Topcon has introduced a new data collector with a large touch screen. This new data collector known as “Topcon Tesla” runs Windows Mobile 6.5.3. The Tesla can come equipped with a 3G modem and internal GPS. Using these features it is possible to show your real time position on the screen using Bing Maps. It is also possible to send and receive emails using the 3G modem and a subscription to a cellular provider. There is a 3.2 MP camera that is included in the Geo and Geo 3G versions. This camera is a very handy tool for taking pictures of complex objects found while surveying. The screen can easily be changed from landscape to portrait with just a push of a button making it easy to have what you need on the screen.
The Tesla works great with “LongLink” to control Topcons PS series robotic total stations. It is possible to stay connected at 300+ metres from the total station making it easy to be at the pogo and still have control over the gun. This allows the surveyor to be able to see exactly what is getting tied in or laid out. The Tesla also works great with Topcon RTK units like the Hyper Ga. Using the Bluetooth to communicate with the GNSS receiver the data collector can be operated by the surveyor.
Topcon’s data collection software has changed from “Topcon TopSurv” to “Topcon Magnet Field”. Magnet Field looks to be just a facelift to TopSurv with some added features (70-100). It works basically the same as TopSurv but has some differences. Magnet Field now has the ability to add Bing Maps to the background on the map view. Some changes I especially like are just simple changes that make my life easier. When using Magnet Field to survey with Topcons RTK GPS, Magnet remembers your radio settings for the base station and no longer goes through the long process of setting this every time you start the base like TopSurv does. Another change that I like is how they have changed the position of the menu item “Reset RTK” so that it is not beside the “Reconfigure Radio” item. I don’t know how many times I have hit “Reconfigure Radio” by mistake and had to wait what seems to be forever for the data collector to go through the process of reconfiguring the receivers radio.
There are some features that could be changed to make every ones life a bit easier. When using Magnet to control a robotic total station it would be nice if you could add some prisms to the drop down list. All that can be selected is a type of target but if you have two targets that are different prisms ie. have different prism constants, you can not pick between them. Having better control of the total station remotely would be nice also.