By David Ponce
Most GPS systems we’ve come across offer you accuracy within a couple of meters. That’s usually enough, unless your profession consists of knowing exactly where you are, and how high you are (not that kind of high). We’re talking of surveyors, and we’d like to introduce to them the GR3 GPS Receiver for Topcon, designed by product design firm Whipsaw. This particular system can pinpoint your location to a tolerance of one millimeter, which is achieved by tracking 36 satellites simultaneously, and accessing 72 universal channels that provide current and planned satellite positioning signals.
Whipsaw’s challenge, headed by principle designer Dan Harden, was to design a housing for the system that would allow for better use in the field. Harden and his team blended ergonomics and usability factors to create a case that includes a battery pack that also functions as a handle, a “quick-snap” mechanism–allowing for easy attachment to range poles without the risk of damage, and a square top that prevents rolling when the system is leaned against a wall. GR3 is rugged and waterproof, and contains new technology–like a Sim Card slot and internal Bluetooth-that allows the unit to expand its communication capabilities, going beyond its traditional radio function.
Of course, millimeter accuracy doesn’t come cheap, with reports of the device costing $22,000.