on Trimble Controllers 

TSC3 settings are slightly different compared to the TSC7 / Ranger 7.

TSC3 / Ranger 3:

Start the GPS application on your controller. The GPS app is called SatViewer and is preinstalled on your Trimble TSC3 and Ranger 3 controller. After the application is started, you’ll need to configure SatViewer to use COM3 and select SBAS for increased accuracy of your position. Then press the “Connect to GPS” button on the top left corner of the screen. Keep this application running in the background and open Access software - Proceed to Part 2.

Enabling GPS Search on Trimble TSC3 | Positioning Solutions

TSC7 / Ranger 7:

Open the GNSSCfg application and enable the desired constellations and DGPS corrections (SBAS or QZSS depending on your location). Close this app. You can open the GNSSViewer application to verify your controller is tracking satellites, but make sure to close both applications before starting Access. If either app is open Access will not be able to communicate to the internal GPS board.

Enabling GPS Search on TSC7 and Ranger 7 | Positioning Solutions

Part 2 ------------------------------------------->

How to Configure GPS Search Settings in Trimble Access Software

Note - The Instrument menu options are only active when connected to your instrument, so you will need to be connected to your total station via radio, Bluetooth or cable for this next part.

  1. Open Access software and connect to your instrument
  2. From the Instrument menu select Target controls, then scroll down and set GPS Search to On and Select data source is set to Auxiliary GPS
  3. Select the AUX button and ensure Receiver Type displays Internal GPS

GPS Search is now ready to use ----------------------->

Once your station is setup and backsight is measured, Access should announce (verbally) the “GPS Search is active”. You will see a GPS icon has been added to the prism icon.

Configuring Trimble Access for GPS Search on S3 and S Series Robotic Total Stations | Positioning Solutions
Configuring Trimble Access for GPS Search on S3 and S Series Robotic Total Stations | Positioning Solutions

Additional settings to consider:

Search Window

You can fine tune the instruments search window to help locate you more efficiently. The parameters control how wide of a window the instrument should search when prism lock has been lost. I recommend starting with 30 degrees in horizonal and 15 in vertical, then adjust until you find the best settings for you.

Enable 3D

With this box checked on, the instrument will use your controllers GPS position for both horizontal and vertical search. Unchecked, it will use only your horizontal position. GPS positions are inherently less accurate vertically. So depending on SBAS correction accuracy, you might test this option and find that it works great sometimes and not so great others. We’ve found leaving it unchecked is more useful.

What Trimble Instruments Work with GPS Search?

We have successfully tested these Trimble instruments:
S3, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, VX, SX10

Not tested yet, but GPS search should also work with all SPS robotic instruments: SPS610, SPS620, SPS710, SPS720, SPS630, SPS730, SPS930

Videos coming soon. 

Additional support documents are available on the Access support portal >>

Positioning Solutions carries a large selection of used Trimble S, SX and SPS robotic total stations for land survey and construction. Carefully selected and thoroughly inspected, all of our instruments are covered by our 90 day warranty.

Shop Preowned S Series Total Stations >>

Questions or comments?  Contact us >>

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