Speed is the name of the game

Bernhard Richter, Leica Geosystems GNSS business director, explains new technology


With Leica Geosystems’ commitment to selflearning instruments, the new Leica GS18 T GNSS RTK rover is the next evolution in the Leica Captivate Experience.

In this edition of Expert Insights, Bernhard Richter, Leica Geosystems GNSS business director, discusses the technology behind the industry’s first tilt compensation solution that is immune to magnetic disturbances and is calibration free.

  • What is the Leica GS18 T GNSS RTK rover?

Expert_Insights_GS18T_1640x750_Slider4The Leica GS18 T is the fastest and easiest to use GNSS RTK rover because the user does not need to hold the pole vertical anymore. This is thanks to the first tilt compensation solution that is entirely immune to magnetic disturbances and calibration free. Statistical analysis confirmed that on average users can save up to 20 per cent over conventional surveying practices with the GS18 T. With the fastest and easiest, self-learning GNSS Smart Antenna, the immersive experience of Leica Captivate is continued.

  • What does this new technology do for the user experience?

Before defining the scope of any development, the utmost importance is to understand what pain is relieved. Pole levelling is a pain. On every point, a few seconds are needed to centre the bubble and hold the pole vertical. Some points are even not accessible with GNSS, such as corners, because the pole cannot be levelled. In addition, pole levelling requires a high level of concentration and distracts the user from safety relevant events, such as passing trucks. The GS18 T was designed with these user problems in mind.

  • How does the GS18 T GNSS RTK rover work?

The antenna estimates a tilt compensated pole tip position by combining the GNSS position with altitude information derived from an integrated Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The technology is similar to solutions in the field of aviation, where heading, pitch and roll are important key parameters. Knowing pitch, roll, heading and the azimuth of the tilted pole allows calculating the pole tip position relative to the GNSS antenna.

We developed an affordable precise IMU that calibrates automatically and does not impose additional calibration procedures for the user. It was very important for us that when the user turns on the instrument, he will be ready to measure.

The GS18 T is optimised for the kinematic RTK use cases of a GNSS rover, where speed and ease of use are important for measuring and laying out points.

  • For what applications can the new technology be used?


Put simply, this GNSS RTK rover can be used in any application. We did, however, focus on heavy construction, utilities, and surveying and engineering industries in the development and design stages. Especially useful in construction projects and maintenance of existing infrastructure, the GS18 T can measure anywhere on site since it is not affected by magnetic disturbances. The same goes for those working with electricity, gas, water and telecommunications in the utilities field. These professionals don’t need to be surveying pros to be able to easily get the measurements they need for the job. Now, for our surveying and engineering professionals, they can trust they are getting the most accurate results at the fastest speed possible.

  • If there are regulations requiring the pole to be levelled during the measurement, can users still benefit from the Leica GS18 T RTK rover?

Since the tilt values of the pole can now be stored for every measurement, such values can be shown in a report to prove the pole was levelled within the required tolerances.

  • Why should users invest in the GS18 T GNSS RTK rover?


Without the need to level in the field any longer depending on the job, users will realise 20 per cent and more time savings. Field crews become more productive and can achieve more jobs in the same time. The field crews will be able to pick up points they could not directly be measured before with GNSS such as corners of houses or partly obstructed points by cars.

  • Any sneak peeks into further Leica Geosystems GNSS innovations?

We are dedicated to innovation at Leica Geosystems, and we continue to lead the industry in a new way of GNSS measurement with the GS18 T RTK rover. Though we feel our self-learning GNSS instruments will always adapt to the ever increasing satellite constellation demands, we will continue to explore opportunities to bring even more value to our customers.

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